- Create a new guide by clicking here.
- Under “What type of guide is this?” choose “Technique” or “Replacement” from the drop down menu. (Most Fast Fix projects will either cover a specific repair technique for a broken item or the replacement of a broken part.)
- Give your guide a short, descriptive title. For example, you could write a technique guide entitled "How to Patch a Flat Tire" or a replacement guide entitled "Skateboard Wheel Replacement." (If there's already an automatically generated title or partial title such as "Fast Fix Replacement" in this box, go ahead and change it to something more descriptive.)
- Write a short summary for your guide. The summary is used in search results, so keep it brief (one or two sentences), and include any terms or phrases that your readers would be likely to search for. A good example of a summary might be, "Fix a hole in your jeans by sewing on a denim patch."
- Click the “Show More” button. This brings up some additional fields for your guide.
- Write a short introductory paragraph for your guide. The introduction should contain any background information a reader would need before they begin. Think about what you would tell a friend before doing this guide: any special requirements, hazards, why this fix might be needed, etc.
- Add the "Fast Fix" tag to your guide. In the Tags section at the lower right, fill in the phrase Fast Fix—and be sure to click 'Add' then 'Save Tags.'
- Leave the “Flags” section alone for now. At the bottom of the page, you may see some auto-generated "In Progress" or “Student In Progress” flags that mark your guide as being part of a student project. It's okay to leave these alone for now.
- Click “Save.” Congratulations! You’re ready to start your guide, and will now be taken to the Edit page for the first step.
For each step in your guide, you’ll add both written instructions and photos demonstrating those instructions. Let's go over photos first.
Preparing and Uploading Your Pictures
Before adding pictures to your guide, you can use Photoshop or other software to lighten up or crop them so that they look better.
- Please do NOT use Photoshop to add markup to pictures. Instead, use iFixit's built-in markup tool (more on this below). This way your teammates and collaborators can edit the markup, whereas Photoshopped markup is permanently attached to the picture.
- Keep your pictures as large as possible in terms of resolution. If a picture is 4000 x 3000 pixels in size, so be it! We love large images.
- Click on the camera icon to upload a photo. This brings up your personal media manager, where you can manage your existing photos and upload new ones.
- Crop your photos if necessary. Our software will prompt you to crop your photos to a 4x3 aspect ratio using the built-in tool. 4x3 is standard throughout the site; no other formats are permitted.
TIPS FOR WRITING GREAT TEXT
Technical writing is a little different from what you've done in other classes, so we created this "cheat sheet" of sorts to help prevent you from committing any word crimes. (For writing more advanced guides, such as “How To Use Your Samurai Sword For Zombie Defense,” check out the Tech Writing Handbook.)
- Gear your writing towards an audience with little technical knowledge. Remember, you might know all about this fix, but your audience doesn't (yet). Try to avoid using complex jargon or technical terms that could be confusing for a reader doing the fix for the first time.
- Use the active voice. You're telling someone what to do in your guides, so tell them something to do. Simply stating that a component can be removed is passive and weak.
- Be clear and descriptive, yet concise. Writing instructions that people actually want to read requires finding a middle ground between vagueness and verbosity. Read your own text out loud to yourself. You'll quickly have a feel for whether or not you've found the happy medium.
- Write complete sentences. Don’t let those bullet points deceive you—proper grammar is critical to a clear and comprehensible guide. Remember to include all punctuation, including commas and periods.
- Use articles like “a,” “and,” and “the.” As a reader, articles tell your brain that a noun is coming. When it comes to technical writing, it's commonplace to see articles dropped completely—but for those of us who aren't used to technical documents, this makes for rough reading. Gear your writing to a general audience, and use your articles. We not robot, after all.
- Identify parts and tools correctly. This might sound obvious, but make an extra effort to use the correct name for what you're describing, so that you can write clear directions.
- Keep it simple. Avoid writing obvious steps like “Remember to keep track of your screws,” or “Locate component X.” Your readers will quickly tire of reading tedious or repetitive instructions, but they’ll thank you for text that is accurate, to-the-point, and concise.
- Your first step should dive right in to the procedure. There's no need for a step showing the tools necessary for the Fast Fix. Instead, make sure to list the necessary tools under the List any required tools section of your guide.