Tutorial Authorship

Tutorials are at the center of DIY and maker practices.

Project # 1 : Understanding the opportunities and challenges in tutorial authorship

In this overarching project, we discuss the role interaction designers can play as hybrid designers, mediating between author and audience to contribute to the improvement of practices of tutorial authorship in DIY. We examine the quality of tutorials through the building and analysis of ten DIY projects and tutorials.

In addition, and as a result of this study, we proposed an experiment in which we 'translate' tutorials from their current format to a more traditional cookbook style of format. The recipe format can help us rethink how we design tools and formats to support the exchange of knowledge and know-how in the DIY community.

Project in collaboration with the Everyday Design Studio at SFU

_ Wakkary, R., Lorenz Schilling, M., Dalton, M., Hauser, S., Desjardins, A., Zhang, X., and Lin, H. (2015).
Tutorial Authorship and Hybrid Designers: The Joy (and Frustration) of DIY Tutorials, In Proc CHI 2015, New York, ACM Press, 609-618.
_ Dalton, M. A., Desjardins, A., and Wakkary, R. (2014).
From DIY Tutorials to DIY Recipes, Proc EA CHI 2014, New York, ACM Press. 1405-1410.

Project # 2 : DIY tutorials for converting a sprinter van

Since 2013, Léandre and I have been in the process of converting a Sprinter van into a camper van. I document every step of our conversion process:
How to Insulate a Camper Van
Rear Storage Platform in a Camper Van
Cedar Paneling for Van Interior
Bed, Table and Benches for camper van: All-in-one
How to sew cushions for a camper van

This is a very interesting process and I am realizing, through the authoring of the tutorials, many of the challenges that are present when documenting such a long and complex process. It is also fascinating to see the various tasks that are added to just the making when we are thinking about documenting it on top of it (taking photos, making timelapse videos, remembering the steps...).

Project in collaboration with Léandre Bérubé

For more on the van project, click here.