It’s been a year more so since we covered the launch of How.Do, a startup that lets users create instructional storyboards with their iPhones – you shoot a bunch of still pictures and record up to 8 seconds of audio to go with each one, then quickly assemble them.
This is perfect for people in the maker movement, and the Berlin-based company seems to be getting significant traction there, roughly half of which has been in the U.S. Now How.Do is gaining a new feature: short video clips.
Introduced in a new version of the app on Thursday, the feature makes it possible to include moving image clips of up to 8 seconds in How.Do “micro guides”, as the firm calls them. That doesn’t mean the whole thing needs to be video – the tutorial can combine stills and video, using each format where it’s most appropriate. A knitting tutorial, for example, may mostly be about pattern images but still benefit from a brief clip showing how to cast on.
Or a guide to making a DIY lamp in a jar:
DIY LAMP IN A JAR a micro guide by Eva G. Alonso on HowDo
“We’re trying to make it easier and more fun for people to share what they know,” How.Do co-founder Emma Rose Metcalfe told me. “We started to see people trying to show steps that had movement by making more steps, and we thought ‘Oh no, this isn’t right’.”
She added that the team decided to avoid the Vine-like mechanism of holding down the screen to record such clips as, intuitive as the mechanism is, it doesn’t work very well when you need a free hand for actually doing whatever it is your micro guide demonstrates.
As major a change as this is for How.Do, it actually comes after several big updates in recent months. In late August, for example, How.Do introduced search and tagging, and also said over 2,000 guides had been created using the app.
It may seem like a niche tool, but the maker and craft movements represent a growing niche, particularly with the rise of ecommerce platforms such as Etsy. Metcalfe described this as the scene “bubbling over” and said that, in the coming year, How.Do would try to expand into more “mainstream” craft and DIY activities – she was quite vague about what that meant in practice, though, just as she was about “exciting collaborations” that are coming up.