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February 03, 2017

Assessing the Goodness of Online Tutorials

Are we all mature and educated enough to realize that not everything on the internet is real and good? Okay, awesome. Let’s think less about the news and more about DIY tutorials online — Pinterest Fail is a firsthand look into the tragedy of food and crafts gone horribly wrong. So how can you keep yourself from feeling like you need to make a submission to that site while wasting time and money in the process?

It starts with analyzing the project from top to bottom before committing to it, even before buying the first ingredient or scrap of fabric.

Follow along in real time with me here, open up a project you’ve been planning to do that you haven’t tackled before, whether it’s on Pinterest or dog-eared in a magazine.

While you do that, I’ll examine the Heirloom Pumpkin Halloween Bucket tutorial I posted in October.

Is there a clear photo of the end result object or recipe in question?

If not, do the words paint enough of a mental image for you to go from? If either of these things are true, proceed to examine the next step. Check! Proceed.

Does the list of necessary items include everything you’ll need?

To determine if this is the case, read the entire list of necessary items. Are they presented in a logical order? Nope! I failed in this regard and made you read the whole thing.


Are the instructions thorough?

There are some exceptions to this. By now most DIY-type bloggers who create tutorials figure that if you’re wanting to say, spray paint a chair, you know how to do that already. But it’s a nice idea if they include a link to a tutorial for spray painting tips to help along the novice, or for the experienced to gloss past.

Do the instructions make big leaps that seem like steps are being left out, either because of assumed knowledge on the part of the reader, or just bad writing on the part of the writer? Mentally imagine yourself going through an entire project before unscrewing the first lid on your craft supplies. Do they seem fairly thorough even if anyone has never painted anything in their life?


Comments and pins.

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 5.17.45 PM

Sometimes numbers don’t count, but it’s worth seeing if the project has a lot of comments saying if people tried it and were successful or not. Or if there are a lot of pins for it, it usually means endorsement. I know if I try and pin and it sucks, I immediately unpin it! So while the numbers aren’t always telling, it’s a good last thing to check on before deciding to embark on a project.

Eh, this one is so-so. There are a few pins on this from the GoodLife bloggers board, so I’ll give this a pass!

Overall, I followed my own instructions fairly well, minus the clear and obvious supply list. Not too bad, this seems like a project to proceed with.

So is your pin a fail or does it pass the test? Let us know in the comments, or share your favorite Pinterest fail!

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