Public Lab Research note

Keeping it easy, making it awesome: open source documentation

by warren | June 20, 2012 19:34 20 Jun 19:34 | #2588 | #2588

Thinking a lot about how to make documentation that helps the first-time user (can you do this in < 5 minutes with only what you have in your office/kitchen/garage?) and supporting the amazing advanced work so many people are doing in PLOTS.

We want to keep the barrier to entry low (use a rubber band! But if you want more control, try the CHDK!) while being able to do super advanced amazing stuff. High ceiling, low floor!

So -- thoughts, notes -- Blue Dot has a great video on how to assemble a nice foldable chair, where the main character is a guy in a squirrel suit -- friendly and exciting! Nobody thinking, "oh, well I bought this but I haven't gotten around to assembling it, too complicated" -- instead, the assembly is fun and part of the product experience!

Anyways the one takeaway I thought of was that any illustrated guide (or wiki page on this site) might have clearly marked sections for EASY -- the fastest and pretty-darn-good way -- and AWESOME -- the harder but totally rad way. Hence the above main image.


Maybe this categorization could be crowd sourced. Every hardware/technique wiki or research note could encourage voting on two questions:

Is it easy? No (1pt) Meh (2 pts) Very (3 pts)

Is it Awesome? Some (1 pt) More (2 pts) Wicked (3 pts)

Each note/wiki then gets a badge based on the score:

5-6 = You've got to try this! 3-4 = Probably worthwhile. 2 = A niche solution.

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