Study Details

General Description of My Research:


Tutorials have become a common place encounter for everyday people. Whether cooking, operating your remote, writing a resume, or making air planes (paper or otherwise): tutorials can be found everywhere, telling you exactly how to accomplish the task at hand. Whether those tutorials are presented to you in person, video, audio, text, image or other format, the core structure of those instructions almost always remain intact.

It doesn't matter what information a tutorial is trying to get across, or what format it is presented in, they all seem to have fallen into a cookie cutter like mentality, where places designed to help people share what they've done (like instructables.com or recipes.com) all give the same basic format and structure to present the authors work. Because of these systems, even when writing tutorials on one’s own terms, people still fall in line with traditional formatting styles. While these traditional styles obviously work in many situations, they shouldn't be the sole method employed when creating tutorials.

The Maker movement began as a means to fight back against mass produced items and the lack of accessibility to products an individual owns, with slogans like: “If you can't open it, you don't own it.” The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) enthusiasts that make up this movement utilize whatever tools they have available to them to create and follow a wide range of tutorials across many different disciplines (craft, electronics, mechanics, recipes, etc).

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. In a field where being disruptive and fighting against industry standards are seen as the norm — when all of those disruptive works are being presented in the exact same format, it takes away from their message and underlying meaning.