What is a Tutorial?Tutorial about Tutorials

It’s obvious that if you have a strong will nothing is impossible and everything can be learned; Internet is a great teacher- it contains tons of blogs about all the possible domains of activity. One of the best method of teaching is the tutorial (statement based on the majority opinion of bloggers, I totally agree with this).
Reading this article won’t make you a better professional or a super quality freelancer…not, yet I really want that after finishing it you have an idea about how to build posts that could help another person; I know it sounds a little bit as a stupid Flash promo…anyway feel free to comment about this post and I will give you the proper replay.
First of all what is a tutorial?
According to www.oxforddictionaries.com a tutorial is “an account or explanation of a subject, printed or on a computer screen, intended for private study”.
I believe that the format of it doesn’t matter: written or video; what really matters is the quality of it and the attention you pay to it. Let’s make a short analyze:


1. Written Tutorial
As I said previous on the Internet we can find everything about everything and everyone, more precisely in this post we will take a look only at the problems in our field of activity. In these circumstances we establish two categories of written tutorials:
-for designers;
-for developers;
1.1. Written tutorials for designers

I am a current user and a big fan of these kinds of tutorials
. These are good because all the steps can be very well explained, if you have some problems in following the explanation, no problem, you can repeat some incomprehensible steps until you understand everything.
I believe that the written tutorials are very good for beginners because they usually present all the details in addition with some screenshots of the evolution of the project revealing all the process of the creation…it is very simply to verify yourself…if your project looks very similar to the image presented at a certain step then you worked well until this step.
Why recommend the written tutorials to beginners? The most important reason- in this way I learn photoshop
and the second one (that is the true reason) they are unsecure about their skills and need a concise explanation to understand and learn the technique…it can’t be realized by a video.
1.2. Written tutorials for developers
The immense majority of tutorials for developers are in written format…it is a coherent logic: to understand a code requires a lot of attention, many small details are very important; a comma is enough to make your life a living hell.
Personally I am not a good developer (let’s categorize me as an upper-intermediate expert of HTML & CSS and a beginner of JavaScript and PHP), but to see and understand the role of a snippet into a whole structure in a video tutorial is difficult.
2. Video Format
2.1. Video tutorials for designers

Letting down my modesty I consider myself as being a very active person…for example I use my breaks to watch videos presenting tutorials in Photoshop…once again I considered these as a break.
Nowadays I admit that it is a mistake underestimating the power of video tutorials, these present techniques as interesting as the ones in written version, nonetheless in a quickly way. I could say that a video format emphasizes the finality of a project and not the technique, for example a video format is more appropriate for a tutorial about retouching than a written post. To realize a quality retouch in Photoshop requires a huge amount of work, taking care of many details that surely are boring in a written format…much more it could last few hours and sometimes a day so is required a video that compress many hours in few minutes. Anyway it is uncomfortable to learn new techniques from a video, but when you know the technique presented it is really amazing to see what other creative people can realize.
2.2. Video tutorials for developers
As I said previous these kinds of tutorials are rare. These can be used only to show in a general manner how to implement some snippets or to show in detail and comment a small code. The principal advantage of video format is that allow a detailed explanation…it is easy to listen to 1000 words than reading 500.
Honestly there aren’t tutorials that are bad or teach you something that you don’t need to know…you can read or listen to super high quality tutorials but if you do not pay the attention carefully then all is in vain. The tutorials should respect some rules, but you, the reader are the one who can help yourself or you only lose your time…but which are rules that should respect a tutorial?
1. Your tutorial should be appropriate with the style of the blog
We find on the Internet various tutorials for beginners, intermediate and advanced. If you want to write a tutorial for advanced users of Photoshop then some steps could be easily skipped but if you write for beginners then your post would be considered very bad. Take care of that, it is very important!
2. A tutorial should have a modular format
A quality tutorial requires a lot of work, much time and patience from a follower. It happens very seldom that you need a break so a modular construction of it is a must.
3. The length of a tutorial is very important…
It is very good that a tutorial explains all the details of the project developed, but it is also very important to skip what is not essential; for example a tutorial about making a business cards …there are few posts that explain the principles that bases the construction of these, probably a post which treats this subject will be read by many people but in the construction of this tutorial it is wrong to insert a lot of theory. It is highly recommended to start with few lines about the importance of the business cards, but immediately keep on with the construction of it…probably in Photoshop or Illustrator.
4. Post all you results, not one
I believe this sounds somehow strange, however personally consider that it is super important…the core purpose of a tutorial is not to learn by heart the content of it, it is to learn and understand a technique. Posting your multiple experiments give the follower the idea that whatever he did is good…a small difference in nuances or font is not the end of the world .In this manner he understands that what really matters is to have a similar concept not a identical one.
5. Offer feedback
It is not a requirement of a good tutorial; nevertheless surely it is a good way to increase your traffic and to market yourself. Nobody was born expert in Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver or Illustrator so all around the globe are a lot of beginners that need help…and what could be better for such a person than a brief opinion of an experimented person regarding a project.
Hope you like my post and please put in a comment your opinion about tutorials.

Daniel Pintilie

Daniel Pintilie blogs on a number of subjects, especially conversion rate and landing pages optimization. His articles have been published in many blogs and publications.

6 Comments to What is a Tutorial?Tutorial about Tutorials

  1. Video tutorials are indeed sources of information which shouldn`t be belittled since they explain a topic almost like a teacher does and way better than mere written information so the one who makes a tutorial has to be as accurate as possible because details really matter in this case. I`ve managed to learn a lot about tutorials thanks to your post. Good job!

  2. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.