Instructables.com is a website dedicated entirely to providing instructions on how do to things. The community covers a diverse collection of how to style guides. Users can discover how to make foods, become an amateur astronomer, shoot a rubber band or make an aluminum can flower among many other things. The site breaks down all of its instructions into six categories, which include food, living, outside, play, technology and workshop. The user can also search for specific instructions. Sub categories are also available to help users narrow down their options. Instructables ranges from the helpful to the entertaining or silly. Each set of instructions is presented with a series of photographs, a list of items and the text instructions. Users can also post comments to instruction pages to make suggestions or share how effective the instructions were for them.
Instructables was originally developed by Squid Labs. It began as iFabricate, which appeared in 2004. The site has seen a significant amount of growth and a few changes in its several years. Initially, Instructables offered entirely free access to all users. In June of 2009, the website decided to add premium access through its Pro membership. Although the plan was relatively inexpensive, it angered some of the site’s current members. This was primarily because rather than adding brand new features and content for premium users, Instructables instead removed some of the basic features for non-paying users. Instructables.com was acquired by Autodesk, a 3D design software company, in August 2011.
Instructables supplies its visitors with very detailed tutorials to do almost anything. What makes the site so interesting is the diverse variety of activities and projects it covers. Rather than focusing strictly on technology or fun guides, users can find just about everything and anything at Instructables. This concept isn’t entirely new, but it is effectively executed on the Instructables website.
The Instructables website welcomes users with a comical yellow robot smiling beside the site name in black. The user can find a project of the day presented with an image, and headline as well as a list of featured books just below it. The top of the page includes a navigation bar with a row of white buttons that allow users to access each main category included on the site. A search tool bar is nestled in the upper, right hand corner. The site includes advertisements, some of which enlarge obnoxiously and overlap content when the user mouses over them.
Visitors are not required to register to search the Instructables website. Those who would like to access more features can do so by clicking the black “Sign Up Now” link found near the top, center of the homepage. Users can also click a blue and white “Login Using Facebook” button to the right of the link to access an account that way. Those who prefer the traditional route are asked to choose a subscription method. The registration form asks for an email address, username, password, age, gender and zip code.
Instructables offers a premium and free account to its users. Free users can publish guides, leave comments, vote in contests, send private messages and access the Instructables forums. Users who purchase a premium account can give out digital patches, download PDFs, use all steps viewing, create private Instructables, create an author introduction and view less advertising on the site. Subscription option includes a quarterly option for around $4 per month, an annual option for around $2 per month as well as a two year option for a one-time payment of around $40.
Instructables.com is an interesting resource for anyone who wants to learn how to do something. The website covers a huge collection of topics and users can give input through comments and by publishing their own Instructables. The website is easy to use and includes detailed guides that feature images as well as text information.