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 remove photo backgrounds. Your backgrounds don’t have to be perfectly white; a nice uncluttered background is less distracting than one that has been crudely cut out. Even if you really, really know what you’re doing, your time is better spent on other parts of the project.
- Please do NOT use Photoshop to add markup to pictures. Instead, use iFixit's built-in markup tool. This way anyone can change the markup in case a mistake is made, whereas Photoshopped markup is permanently attached to the picture.
- Take the picture with the device against a solid white background that is well-lit, with the camera in landscape orientation.
- 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.
- To upload a photo, add/edit a step and click the camera icon. This brings up your personal media manager, where you can manage your existing photos and upload new ones.
To crop a photo, go to the step editor and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the image. Select “Crop."
In the new window that opens, click and drag the corners of the selection box to frame your photo. Once you have your photo in position, click Save.
TIPS FOR WRITING GREAT TEXT
Technical writing is a little different from what you've done in other English 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. iFixit is a website by everyone, for everyone—not just the gadget whizzes of the world. When writing your guides, ask yourself if your aunt and uncle who still use dial-up could follow your instructions.
- 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.
- Tell your audience what to do and how to do it. It's important to be thorough when describing your repair procedure. Instead of simply saying "Remove the battery," describe how to remove it. "Use a plastic opening tool to pry the battery up and out of the case."
- 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.” Articles tell your brain that a noun is coming.
- Identify tools and components correctly. This might sound obvious, but once you open your device up, you may run into things you've never seen before. Help your readers by correctly identifying which components each particular cable and connector correspond to.
- List all screw lengths (to the nearest tenth of a mm) and head types. For example, you might instruct your readers to remove four 5.5 mm Phillips #00 screws. This gives your readers a safety net in the event that they accidentally drop or otherwise mix up their screws.
- 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.