Snapguide: Your Guide to Everything

Thanks to the Internet, if there’s something out there that you need to do but you don’t know how to do it, there’s some website that will provide you with the answer. Need to add RAM to your Mac? Try iFixit. Want to make a pinhole camera? Go to Instructables. And now, if you want a little bit of everything, there’s Snapguide.

Snapguide is a social guide service that allows anyone to put up their own instruction manual to do pretty much anything, then draw comments from the world at large. But is it a social network or just another how-to resource? Let’s find the root after the break. 

What It Is

It’s interesting, but in the time that I’ve been reviewing apps there have been a few hundred that have come across my desk, but none of them with as short of a description on iTunes as Snapguide:

Snapguide is a simple, beautiful way to share and view step-by-step how to guides. Discover new things to cook, build, wear, play and more. Create your own guides and share what you love making with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and more. Discuss your interests with other people who share your passions.

That’s right, four sentences. Direct, and to the point.

The app starts with showing you some of the basics.

The app starts with showing you some of the basics.

And really, that’s all that needs to be said. There’s no real organization structure or theme to the entire concept, just put up guides or look for some on your own. That’s it.

What It Isn’t

Snapguide isn’t a well organized, well lubed machine that lets you quickly and easily find what you’re looking for. There aren’t any categories that you can drill down to find a specific topic, just a search field and that’s it — and even that’s not very good. For example, I looked up the word “hamburger” in the search, and the first and only result is “Make Potato Latkes.” Even though there are posts about hamburgers, Snapguide just can’t find it — so consider that you may be doing more browsing than actual productive finding.

Snapguide contains a wide variety of different guides.

Snapguide contains a wide variety of different guides.

It also isn’t really a social network, but it kinda is. You can follow people, like posts and comment on activities, but don’t expect to flip through this app like you would your Facebook feed. It’s more of a Chilton’s guide for everything, but all your friends are around as a bonus.

How It Works

Since search doesn’t really work, the best way to go about perusing the world of Snapguide is to just flip through and see what you can find. In my travels through the app, I found quite a few different offerings among a variety of topics. At first, I figured it was mostly going to be cooking tips based on what was initially recommended to me, but after delving deeper, I found all sorts of crafty projects.

Every guide includes a "who did it" page and a list of required materials.

Every guide includes a "who did it" page and a list of required materials.

What makes the app interesting is that these guides are constructed using a variety of images and videos, all taken by the user. So let’s say I wanted to post a guide on how to write an AppStorm article. I could do that using the tools built into the app, and then publish it all right then and there.

Each step has a picture or video of the process.

Each step has a picture or video of the process.

That’s really where this app shines. and one of the reasons I like it so much. Fact is, I’m a guy who likes step-by-step instructions, whether they’re a part of a LEGO kit or how to put together a small car. It’s the process that does it for me, and learning how to do stuff can be pretty exciting. With Snapguide, I can make a set of instructions for anything I want, and it’s very straightforward.

The Social Component

As with many apps that fall into this category, there is a bit of a social networking involved in the app. When you first sign up for a free account, you can do so either by connecting with your Facebook or Twitter accounts, which lets you find any of your friends who may be signed up as well. For what it’s worth, you don’t have to do this and I didn’t — frankly, the list of apps who want to glom onto my Facebook and Twitter feeds are so great that I want to thin the herd a bit.

See? There's a social component, too.

See? There's a social component, too.

However, if you do like hooking up socially (wait, that sounds weird), then you can do so by connecting your account to the service of your choice. Additionally, you can comment on people’s guides or posts using the app itself. This lets you start a conversation that hopefully the developer of the guide will join, allowing you to find out more about the process at hand.

Is It Worth Signing Up?

Well, Snapguide is pretty — I love the textured backgrounds and paper effects — but you have to be a bit of a tech nerd to be into the site. Now I don’t mean “tech” as in technological products, I mean it in the sense that you have to be into learning how things get done from a technical standpoint, whether it’s getting through customs quickly or making a perfect hamburger. That’s not everyone’s bag.

Even though it does interest me, this isn’t an app that I’m going to check every day; there’s just not the impetus to do so like there is with other social apps. But I will check it on a regular basis, and it’s an app that I will keep on my iPhone, even if it’s used less frequently than others. Not every app has to be the next Flipboard, after all.


Summary

Instruction manuals for anything and everything.

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