My iPad2 is less than a week old and I am still learning the ropes. Today, for the first time, I attempted to connect it to my computer in order to check for updates. I also figured now was the time to get the playlist for the radio show on there so I could manage our theme and content on the iPad before going down to the studio.

I am not an iTunes user, I use Windows Media player because iTunes has always taken too long to open and I find it difficult to navigate. I still find this to be the case.

So I connect the iPad and–slowly–iTunes opens with a dialog box saying something like “version 4.3.3 is ready for download and install to your iPad, what do you want to do? [Cancel/Download and Update/Download Only].”

I choose Download and Update.

Then it says something like: “You have installed new apps since the last update, you should back up the apps first. Are you sure you want to continue? [Continue/Cancel].”

Okay, that sounds like a great idea. How? I chose “cancel” and started hunting around. I found nothing and gave up. One of my rules is, If the solution to the problem isn’t obvious, walk away and come back later.” Sometimes it will pop out at you if you come back with a refreshed mind. This works in coding, troubleshooting, and figuring out where your child put your wrench during a home improvement project.

I ended up coming back several times to attempt to find the following answers:

  1. How do I sync the purchased items so that they are backed up?
  2. How do I resume the download and update?

This could have all been avoided if that second dialog box would have given me the third option to “Sync Purchases and Continue Update” instead of requiring me to cancel and poke around to find what I need. Or, at least provide a linkable help item to show a first time user how.

I finally set aside time to read through the online manual and quickly found the answer after I chose iPad under Devices from the side menu. From then on it was easy and straight forward.

Designers: If you tell your user to do something that requires going to another screen or menu, please provide them an option to do it quickly without hunting around or at least provide on screen help, especially if they are newbies. A simple, “You can manage your iPad updates from the Devices side menu,” would have been helpful.

Sounds like I should, but how?

Yes, I'll take an update.

About Chad Leigh Kluck

I enjoy technology development and management by following new trends, change and disruption, and security. I have a Master of Science in Software Engineering and my hobbies include railroads, history, do-it-yourself projects, writing, and ham radio (K0RRX). More...

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