Kikstart is a learning app for anyone who is brand new to the iPad and wants to get to know it better, and for those who have been using the iPad for some time but would like to learn to use it more effectively and get more out of it. It’s published by BCS, the UK’s Chartered Institute for IT – and is the first app I’ve seen that offers an assessment exam and an official certificate to show a recognized standard of competence in using the iPad.
There are a number of apps and books that set out to help new iPad users learn as this one does. I always find these apps interesting – partly because I want to see if I can learn any new tricks and more so because I have a number of friends and family members who are newer iPad users and I like keeping track of good resources to share with them.
So I’ve spent a good amount of time going through Kikstart from start to finish to see how it stacks up as a tool for getting started with and getting the best out of the iPad.
— The Getting Started video when you first open the app is very nicely done. It’s clever and fun and has some great animation – so it feels like a very relaxing way to learn right off the bat.
— That good first impression of Kikstarter is immediately reinforced by the clean, colorful design of its tutorial pages. The balance of text and images on each page is great, the text is at a very comfortable size for reading, and the pages are attractive enough to make it a pleasure to get through the lessons. Navigation throughout the app’s well designed and never cluttered pages is clear and easy.
— The app is full of interactive elements on its pages that help make information even more clear. These range from highlighted areas that can be tapped for more information to places where you can actually practice on the page and short video clips that demonstrate exactly how to do something. This should lead to higher retention levels.
— The app offers some good basic security guidance in various places – on everything from not leaving it unattended when traveling to highlighting that public WiFi networks are not secure.
— There’s a good range of topics covered. Here’s the short outline by chapter:
- Chapter 1: Guidelines and Good Practice
- Chapter 2: Getting to Know the iPad
- Chapter 3: Interacting with the iPad
- Chapter 4 – Multitasking with Apps
- Chapter 5: iPad Settings
- Chapter 6: Managing Your iPad Using iTunes
- Chapter 7: Managing Apps
- Chapter 8: Using Apps
- Chapter 9: Internet
- Chapter 10: Mail
— The app remembers your place when you switch away and back to it while it’s one of the more recently opened apps. Even when it doesn’t but it’s easy to navigate back anyway. When you go to the training tab section it offers a page showing which chapters have already been completed and which are left to do, and drills down to sub-sections in this view.
— I’ve taken the exam and while it’s very easy for a power user of the iPad, it’s a solid, quality test for beginner to intermediate level users.
— Some of the screenshots in the app could do with being a bit better quality.
— In the chapter on multitasking the app states incorrectly that apps run in the background, which is not allowed in iOS with only some narrow, well-defined exceptions.
— Although the app has a banner amongst its early pages saying that it now covers iOS 6, its coverage of the latest iOS version is a bit sparse. There’s very little reference at all to iCloud or any of the ‘PC-Free’ features of the iPad. Just as one example, the section on backup and sync only deals with sync and backup when connected to iTunes on a PC, with no mention of iCloud and wireless methods.
Kikstarter is a great app for anyone looking to get started with the iPad or learn a few useful tips and tricks and take their knowledge up a level. I’ve used a number of how-to iPad apps and books and this is definitely one of the best around. It’s certainly one that I’ll be recommending to all my friends who are novice iPad users.
Here’s an App Store link for Kikstarter; it’s priced at $6.99.