Part 1: Overview
Here we show you how to get started on the iFixit Technical Writing Project. You will create an account, join a team, and write a project proposal.
You are finished with this section when you:
Sign up for an iFixit account using your school email address
Join a student team
Create a profile
Learn how to use student instruction pages
Choose a device for your project that is not already documented on iFixit
Email a PDF of your proposal to your instructor, including all the requirements listed on the Project Proposal page
Incorporate all feedback from your instructor
Email your instructor When...
...you have a proposal. Proposals are the guiding document for your project. Your proposal must be approved by your instructor before you can begin work on the site.
Please note: Your instructor may ask you to revise your proposal, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Join a Team
- Even if you are working alone, you need to be on a team. Being on a team, even a team by yourself, gives you student privileges that allow you to complete your work.
- Use your name and school email when signing up for the account.
- Make sure to select the appropriate information from the drop-down menus. If you add yourself to the wrong team, just click "Leave my team" and try again.
- Team tags follow this format: School-ProfessorLastName-T#S#G#. For example, if you are attending Istituto Tecnico Tecnologico "E. FERMI" in Dr. Jon Doe's class, in Fall 2018, assigned to section 4, group 7, your team tag will be: FERMI-DOE-F18S4G7. Your instructor will assign you a section and group number. You will need to include this team tag in the subject line of your emails to your instructor, so write it down or copy it from your profile for later use.
2. Go to your profile if you'd like to add an avatar or view your team.
- You can click on your name in the top right corner of the homepage to view your profile. To view your profile from other pages on iFixit, click on your name in the top right corner of the site and select “My Profile” from the dropdown menu.
- On your profile page you'll see all the guides you've created.
- On the same page, click the team tag below your avatar to view a list of your team members and your team's activity.
- Disregard the link to the "Student Instructions" page below your team tag on your profile page. Use these instructions instead.
So, why is this project so important? By teaching people how to fix their own stuff, you are helping to keep devices out of landfills and end the e-waste crisis! To learn more, check out the video below, as well as our Repair Manifesto, the Why We Do What We Do page, and iFixit.org.
Choosing a Device
For this project, we want you to choose a device that you’re excited about working on. It doesn’t have to be a smartphone or laptop! It can be anything from a bike, to a toy, or even a common household appliance. It can even be broken. (You’ll be writing guides to show someone with a broken device how to replace faulty parts, so it’s fine if your device is broken.) No matter what you choose, you'll be helping the world end the e-waste crisis and keep devices out of landfills. We can't do this without your help!
The important thing is to find a device that is NOT already well-documented on iFixit. (A simple search should tell you whether there are already guides for your device on the site.) Your device should also be complex enough that you can write the required number of guides. Each guide will cover the replacement of one component.
Some devices are generally off-limits for safety reasons—things like cars and trucks, microwaves, and old CRT televisions. Check the Project Safety page if you're not sure.
If you have any questions about choosing a device, please ask your instructor.
Once you have chosen your device, the next step is to submit a proposal as a PDF. Submitting a proposal and getting approval from your instructor is a required step, so pay close attention to the requirements listed below.
A proposal outlines what your project will look like from start to finish. We have a sample proposal to help you understand what yours should look like. You are more than welcome to use the sample proposal as a reference, but the content must be written in your own words. If you encounter a problem that requires a change to your initial proposal, be sure to send your instructor an updated proposal. In the working world, professionals are adaptable—just make sure your changes aren't a surprise to the people you're working with—including your instructor!
Important things to include in your proposal:
What device will you be working on? It's important to get the device name exactly correct, which can be tricky because some devices have crazy names like the SuperSonic Matrix Mid SC-999. Once you've found your device, take the time to research the full device name. The best place to start your research? Search the manufacturer's product page. If you're still unsure of your device's correct name, follow the Device Nomenclature guidelines.
How much repair information is already on the internet about your device? Your team will need to do some research to understand what common problems users may experience with their device. Search Google using your device name to see if you can find any repair-oriented or parts sites (the parts that they sell will provide clues about what components users need to replace). Are there disassembly instructions available? If so, how good are they, and how are yours going to be better?
What is your proposed device page title? When you create your device page on the iFixit site, you'll be prompted to create a page title. It is important for page titles to be written correctly the first time around so that an accurate URL is created. We try to keep page titles consistent across the site, so the title for your device page should follow this format:
Device Page: [Device Name]
Example: Lenovo Essential G560
Please note: The word "Repair" will auto-populate on the device page title after you've created the page.
What specific guides will you write for your device? Each guide should show how to replace a specific component of your device (battery, display, motherboard, etc.). To help keep the greatest possible number of devices out of landfills, choose the components that are most likely to fail, break, or require an upgrade.
Do not create a Teardown, Disassembly, or Technique guide.
You are not responsible for repairing a broken device or broken components. You are simply demonstrating how to replace the components.
Most student groups write guides for 5-7 components, but the number varies. Check with your instructor for the required number.
If you’re not sure which guides to write, check out the Student FAQ for some ideas. Later, you may uncover new parts to write guides for, or discover that a guide you had planned to do isn't possible, and that’s okay—just email your instructor to make sure your proposed changes are suitable.
Who is the intended audience for your project? Audience analysis is an important part of technical writing. Take a look at iFixit.com and get familiar with the demographics of the users on the site—the Answers forum is a good place to start. Remember, the overall goal of the project is to help as many people as possible repair their things so that they don’t get thrown away. In order to best help someone, you need to know who you’re talking to. Take a look at our mission. Who are we trying to help? How will this inform your project?
Which camera will you be using? Any digital camera of 6 megapixels or greater that can mount to a tripod is acceptable. While your smartphone may be able to take photos, you will get much better results using a digital camera mounted to a tripod.
Please include a header at the top of your proposal in this format:
Device: Samsung Galaxy S5
Team tag: FERMI-DOE-F18S4G7
Camera: Isabella's 16.1 MP Canon PowerShot SX700
Group email addresses: email@example.com, etc. (These must be the same email addresses that you and your team members used to create your iFixit accounts.)
Don't forget: include your team tag in the subject line of your email, CC your teammates, and include a brief message in the email's body to provide context for your proposal. Give your instructor sufficient time to respond to your email.
Everything is not awesome!
You’ll get stuck in your project and have to redo your proposal if you haven’t closely followed the instructions. Take a moment to review the Part 1 guidelines and make sure that you’ve met all of the requirements. Everything is cool when you’ve reviewed things as a team. Email your instructor when you’ve got your proposal ready to go. Your instructor will let you know when you are ready to move on to Part 2.
Part 1 Checklist
Review this checklist to make sure you've completed all the requirements for Part 1 of the project. Your instructor may ask you to print this out and submit a copy (click here to download).