I_LOOK_AFTER_IT

IFIXIT is an online resource that provides information and access to parts the allow for non-expert repairs to a multitude of products. Originally focussed around the proliferation of electronic devices that suffer from battery degradation, damaged screens, broken buttons etc., it has grown to provide advice and instructions on how to repair all kinds of things.

The site is interesting in that it is has an open ‘community’ approach as stated:

iFixit is a wiki-based site that teaches people how to fix almost anything. Anyone can create a repair manual for a device, and anyone can also edit the existing set of manuals to improve them. Our site empowers individuals to share their technical knowledge with the rest of the world.

So what are you waiting for?

Start a new guide or improve an existing one!

 There is a wealth of information available on the site. The ‘Teardown’ section is where videos of new products being disassembled are posted. The aim is to examine the internal components and assess the product for repair. I watched an Apple Pencil ‘Teardown’ film and at the end the presenter gave a ‘repairability score’ for the product based on the ease of access to the internal parts. The Apple Pencil received a score of 1 out of 10 for this as there was no way to access the components without destroying the product in the process.
The repair guides that are produced by the IFIXIT team are excellent. The are clear, incredibly well illustrated and allow users to comment on each step making suggestions or offering advice.
ifixit iphone 6
part of iPhone 6 battery replacement tutorial

There is also a forum where users can discuss issues and ask for advice.

Below is an example of a user generated guide. The team at IFIXIT produce comprehensive guides to the most common repairs with mass market products. They also encourage the general public to contribute to the site and to produce repair guides themselves. There is comprehensive advice and instruction on how to create a good guide on the site and in interesting section that allows the community to ‘upgrade’ the quality of these user developed repair guides.

ifixit user cont

This is an incredible resource that is free at point of use as a repair guide, but also supports an organisation that aims to change the way in which companies design their products to make them repairable by the owners. Their manifesto can be accessed here.

ifixit_self-repair_manifesto_900x1390

This site is exciting in that it offers an alternative to the ‘no user serviceable parts’ attitude of many mass produced electronic/electrical products. The site is well structured, contains excellent instructional material and makes use of a crowd sourcing to help cover the almost infinite number of products.

The guides on the site are developed using open source software called omanual, the name is derived from the term ‘open format manual’, allowing for rich media content and non-linear linking of sections. They claim that this is great resource for creating any form of manual, not just for repair and may be worth exploring further.

This approach to sharing knowledge and advice, especially the crowd sourcing/community contributor model is potentially a very powerful concept. It may be that this approach could extend to caring and maintenance as a means of sharing good practice, tips and advice. Perhaps an alternative version called ILOOKAFTERIT could be a viable proposition. Whether the motivation to maintain a product in peak condition is as strong as of that  repair a damaged one is yet to be discovered.

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