How I Did It

We’re getting ready to push some changes to the goal page on 43 Things. First up, the release of How I Did It stories.  The How I Did It story allows you to craft a more thoughtful entry about how you accomplished a goal. You’ll be able to share your experiences, resources and pictures with people looking to do the same thing. Here’s how a How I Did It story will look on the goal page (click to enlarge):

This is the first substantive change to the goal page since we launched 43 Things back in 2005. It will take some getting used to — and you may not see these stories at first until folks take the time to write a few How I Did Its, at which point they’ll take the top position on the page.

The goal of these changes is to make 43 Things a more useful resource for people working on their goals.  All of us who have accomplished a goal have our own experiences and tips to share with those who are still working on it. Other changes are more housecleaning, as 4 years on the internet leads to stale designs and feature cruft.  So when we are done, it will be a pretty new look for 43 Things.  Give it a few days to sink in and then let us know what you think.

update: we hope to launch this early next week

re-update: we launched How I Did It stories today (Sept. 9, 2008 @ 4:20pm PST)

49 Responses to “How I Did It”

  1. llong Says:

    Looking forward to all the changes! I assume that the “How I Did It” feature hasn’t been released yet? At least I couldn’t find it.

    I really, really love this site, and each new feature seems well considered and ultimately useful.

    Thank you!

  2. Daniel Spils Says:

    Correct - not available yet. We hope to have it out early next week. There will likely be a few last minute tweaks, but the picture represents the basic idea. Glad you like the site!

  3. maggie the cat Says:


  4. Lisa Says:

    Sorry guys. I have to admit it, because I love 43t! But I really don’t like this new feature. I find it too embellished. I like the simplicity of posting it as a comment, like all of the other comments. What is the best way to use the feature in the most simple fashion?

  5. Daniel Spils Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    You can still post an entry on a goal when you complete it. Just scroll down the page and click the “write an entry about this” under the entries area. Also, from your profile page you can always click the arrow tooltip and select the “add an entry” link.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Thanks Daniel.

  7. llong Says:

    Looks great Daniel. I love it, and this will be really helpful for goals that require some planning and seeking advice from experienced 43thingers, like “See the Northern Lights” or “Write a Business Plan”, etc.

    I notice you have also added a tab for things that were given up. Looks good too.

  8. Rachel Says:

    Why are the dates & times that the entries were posted not displayed anymore?

  9. Uncle Enore Says:

    Is this where I catch the 4.33 for Tumwater?

  10. Steve Says:

    I am not sure if filling out the content is mandatory. On one hand I really like the idea of having the stories, and I appreciate that having comprehensive content is consistent, aesthetic and helpful. I also think that reflecting on my accomplishment is constructive . On the other hand I’m not looking for immediate reflection the moment I do something. I want to cross it off the list. And I’m frustrated because you’re making me THINK. So, maybe we have to weight lowest common denominator need for social and instant satisfaction or a Need to Avoid Failure with the therapeutic goal of a Need to Achieve and learn from mistakes. Ok I guess I like that’s mandatory but it still frustrates me :-)

  11. Steve Says:

    The first line should read: I’m not sure if I like that filling out the content is mandatory

  12. Adar Says:

    Wow…. I am thrilled with the new goals setup! Dunno how it will work with relatively small things (birthday threads, etc) but I look forward to learning from 43Thingers about how they reached their goals!

  13. vex Says:

    Erm, subscriptions and notifications are all out of whack - wrong content is showing up in the body of the posts. See comments on this post for examples:

  14. kittylemeu Says:

    Most of the changes I’m fine with EXCEPT the “How did you do it” form, It’s too big and ever if you fill it out it still appears at the top of the page asking you. and then there are all of the stories from people who did fill it out.

    it would be better if it was off to the side and if by the person’s name it just has a link you can click on to read how they did it. then it wouldn’t seem so obtrusive and you would have the option of reading rather than having to scroll down past all of it to get to the entries.

  15. karadi Says:

    I completely agree with kittylemeu. (The post above this one)

  16. miranda Says:

    change the “How did you do it” !!!!! it’s wayyyy TOO HUGE… atleast move it to the bottom of the page or have a link on the side where you can view how someone did it. ittakes too long to find the actual entries!

  17. Jessy Says:

    I don’t much like “How I Did It.” Mostly, when I visit a goal, I already now how I want to do it, and I don’t care how anyone else did it. Okay, maybe others do want to know. Maybe I am not the center of the universe. Interesting concept.

    But I sure would like to see “How I did it” moved to the bottom of the page. I would rather read entries than how someone did it.

    That said, thanks for continuing to make this an awesome website.

  18. Nutmeggle Says:

    ummm the changes are great … but the “how did you do it” thing needs to be at the bottom with the questions …. its way annoyign for some of the goals like ….. post questions and stuff … you have to search for ages to see them … other than that its looking good all round !!! Kudos

    love x x x x

  19. New Isabella Says:

    Is it true that we can no longer edit our goals, and that we can no longer give up on our goals temporarily? Or have I missed something?

  20. llong Says:

    Any chance you can list people’s “How Did You Do It” on the Zietgeist page, under the Cheers section and the Comments section?

  21. kittyroxx Says:

    I LOVE IT!

    You guys rock.

  22. Ru2do Says:

    - I was wondering (like Rachel) where the date/time of our entries has gone… I loved being able to keep detailed track of when things were posted. It’s still there on the comments… thanks for all the hard work, by the by…

  23. pixiedustie Says:

    I believe there is a bug with the new set-up here.
    I want to be able to edit existing entries of mine without problem.
    If I do the following for an entry:
    Click on “Edit”
    Edit the text
    Click “Save this entry”
    then it saves my edited entry fine.

    But if I do the following and try to preview the changes before saving:
    Click “Edit”
    Edit the text
    Click “Preview” to preview the changes
    THEN Click “Save this entry”
    then it doesn’t save properly and instead takes me back to the “Edit entry” box with my edited text.

    I also agree with the above posts that the “How did you do it?” box is far too large and a bit annoying. And it would be nice to retain the time/date stamp on entries.

    But thanks for working hard to improve things!

  24. Picasso's Muse Says:

    I’ve used the How I Did It section and my perception is that the Tips and Tricks section will be the most useful in addition to the entries that people write. My only other comment is that I’d like to request that you change the “I’m Done” button to “I Did It”. “I’m Done” is very American-centric and is not a term that other nationalities would use to indicate that a goal was finished or completed. “I Did It” would also be consistent with the “How I Did It” section. Thanks!

  25. Picasso's Muse Says:

    I’ve just the How I Did It section and I think the most useful section will be the Tips and Tricks as well as the entries that people post. I have one other request. Can you please change back the ‘I’m Done’ button to “I Did It”? I’m Done is more of an American term to indicate that something is finished or completed than other nationalities use. Also “I Did It” is more consistent with the “How I Did It” section.

    PS I can’t edit my entries under each goal but I can under comments. Can you alter that please?

  26. tangerine_now Says:

    I agree with kittylemeu and karadi. PLEASE do something about that ‘how I did it’ thing at the top of the page. It is WAY too big and then having to scroll down along all the (mandatory!) stories just to get to the actual entries is horrid! The point is to see how others are getting along with the goal and post you own progress. This is like having ’solutions’ shoved down your throat, to be honest. (Sorry for the colourful language there…) Many of the goals are not quick-fix but require each person to come up with their own way of dealing with things. I agree that having the opportunity to find out how others ‘did it’ may be a good idea, but PLEASE not so much in our faces!
    (Another thing about this feature: why a 150 character minimum? Especially with the quick-fix goals, it is often really not necessary to write that much: ‘took up the courage, called him, have date now’ may be enough in some cases you know…)

    Ah, I was also wondering a bit why we can’t edit our entries anymore after posting. I would like to be able to change the spelling or add a word if necessary.

  27. Lisa Says:

    Hi again. I just noticed, too, that we can’t edit our goals or entries. Is that a permanent change or just a glitch? Thanks.

  28. Eynar Oxartum Says:

    Oh, I hope to have back the date/time. I feel lost now.

    About the new feature… It’s interesting, and it’s good to encourage people to say how they did it, but in some cases I think it’s too big and disrupts the structure of the goal page. Anyway, (in my opinion) it is just a structure problem, I like the idea.

    Lisa: there is not the link “edit entry” where it was before, but you can still edit entries clicking on the arrow-like button and then on “edit”.

  29. Ru2do Says:

    (To edit goals & entries, hit the little circled arrow icon to the right of the goal or title, it gives you edit/delete options)

  30. Flash Says:

    Cool changes; I posted a “How I Did It” story today. I think I will like reading people’s comments on this. I agree that it might be nicer if it got a little less prominent eventually, especially if there are a bunch of “How I Did It” stories under common goals like “Quit Smoking” or “Buy a House” and I want to browse them all.

    One question: is there still a way to re-open a completed goal? I have something that is marked as complete but “still doing” and I wanted to re-activate it onto my front-page list. I see that I can make entries on completed goals, so I did that. But can I still re-open completed goals?

  31. Tartsy Says:

    I like the concept of the “How I Did It” but I too believe that it should be displayed at the bottom of the page or off to the side. Also, it feels intrusive to demand I complete this feature for every goal completed. It would be better if once the goal was marked complete there was an option to select this feature.

  32. llong Says:

    How come the Challenges don’t make the goal come up in yellow anymore? Kinda hard to see them in the lower right corner of the screen.

  33. energy Says:

    I like the new feature mostly. A few suggetions.

    I wish I could just fill in some of the sections instead of everyone. For some goals there just isn’t that much to say to fill out all the sections, and it seems the options are to fill in all or skip it entirely and have no final post.

    Also, I think they’re too big at the top of the page for each goal. When we go to see if there are new entries on a goal, sometimes we have to scroll way down to get past the how I did its. But entries are posted more often that how I did its, so they’re less likely to change, so all the static stuff that we’ve already read is at the top and the bottom of the page is what we’re after. I liked it better before where final entries were mixed in with regular entries.

  34. Pete Sipes23 Says:

    I just discovered this feature. It is very, very cool. I can’t wait to see more of these show up.

  35. Tianna Says:

    Regarding the question asked by Flash about re-opening goals:

    I can’t find the link to “re-open” completed goals in the new interface either. However, I did find a “work-around.” If you move a goal from the “done” list to the “given up” list [choose "remove" then choose the "give up" option] you can then find a “re-open” link which will move the goal back to the “to-do” list. It’s a bit of a meandering path to get the goal to show up where you want it, but it works until someone posts a hint about the mysterious location of the “re-open” link!

  36. wren Says:

    I like the “How I Did It” feature very much but won’t be using it again because I don’t like the fact that once I use it the entry forever stays at the top of my posts. I would continue using it if it politely kept its chronological place with all my other entries instead of always barging to the front.

    And thank you for this wonderful community and all your kaizening efforts to continuously improve!

  37. Silvie Says:

    Firstly please can the ‘How I did it’ be not so in your face. I can see it is useful but not for the day to day user - could these stories be available on another click to a link to ‘How I did it’ pages…please please please….

    Secondly I’m with PM on the ‘I’m done’ button. GRRRRRR!!!! Not only is it Americanese (and yes I know you guys ARE American) but it is poor English and doesn’t actually have the same meaning as “I did this” You might as well say ‘I’m thorugh with this!’ as a chore you had to get done, rather than an achievement to be celebrated which is what it ought to be.

    I know change takes some getting used to , and I have tried all week, but really this does need seeing to.

  38. Daniel Spils Says:

    Hey folks - thanks for all the feedback. A few updates:

    1) date/time stamps have been added back to entries & comments
    2) delete & edit links are back at the bottom of entries
    3) we’ve added a “skip this” link to the How I Did It form so you can skip back to the goal page
    4) subscriptions were out of whack - that should be fixed now
    5) Pixiedust: thanks for the bug on the previewing of an entry - Ivan will fix that soon

    A few things to note:
    * you can save a draft of a How I Did It story - this allows you to finish it at your own speed. Writing a How I Did It can take some time and sometimes you need to reflect a bit after a completing a goal. I have a draft version of How to learn to play the Hammond B3 Organ that may take me a while to finish

    * you can still write a standard entry for any completed goal - scroll down the goal page and click the “write an entry about this” or click the “add entry link from the tooltip by your goal on your profile page.

    If you have other specific bugs to report or general questions, please email us at help [at] robotcoop [dot] com. Thanks!

  39. Lewis Says:

    Just wanted to say I think you guys have been making a lot of really cool changes this year. 43t gets better and better. Thank you.

  40. CatherineABC Says:

    I really don’t like the way this feature works. I’d like the freedom to be able to write as much as I want about how I did it, and not be forced to go back and fill out your forms the way and length you think they should be written. Leave it but have more flexibility for members to decide what and how they’ll write. The way it is now, I almost don’t want to click the completed button, because it’s an annoying pain.

  41. Eynar Oxartum Says:

    I’m getting used to this feature. It is actually very good. This way, you don’t have to spend time searching between the many entries that can be associated to a goal to get tips to reach what you want from people who already knows how to get there. It is also useful to encourage people to tell us how to do something. Common entries are very interesting, but also very varied, and sometimes it’s difficult to find there useful information.

    PS: Thanks for adding back the date/time stamps ;)

  42. Raiveran Says:

    I REALLY despise this new feature. I loved 43things for the tool it was for me, my own private planning and accomplishment tool. I could choose how much I wanted to share my details with others, and I could volunteer to help *if I wanted to*. Now, there is no choice. Too much detail is _required_, not optional. I feel like I’m completing a mandatory work form and being forced to offer “help” or information to others, whether I wish to or not. This site is now no longer somewhere I can go to work on my self myself, and choose to come out and play with others if I wish. It is now a mandatory community aid project where potentially my most intimate goals and thoughts must be entered. This is a fail. Please give us the option to NOT have to fill in everything!

  43. Daniel Spils Says:

    Hi Raiveran -

    Thanks for the feedback. There’s a “skip this” link in the upper right hand corner of the How I Did It form. Click that link and you can skip the whole form.

  44. ume Says:

    It’s the positioning of this feature I’m not so keen on… I have just gone and deleted all of my ‘How I did it’ entries because I find it annoying that you have to scroll down to see more recent entries. Is it possible to have this feature positioned elsewhere on the page? I will be avoiding entering any information under this heading. The way things stand I’d prefer to just write a final entry and tick it off as done afterwards, rather than writing about ‘how I did it’.

  45. Madam Ish Says:

    As ume says above, I’ve deleted my “how I did it” entries and won’t make more, because I don’t like how intrusive they are. I think it would be better if there was a link beside the goal to “How others did it” that you could click if you wanted to. Also, when I did use the “how I did it” feature, I found it irksome that some of the fields forced me to go to a certain length, and wouldn’t save until I’d filled in a min number of characters. I ended up jsut filling the field with X’s to get past this. If it’s my story, I should be able to record as much or as little as I see fit - it’s not like it’s an English assignment! While some goals may require lots of reflective comments on how they were accomplished, others might be explained very simply!

    I think it’s good to be aware that people have different ways they like to use 43T, and to give them options to use features, or to decide where features appear, etc. would be a good way to go.

    Thanks so much for all the work you guys go to, to maintain this site! There have been some excellent improvements since I first started using 43T, and overall, I think you do a great job!

  46. Daniel Spils Says:

    Ume & Madam Ish — I’d suggest clicking the “skip this” link at the top of the How I Did It form. If it’s not appropriate for your use, just skip it and write a standard entry. You can get to the standard entry form from the goal page (”write an entry about this” link) or click on the tooltip at the end of the goal name on your pofile page and select “add entry”. Have fun!

  47. urevi Says:

    Just joined. It looks very interesting!

  48. firebird2110 Says:

    Late to the party since I hadn’t visited for a while but I really don’t like the How I Did It stories at all and would dearly like the option to turn them off or at the very least move them to the bottom of the page.

  49. Heather Says:

    I’m with firevird2110. I would like an option to have them hidden. I don’t like them at all either.

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