Breaking Tradition

"While the Maker movement, and makers in general are presented and sometimes seen as a disruptive force to industry, when presenting how to recreate their work, there is rarely any attempts to alter the basic format and presentation style of instructions."

University Project Page
Breaking Tradition (full thesis PDF) [3.01MB]
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tutorials have become part of our every day landscape. From IKEA style furniture directions to clothing tags detailing how to wash them, people are surrounded by directions listing the steps required to accomplish a task by themselves. The Maker movement, utilizing this form of instruction, has popularized and standardized the format. HCI research and tutorial makers explore methods of streamlining the creation of DIY tutorials, but very little research has been done to explore alternatives. By applying Research through Design (RtD) techniques, this work seeks to explore twelve alternative approaches to traditional tutorial presentation methods. Both amateur and expert participants were then asked nineteen different open-ended questions pertaining to the designed tutorials. Their responses were coded and sorted utilizing grounded theory, and serve to support the RtD methodologies already applied. The findings of this study reveal a need for identifying a tutorials audience, in addition to better supporting tutorial authors.

You can find the 12 tutorials I used in my research here along with directions given to participants, and the final thesis is linked one column to the left.