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How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:58 am
by cvoinescu
I have heard people expressing strong opinions for and against using video for assembly and operation instructions, and I wonder what your preference is.

I'll get you started by saying that I don't like video for this purpose, because it's hard to cross-reference, and does not allow the viewer to control the pace and level of detail in the same way that well-structured text does. Text with drawings can go into more detail, but can also outline the main steps better. Drawings can often be clearer than actual photographs. Interactive images don't work well when you need your hands free, can obscure information, and don't transfer well to print.

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:40 am
by Auarhau
You have tried to vote for too many options.

More is better. Text with drawings, photographs and interactive images are a good way to get detail. Video is by far the best medium to get an quick overview and to pass on personal experience, tips and tricks. When something is completely new to me and I have no idea how to attack the problem, a video is by far the best way to show me how it's done. We spend 12-17 years in school going to lectures, and having someone show and tell us how stuff work. We then read up on the fine details to solve specific problems. I think that is a part of why video tutorials are a good and familiar starting point. For me I always go to youtube first to get an overview, then google it if I'm not satisfied.

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:01 am
by RobCee
I agree that a video is great for an overview of major steps, but can be intensely frustrating if it is too slow. It can also take forever if the project is complex and not broken down well.
I would generally prefer to see a short video of the concepts with traditional documentation (text and drawings/pictures) for the detail. This generally works well, as the audience understand the goals and can fill in the details that they need at their own pace.

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:50 am
by WillAdams
I've actually been re-drawing all of the SVG illustrations for docs.shapeoko.com --- once I've replaced all of them (the files will be smaller / cleaner / sharper / more regular) then I'm hoping to put all of them into a single file which would have two versions:

- interactive version which allows one to drill through different steps and highlight each part in turn
- interactive movie which can be played or stepped through, assembling the entire machine

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:03 pm
by fl0yd
cvoinescu wrote:I have heard people expressing strong opinions for and against using video for assembly and operation instructions, and I wonder what your preference is.

I'll get you started by saying that I don't like video for this purpose, because it's hard to cross-reference, and does not allow the viewer to control the pace and level of detail in the same way that well-structured text does. Text with drawings can go into more detail, but can also outline the main steps better. Drawings can often be clearer than actual photographs. Interactive images don't work well when you need your hands free, can obscure information, and don't transfer well to print.
If I could only choose one, I would choose text with pictures or drawings.

However, I would like to see a video overview for each of the assemblies/sections. Where the presenter could provide an overview of the assembly, show me the completed part and how it relates to the product as a whole, call out some areas that may be tricky for the particular assembly, and then link to the documentation that includes pictures and/or drawings for that given assembly.

Fl0yd

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:51 pm
by WillAdams
fl0yd wrote:
I would like to see a video overview for each of the assemblies/sections.
We have a page on assembly videos: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Assembly_Videos

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:57 pm
by fl0yd
WillAdams wrote:fl0yd wrote:
I would like to see a video overview for each of the assemblies/sections.
We have a page on assembly videos: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Assembly_Videos
I wasn't trying to say that you don't have it, I was just trying to answer the question of which do I prefer.

I like online docs that have sections, that provide a video overview for introduction and reference, then have the guide for each section. I assembled my kit without too much difficulty, and now that I'm remembering the process I did find your assembly SVGs to be very helpful too.

Fl0yd

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:47 pm
by cvoinescu
Just to be clear, this question is not in the context of Shapeoko documentation in particular.

I am trying to gauge whether other people see value in video, either as supplement to text and diagrams, or as the sole medium of documentation. I'm trying to find out whether I should bother making videos or not. :)

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:35 pm
by CalebPeters
I see a lot of value in video-based instructions. Text and diagrams are great too, but there's something about certain aspects of videos that help a beginner, or even someone with experience, comprehend what exactly the instructions are trying to get across.

I think the key is that a video is able to demonstrate a concept in action. For instance, it's kind of hard to explain with diagrams and text just how tight the V-wheels should be on the maker slide, but a video can combine both the visual action of tightening and testing the V-wheel and verbal instruction at every step.

I believe everybody learns things in different ways, and because of that the best practice is to have information in many different formats. I started making my crappy little videos, in an attempt to document my build, because when I started out there was very little in the way of videos showing the various aspects of a ShapeOko.

The bottom line is, ShapeOko is an open source project. That means that we want the information about ShapeOko to be as open as possible. However, the danger with an open source project is that the creator and contributors can make the information so obfuscated that it might as well be closed source. Most of the time this happens because of people's preferences. Let me be clear, I don't think that's what's happening here, but I think it's important to point it out still.

Re: How do you like your instructions?

Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:09 am
by oniontalker
Text with images, supplemented with videos for anything tricky.

Text/images still documenting best they can, but also standalone videos.