Creating App Guides on iPad

As part of developing resources for the Music/Mobile Tech project, we have been creating basic app guides: annotated screenshots of apps that demonstrate the core functionality of an app to students, staff and others. These guides allow us to give less time to skills training and more time to musical learning. They also allow students to learn independently, not relying on staff to demonstrate how to use an app before they can move on.

Here's a run down of how we created our guides so that you can make more of your own.

Step 1: Screenshots

Take screenshots of your app by pressing the home button and sleep/wake button simultaneously.

Step 2: Annotate your screenshots

This (yes, that is the name of the app!) is a great app for quickly adding annotations to screenshots. It's simple and easy to use. Some might say its functionality is too limited, but personally, that's a feature to me. The results look great and, best of all, it's free.

Step 3: Create a cover page

I've been using Keynote for this, but equally you could use any graphics app. It's just good to have an easy to read cover page for when you want to find the guides later on. I export my cover page as a PDF and send it to PDF Expert for later.

Step 4: Create your PDF

You could do this in Keynote, or Pages, or any other app that lets you import images and create PDFs, but I have decided to use a combination of Workflow and PDF Expert. I created a workflow (which you can find in their gallery) to let me select images, create a PDF and open in PDF Expert. With both my cover page and my images as PDFs in PDF Expert, I can merge them in to one document, change the order of the images if needed, and get it ready to share.

Step 5: Share

We put our PDF guides in to iBooks and leave the iBooks app in the dock on the home screen. From there the guides are accessible to staff and students at any time.

You can download the our App Guides from our resources page. If you have been using any of our guides, make any of your own guides, or have any ideas for how this could work better, we’d love to hear from you on Twitter: @musictechsouth