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topic at dinner tonight, talk about the things you want to see instructables do now that they're part of autodesk - go!
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Bob Cat
Often, when I make a valid criticism on an i'ble I am accused of being 'not nice'. Usually this includes a poorly written insult. I was called a troll today for pointing out you can't call an A/C 'green' if it runs on ice cubes and AA cells! And someone replied that their fridge makes ice cubes as a byproduct!

Any engineer who looks through a few instructables can quickly spot some really bad ideas and misinformation, but good luck getting anyone to listen.

I want them to get rid of the cheerleading and hire an engineer or scientist who can officially point out why some i'bles are not good.
+Bob Cat perhaps you can word it like this "i'd like to see experts chime in and help with projects, these can be mentors, EEs and people respected in the industry" ...
+Jason Pruitt what site that does community how-tos has a "simple and clean" interface that they could strive for? we like ifixit for example, can you include ones you like?
+Jason Pruitt wikis usually are not step-by-step learning, so it's different (at least we think it is at adafruit, we have wikis and long form tutorials). flickr tends to do better for photo sets, wikis for photos - not so much.

so again, which specific sites do this is an good way, we like ifixit, can you add some others?
Bob Cat
It's hardly worth it to chime in. The S/N ratio there is very low.

If you'd like, I will find you an i'ble which does something foolish with electricity to comment on. I saw one that was a portable 12v power supply, made from a 9V battery and 2 AA cells, and nothing else, packed into an Altoids tin.

I think it was featured on the front page, too.
+Bob Cat actually, please find one that is good and talk about what's good about that one, thanks!
Bob Cat
See, you're missing the point. I don't think it's right to let people remain ignorant of science, math, and electronics, much less good design practices. Telling people THE TRUTH saves a lot of heartache in the future.

That Altoids i'ble I mentioned will earn someone a pocketful of molten lithium - it's just not right to remain silent about such things. It's not even nice.
(just deleted 2 paragraphs of reasons why not.... take adobe illustrator, cross with Solidworks. offer a open source version... home free.
+Bob Cat we're trying to keep this discussion on topic, what can instructables do now that they're part of autodesk? it sounds like you'd like more expertise from scientists and engineers shared with the community to make the projects better, perhaps a quora like system from industry pros.

since autodesk has many people like this on staff, or have the resources / access to assist instructables this is a good suggestion.
+Dan Mongeau topic is "things you want to see instructables do now that they're part of autodesk - go!" :)
Bob Cat
Okay, then, I would like experts to be invited - and given free "Expert" accounts with appropriate badges - so that they may point out with authority whether a claim made in a comment ["this is not green" or "this is dangerous"] is true or false.

I'd actually prefer if the i'bles staff just not put bad i'bles in the email newsletter [yes I have been subscribed since the beginning] - the 'green personal A/C' one at the top of the last newsletter is just wrong.
I always want to see a bit more math and calculation on Instructables. I know that the community is more oriented towards, "try it and see," and I like that. But I always flick through comments on any given how-to to see if someone breaks down some of the low-level math that makes a particular project work.

I know mathematics is sometimes the dry part of any design project, but Instructables seems like it could be a good medium to at least introduce how mathematics can be applied, since most stuff learned in classrooms remains theoretical (on the math side of things).

I'm not sure how Autodesk could contribute to this. I know one of the problems with integrating a decent math explanation into any how-to comes from presenting complex equations in a readable manner (aside from pre-formatted text that resembles computer code). I don't think Autodesk owns any IP rights to a math markup language at all, but it is obvious they have some quality software engineers that know how to render images and forms in a presentable manner on screen.

I wonder if Autodesk could work to integrate some kind of mathematical markup language into Instructables, even if it is just a hack to make TeX style syntax work on the website.
I don't use Instructables often, but I do like to cruise Thingiverse now and then. One of the things I like about Thingiverse is that they feature derivative works right on the front page. Maybe if Instructables had a similar feature, it would foster more of the constructive criticism +Bob Cat is looking for.

Instead of "This is a dumb design," we might see more of "This aspect of the design concerned me, so I tweaked this and this to improve it."
My pleasure. Just adding my $0.02 to the internet opinion bank.
One cool thing that could be added is embedded AutoCAD for projects... sure most projects won't need/use it, but it'd be pretty sweet
Well, this could be interesting. I am thinking in a web app like Autodesk Homestyler, but focused into Mechanical Design, like Inventor into a web page, with a extense library of standard parts like screws, gear generator, Materials database, and so on.
Also will be fine an add on to team design, and free of charge. Thanks Santa....

PS. Free of charge with the condition of share designs, Like Instructables does
Usability and design improvements would be great. Ditching the garish layout and plethora of ad links would be good. Unfortunately many of the poor articles are due to the editorial choices of the authors. They are the ones who choose to put in lots of side links, galleries and other fluff instead of the core how-to pics/prose. Having a well designed web site builder does NOT keep idiots from making crappy page collections. Or stupid ideas.
I like the idea of putting some Engineers to work reviewing and commenting on the projects. May be not actually reproducing work & enhancing but at least pointing out bad/good ideas. Maybe having some designers on staff too and have them put up some How To Create a Good Instructable Instructable.
and +Alex MirB's suggestion for an online design app (with a free/ultraCheap off line companion) would be a big help.
I'd like to see branching discussions associated under specific parts of an Instructible, rather than only the one big comment stream. (i.e. the ability to make comments or links regarding one aspect of a post such as ideas for different materials or methods, or to put comments as notes on images.)
I'm fond of diagrams. I often find them more helpful than photographs because it's easier to focus on what's important in a simpler image. An integrated diagram editor might encourage users to add them. Perhaps some (or all) of the functionality of AutoCAD WS could be rolled into Instructables? (Caveat: I have never used AutoCAD WS)
Hi- My $.02. Autodesk didn't add much value or innovation to Maya when they bought it- so I'm not very hopeful. They continue to mod Autocad as well rendering it practically useless for me- I prefer Rhino at this point.

Sorry back to the topic- I'm not as familiar with Autodesk Inventor but if it works like Autodesk Revit Architectural /mechanical /structural. But more for mechanics - statics - electronics and had a materials and fastener library the size of Mcmaster-Carr parametrically defined with the ability to virtually prototype and debug electronics / power supplies etc. and assemblies- that would be cool. then integrate these files for sharing and hacking at instructables. Not only iteratively simulating and refining your designs but getting a take off sheet for materials and pricing but also the stl/gcode/toolpaths for printing milling parts etc.

I would prefer to keep anything related to innovation as far away from Autodesk as possible and use as much open-source software as I can. At least software that has end user customization of tools in mind.

Sorry.. On topic.. AutoCad has a cloud drawing application for .dwg files.. how about a simple interface to create diagrams within instructables.
A tools section. Basically an area where you can download various utilities to convert designs into g-code, for example.
Displaying articles on the homepage based on tutorials that you've viewed (like Youtube) or who you are following would be very nice.

As a UX professional, I have a few of major qualms:

1) having each step on a separate page is very unfriendly to the users. I would suggest they create a slideshow or something similar with a tool such as jQuery Cycle.

2) Clicking step 1 just scrolls you down the page. I find this functionality asinine. If all of the other steps are on separate pages, make it all consistent.

3) The navigation for specific instructables is very unintuitive. You have to hover over each nav item to see what it's for.

4) The top ad (below the main site navigation and the page header) location is ignorant. I have to look 1/3 the way down the page on my 27" Cinema Display to see the page header. It really destroys valuable above-the-fold real estate. Don't flame me. I know that websites need to monetize with ads. I just think that the placement is terrible.
+Brian Ray can you point to a step-by-step learning site that does a great job with this? that would also be helpful
Maybe re-enable large pictures in articles rather than charging for a premium subscription.
Honestly, I'm just hoping they don't try to change too much. For all its quirks, Instructables was one of the most useful sites for people who just want to dive into tech. Sometimes I just need a starting place on how to hack a power saw into a surgery robot, and holy S**t, someone did it with a CNC mill. And they probably used an Arduino.
Redesign the search system. Their current search system is page-oriented and returns multiple hits from each related Instructable. It also returns searches from random discussion and there is no apparent way to exclude these hits. The ability to search for ONLY Instructable entries (and not questions/discussion) with ONE result for a given Instructable would be a massive time saver.
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