Basic Premise of Instructables
The basic idea of the Instructables website is that people may post how-to articles for others to view. These how-to articles are posted in steps, with images for each, and generally have a trade or craft focus. Articles range from jewellery guides to installing solar panels.
Positives of Instructables
The best part of Instructables is simply browsing the site for the large range of wonderful tutorials people have placed on it. The creative abilities and technical skills of some of the contributors is really amazing, with some great electronic and fashion projects alongside construction and fine arts. Not only are the articles useful and interesting, some of them are great general learning resources for the sciences and engineering.
The next aspect of Instructables that is great is the implementation of the site. The site is very well designed, and the multiple step process with images at the top of the page is so well set out that it is difficult to imagine how improvements might be made to it. To add to this, navigation works wonderfully and having featured and prize winning articles allows visitors to spot some of the more impressive articles.
Negatives of Instructables
The main and overwhelming problem with Instructables is that the site charges for a premium membership, which is required to download .pdf versions of files. This would be understandable if the site was not generating advertising revenue, however it seems really unfair to have advertisements and also demand premium membership to access complete articles.
A second problem with Instructables is that it can be very difficult to find exactly what you are looking for. For instance, if you are looking for an article that would tell you how to light a grill quickly there is a large collection, however this collection of articles has many which include interesting and entertaining ways of lighting grills but not necessarily effective ones. For people running in from a gathering outside, who just want to get it done quickly, sometimes the exotic methods used are an annoyance. This applies especially if they need to read a few steps into the article to realize it’s going to use a ridiculous method of getting the task done.
A final problem with Instructables is that it does not reward contributors with any of the advertising revenue they generate. Coupled with the mixture of advertising and membership revenue, this seems quite unfair and the site would probably be much larger if they used a system that rewarded contributors.