Unit 2: Overview
In Unit 2, you will learn about prerequisites, shoot your guide images, and upload them to ifixit.
You are finished with this section when your guides:
Correctly use prerequisites to create an easy-to-follow "chain" of replacement guides
Are well-lit and correctly exposed
Are shot in landscape orientation
Show a person's hands performing the actions being described without obstructing the view
Place the action in the center of the frame
Are zoomed in far enough to see relevant detail
Are in focus—not blurry or grainy
Have correct white balance without a colored tint
Have a clean, white background free of distracting clutter
Properly include colored markup in guide photos
Email Us When...
...you have some photos ready that you'd like us to look over. Simply upload your photos to each of your guides, then email techwriting[at]ifixit[dot]com with links to your guides on iFixit. (Don't worry about writing text for your guide steps yet—we'll cover that in Unit 3.) We're happy to offer feedback to help you get your prerequisite and photo skills totally dialed in!
This unit is all about two things: preparation and shooting great guide photos. Shooting photos is usually the fun part, but in order for your photos to really be instructive, you'll need to learn a bit about guide photos and how they differ from the kind of photos you take every day.
The following examples from past projects give a good idea of what your prerequisites and photos should look like.
To see more awesome student work, check out our Featured Student Guides page.
use prerequisites to save time
In most devices, you'll want to remove the battery early in the repair process. Instead of having to repeatedly explain how to remove the battery at the beginning of every guide, you can write the battery replacement guide once, and then select the battery guide as a prerequisite in future guides. After adding the prerequisite, your battery replacement steps will show up automatically at the beginning of your new guide, and you can add further steps from there.
The battery is just one example; any number of guides can be used as prerequisites.
Effective use of prerequisites can be a huge time saver, but there are potential pitfalls. You can only use prerequisites for portions of the disassembly that are sequential. For example, suppose we’re writing guides for the iPhone 5. After investigating the design of the device, we've concluded that the components can be removed in the following order:
1. Front Panel Assembly
3. Volume Controls
3. Logic Board Assembly
Notice that the volume controls, vibrator, and logic board assembly all share the same number. This means that once you've removed the first two components, you can choose to remove any of the next three. The volume controls guide is not a prerequisite for the vibrator, because you don’t have to remove the volume controls to take out the vibrator.
This can get tricky to keep track of in your head, so drawing a tree diagram showing the order components are removed from your device may be helpful (and time-saving):
You can see that before you even get to the volume controls, you must go through the same steps that are found in the battery guide. The battery and front panel assembly guides are both prerequisites for the iPhone 5 Volume Controls guide.
Feel free to use any existing guides as prerequisites. Just be sure to carefully check them for accuracy and continuity.
We’ll go over how to import a prerequisite guide in Unit 3.
Use the guide below to start taking great-looking pictures to document each step in your procedure.
Now that you've taken some awesome photos, it's time to create your guides on iFixit!
Click the “Create a Guide” button on your device page.
For guide type, choose “Replacement.” All your guides should be replacement guides for your device’s components, unless you’ve made arrangements in advance to do something different.
Don’t change the text in the “Device” field. This is filled in automatically and must exactly match the name used on your device page. If this text is altered, your new guide won’t show up on your device page.
Type the name of the component you’ll be replacing in this guide in the next field (Battery, Display, etc.).
Don’t change the guide title unless you notice a problem. This field is filled in automatically based on your earlier selections. It should only be changed if the auto-generated title doesn't convey what the guide is doing.
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. Always make sure to include your device’s full name and model number. A good example of a summary might be, "How to replace the battery in an iPhone 7."
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 repair might be needed, etc. This is also a great place to add any corresponding information from your troubleshooting page.
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. Don’t try to remove them! We’ll do more with flags in Unit 4.
Click “Save.” Congratulations! You’re ready to start your guide and will now be taken to the Edit page for the first step.
WHILE WORKING ON YOUR GUIDES
Don’t work on the same step at the same time as your teammates. It's okay for multiple team members to work on the same guide at the same time, as long as each team member works on different steps. If more than one team member tries to edit the same step at the same time, they may overwrite each other's work.
Your guides and activity will be visible on your team's page. You can view your team activity by logging into iFixit.com, clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the page and selecting "My Team."
Don't worry about adding step titles. Even though your guide steps say "Add A Title," step titles are not enabled for this project. A concise, clearly written step usually does not require a step title—the titles quickly become redundant, making the document longer and therefore more of an effort to read. Step titles are best used to mark the beginning of a series of related steps. For instance, if you add a prerequisite guide, a step title is automatically added to denote the first steps in the prerequisite sequence.
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. However, we have a few guidelines:
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!
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.
Once your photos are in place, you can use iFixit’s markup system to highlight the location of screws and other key components when necessary.
To add markup to an image, first click the gear icon on the image thumbnail, and then click “Markers…”
Start off each step with red markup. Use additional colors only if there are more items that need to be marked up in the same step. Use them in the order they appear (red, then orange, then yellow, etc.). (Exception: If you’re marking up a red object—or any other color that doesn’t provide good visibility—feel free to skip to a color with better contrast.)
Use circles for screws, and squares for other things (connectors, clips, etc.).
Don't add lines, arrows, or brackets. The markup editor can create lines, arrows, and brackets, but you should not use them for this project.
Don’t overuse markup. Only add markup where it is necessary to point something out that is not otherwise obvious in the image. In many cases, a well-composed photograph that is centered on the action won’t need any markup at all.
Here is an iPhone 5 guide that shows proper use of markup.
There's no lifeguard on duty.
You don’t want to end up back in the kiddie pool with floaties. Pay careful attention so that your photos don’t have tan lines (improper exposure), sunburns (color cast), or photobombers (messy backgrounds). You’ll save time (and hopefully not have to reshoot) by making sure that your photos are picture-perfect and up to the standards listed on the Unit 2 instructions and checklist. When you’re ready, throw us a line at techwriting[at]ifixit[dot]com, and we’ll let you know when you can boogie board into Unit 3.