The iPad and Non-Mac Users
When I first unpacked the Library’s iPad box last week, there was but one small card enclosed with practically no instructions on it. I first plugged the device into my computer via the USB cord. At that point, a graphic directed me to download iTunes. Since I had used several iPods and owned an iPhone, I had no problem at all with these directions. Presto, my iPad software was installed and I was ready to go. I knew how to use the many windows in the Safari browser since I’m a Mac user at home, and going to the Apps Store was the same as with the iPhone. It was then that my fellow staff members starting asking how I knew what to do. To them, it simply wasn’t intuitive. Don’t get me wrong, these are tech-saavy folks who know their way around computers as well or better than I do, but they are also Windows users. I had to ask myself if I would do any better with the iPad if I hadn’t used other Apple devices regularly. Probably not!
For librarians who have been testing e-readers for the past two weeks, the first inclination is to plug your device into your computer and transfer our OverDrive e-books using some sort of software installed on your desktop. Then, along comes the iPad and it is totally different. Instead of working off a desktop or laptop, you use the iPad to go directly to the Apps Store and download the OverDrive App on the iPad. From there you use the app to find your library site to checkout and download your e-books directly on your device. No computer is needed in this process. So how do librarians (or our patrons, for that matter) figure this all out without a lot of directions? Well, let’s see…. there are instructions online at the OverDrive site but if you were busy looking at the iPad, is that the first place you’d look? As a fellow staff member, I ended up guiding my friends through this maze, but even they asked me to have some sort of formal training. This certainly applies to our patrons as well. I’ve already done some troubleshooting via email for a confused user who kept looking for some way to transfer a book from her desktop to her iPad. We have a program scheduled in January, but in the meantime I’m planning on creating instructions with screen shots to put right on our Library’s web site. If we, as information professionals, have questions regarding the use of the iPad with OverDrive books, then how can we expect our patrons to move seamlessly through the process. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of documentation is needed on the many brands of e-reading devices, the sooner the better!