Mobile Monday: iPad iOS 5 User Guide

141 Pages??

On New Year’s Eve 2011, I had lots of free time, so I finally upgraded to iOS 5. It was a seamless and easy process for me while we watched a rerun of Jurassic Park #2. The entire process lasted about 45 minutes and was 99% perfect.

On January 1, 2012, while nursing a very sore throat, I downloaded the iPad User Guide for iOS 5. When it opened in iBooks, “1 of 141 pages” flashed across my eyes! (Well, maybe “flashed” isn’t the best word to use re: Apple devices!)

“What??” I said to myself.

In the deep, dark past, I worked as a technical writer, so I love and appreciate well-written manuals. But, for an intuitive device like the iPad, 141 pages seemed excessive to me at first glance. So, here’s my tour.

This Guide Is Great for Beginners.

I’ve had an iPad since early May 2010 (Gen 1), so many of the sections covered features I use frequently. For someone brand new to the iPad, these 141 pages will get them up to speed easily and quickly. For someone similar to me, the Guide quickly brings readers up to speed on iOS 5.

This Guide Introduced Me to iCloud.

This guide provides a good overview of I wanted, and needed, to know about iOS 5, iTunes, and iCloud. The Apple site and some forums will fill in the “dirty details” to answer some questions I still have. The Guide created more questions in my mind than provided answers.

What Else?

I also learned some fun things that were new to me, such as:

  • Features of the iPad 2 (I plan to buy the iPad 3)
  • Split keyboard (using it now as I type this phrase; not sure I like it)
  • Reader (feature in Safari I will use)
  • Web clips (Safari feature I’ll rarely use)

And many other features too numerous to mention in this post. Let’s just say I really love my iPad and many new iOS 5 features, such as Notifications. I’m still not sure about Reminders. My jury is still out on that one, but I do plan to give if a fair trial.

Conclusion

So, I guess I jumped to (negative) conclusions regarding the User Guide for a fairly intuitive, touch-screen device that even three-year-olds can use out of the box. Those 141 pages are helpful to iPad users of all levels. I stand corrected. And, I love the layout of the iPad User Guide.

But, I’m biased, as I came very close to having worked at Apple as a Technical Writer. 🙂

Mobile Monday is my new, “regular”, blog post in 2012. Mobile Monday will chronicle my adventures in mobile learning design and development as we all progress through the year.

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Review: mLearning Studio by Rapid Intake

Rapid Intake has come out with a rapid development tool for creating mobile learning that is SCORM compliant, and the HTML5 compatible courseware output will run on both Apple iOS and Android OS mobile devices (no version for BlackBerry yet).

Click this link to learn more from Rapid Intake’s mLearning Studio page.

I Test Drove the Demo

With my iPad in hand, I decided to take their demo for a spin. As an attendee at The e-Learning Guild’s mLearnCon in June 2010 (San Diego, CA), I sat in on a few sessions on HTML5 and “HTML5 vs. Adobe Flash”. The excitement buzzed around the fact that, yes, HTML5 is an infant, but it is quickly going to learn to crawl, walk, run, and then compete in the Olympics of mobile learning development. Some pretty big names with huge wallets are funding the HTML5 Working Group, and those big names are investing heavily in the future success of HTML5.

Before you read my review, please know that although I confess that I am a MacGrrrl and a bit of an Apple FanGrrrl, I can do basic interactions in native Adobe Flash. I am an OS agnostic, and I might end up getting an HTC Droid smartphone instead of the Verizon iPhone… maybe.

For mobile devices, I do prefer tablets over smartphones due to the larger screen size. However, some learners, such as field technicians and sales representatives, will use iPhones or Android smartphones over tablets because the device fits easily in their hands (pockets and purses).

That said, I was happy to see the invitation on Twitter to review an m-learning development tool that uses HTML5 to output to any mobile OS device, especially for tablets!

Caveat: This is Rapid Intake’s early, early release, and I’m sure their development team has a ton of upgrades already on a long list. However, I’m going to provide an honest assessment of what I saw tonight on my iPad.

My first screen grab with comment:

Sample Content Screen | Intro - Rapid Intake

Nice interface for the iPad. Menu on the left. Gesture sensitive content screen on the right (Landscape, my preference). But, the Swipe gesture wasn’t consistent. I ended up using the Next arrow in the lower right corner.

I did feel disappointment that the Swipe gesture didn’t always swipe. User error? I don’t think so, I’ve had my iPad since early May 2010, and I’ve got Gestures down.

Dirty iPad screen? Umm… maybe. I think the mLearning Studio App just needs to get a few bugs out.

My second screen shot:

#2 screen shot of Rapid Intake

At first, I felt disappointed. After using Articulate Studio (and PPT 2007) and Adobe Captivate to develop elearning, this mLearning Studio screen made me think of the early days of ToolBook Instructor and linear e-learning. I really, really hope Rapid Intake is working on some more interactive and engaging templates.

I caught myself and halted my critical gene. As a first-generation HTML5 rapid e-learning development tool, sure, the initial templates will be basic. Heck Rapid Intake is having to work with what HTML5 can do… today, February 2011. Sure, this screen reminded me of some ToolBook Instructor courses I developed some years ago: Text on the Left, Image on the Right. Click… Next! But, I set that aside and thought about what this new App is doing… on my iPad. I think it’s pretty darn cool… for a start. However, honestly, with Lectora as a competitor in the HTML5 mobile learning market with Lectora Inspire, and Adobe making HTML5 tools, Rapid Intake will have some pretty big shoes to fill in terms of engaging and interactive course templates. (We who are Articulate FanGrrrls and FanGuyzzz are waiting PATIENTLY for our next upgrade for an iPad-compatible tool…hint, hint. However, today, @GetAdam tweeted the need for a Web App tester…. please, please, hoping, hoping!)

My third screen shot:

#3 screen shot of Rapid Intake

Again, a static template, but this time the image is on the left and the content is on the right. The WARNING message at the bottom is not interactive; it’s static content.

From this screen, I see some variation in the mLearning Studio template. I’d like to know if the Warning message at the bottom is an image file in its entirety (exclamation mark plus text), or is it an area in the template where I can insert and image file and enter content into a text field. It would be fun to see behind the screen. After viewing the demo, I did add my name to Rapid Intake’s email list. (And, to make things clear to the FTC, I have no business nor personal relationships with anyone at Rapid Intake, and I receive no benefits from them, nor do I expect to.)

My fourth screen shot:

#4 screen shot of Rapid Intake

For the “8 Steps to Awesome Service”, this is Step #1 – Answer the Phone.

Again, this screen in their demo is quite plain and linear. What I’d like to see is a template that will allow me to insert an iOS-compatible video, for example. And, mLearning Studio does have a video template page. If I were using this template page, I’d like to insert an image file or two to build visual scenarios. Or, I’d use the Quiz template pages to challenge the learners on the 8 Steps instead of a text dump. But, that’s an instructional design decision and not a comment on the HTML5 functions of mLearning Studio.

My fifth screen grab (Quiz screen):

#5 screen shot of Rapid Intake

This is a basic T/F quiz template screen. mLearning Studio also offers a multiple choice template.

The simple demo provided samples of one T/F question and two M/Cs (multiple choice). Will mLearning Studio also have templates for M/R or multiple response questions? Can I add images or iOS-compatible video to this page?

It will be interesting to see what other quiz templates are available. And, again, I’m sure the mLearning Studio team has a long list of enhancements in mind.

My sixth you-know-what:

#6 screen shot of Rapid Intake

The feedback template page is adecuate, but I’d like to learn more about what I can do with it other than enter text.

I liked seeing the feedback box appear as an overlap in Landscape mode on my iPad (my only testing environment for this review).

From a design and development viewpoint, can I change the color from gray to another color? Can I import image files or a video file to reinforce the intrinsic feedback?

I do understand that we’re working with HTML5 today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring in terms of new development options… especially for the iPad specifically.

My seventh screen shot:

#7 screen shot of Rapid Intake

Nice Quiz Results page. And, it’s nice to think of how happy the SCORM-compliant LMS will be. Not too mention the customer service managers. 😉

When I saw this page, I began to think of the possibilities of LMS reporting and tracking from mobile devices! When I felt my excitement rise inside of me, I realized I need to go outside and get a life… enjoy smelling flowers and petting puppy dogs in the park.

Seriously, as an attendee of a mobile learning conference in 2010, I am so excited about mobile learning, I just can’t tell ya!

My final screen grab:

mLearning Studio | Product Page - Rapid Intake

I found it funny that on my iPad, I couldn’t view the demo vid of mLearning Studio because it’s a Flash video (see gray text on the right side). They could have used Articulate’s Screenr to create an HTML5-compatible MP4 vid file. 🙂

So, I’m cheering on Rapid Intake and it’s mLearning Studio HTML5-compatible development tool. This was a nice first look, and there’s lots of room for wonderful growth.

(As an independent consultant, I need various tools in my tool box. So, I cheer on just about any tool maker because my clients typically select and use only one or two tools. What they use, I use.)

Thank you, Rapid Intake, for your first steps with an HTML5-compatible rapid mlearning tool (for the iPad!) for mobile devices. As a consultant, I do look forward to your future success.

(And, as a disclaimer as a consultant, I am happy to review anyone’s new tools, without remuneration to keep the FTC happy, of course.)

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My New iPad for Mobile Learning and Beyond!

Jenise Cook and Apple iPadThis month, I broke down and bought an iPad from Apple Inc. I had registered to attend The e-Learning Guild’s first annual conference on mobile learning, mLearnCon, to be held June 14-17 of this year in gorgeous San Diego, California.

My cell phone isn’t a smart phone (next purchase in 2011), so I walked into my local Apple store to buy a WiFi iPod Touch. How could I attend a mobile learning conference without a mobile device in my hands? (So, I reasoned.)

As I began to play with its features, my e-learning design and development brain just couldn’t wrap itself around the iPod Touch’s very small screen. (That will change as I learn to design for small mobile devices.) Plus, most every thing was displayed in Portrait orientation and not Landscape. Against my better fiscal judgement, I walked over to the crowded iPad table when a person finally walked away and left an opening.

I picked up an iPad.

It was love at first swipe!

Yea, gang, I broke down and bought an iPad, even though I tweeted on Twitter that I would wait until 3rd Gen because I wanted the camera for Web conferencing capabilities. That’s why you see the Comic Book effect applied to the photo above. I’m still cracking up at myself.

(I’m planning to get a smart phone in 2011, when my Verizon contract is up for renewal. By that time, I’ll have even more options to choose from than today, so I’m excited. I am an Apple Fangrrl, but one with an open mind and a love for all tools. So, an Android smart phone could be in my future!)

How I Use My iPad

Here’s a list of how I’m using my 32GB Wifi-only iPad so far:

  1. e-Learning Demos in Videos: I used Screenr to record mini videos of my e-learning samples. Now, if I’m at a F2F networking event, I can show people my samples quickly and easily if I don’t have my MacBookPro with me. And, the iPad’s screen resolution is very sharp; amazing, actually.
  2. Voice Over Demo Reels in iPod: Similar to #1, I uploaded several voice over audio files via iTunes into iPod on my iPad. The iPad’s speakers have an impressive sound quality, and I look forward to using iPad to demo my reels. (My demo reels are also on the WWW at: jenisecook.voice123.com )
  3. Twitter: I sit my iPad next to my MacBookPro laptop to monitor Twitter while I work. This “second screen/monitor/device” enhances my social networking for my business a lot. In fact, it increases my productivity because Twitter is now off my main computer and on a second device with a 9.5-inch screen, and I can monitor my Twitter feed without switching away from work on my primary computer. (My Twitter account: @jenisecook )
  4. e-Mail: Second in importance to Twitter, as an independent consultant it’s important for me to check for new e-mail messages in a timely manner. I can now do this with the iPad, and the larger screen and intuitive virtual keyboard make reading and writing messages much easier than on a smaller device. I’m training myself to use all fingers to type, and it’s working!
  5. Emergency Preparedness: I completed my city’s CEPA program, Community Emergency Preparedness Academy, and I’ve downloaded several apps (mostly free, one only $5.00) to help me monitor news when The Big One (earthquake) rocks California, and to communicate via SMS as we saw people do after the Haiti and Chile disasters. The iPad’s battery life is extremely impressive! It does last all day, and if I use it only for SMS after a disaster, I bet it will last almost two days. I’m very grateful for that feature above all others.
  6. There’s an App for that: Of course, apps. I’ve downloaded several free apps, plus many Project Gutenburg ebooks that line the shelves of my iBook Library.

In summary, I love my iPad. It’s a mobile device that has features and a screen size suited for my current needs. As my iPad and I get to know each other better, I’ll share more in future blog posts.

I’m looking forward to taking my iPad to mLearnCon in a few weeks. I’m sure the mobile learning experts that I’ll meet there will open my eyes to a new realm of possibilities… on any mobile device.

I feel grateful!

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