I thought my iPad would be just for me to use, until I discovered how well it could aid the discussion of ideas when working with someone one-on-one.
I knew about apps which will assist collaboration when people are distributed across offices and around the world, but I hadn’t heard anything about what the iPad could do for the work of a smaller group gathered together, or just two people.
One day, I was talking to someone across a cafe table about a project, and making notes on my iPad. I tilted the iPad towards him, so that the screen image rotated the right way up for him to read. And then he put his finger on the screen and started moving the items in my list of notes, to alter their priority.
He didn’t pause for a moment to think ‘how do I interact with this software’, he just got on with it. In all the time I used a laptop, that reaction never occurred. The iPad is different – more tactile, more inviting, less formidable.
I frequently use the iPad now when I’m talking about ideas with clients. I put something on the screen and let them change it. It’s amazing how quickly a discussion moves along when that shared visual element can be part of the conversation, and how the conclusions reached can be very clear.
I suppose it’s similar to what you could do on a whiteboard, but this is portable and you can use it anywhere. Plus, when you’ve finished the conversation, you can share the ideas you worked on easily via email or uploads to websites.
Here are the apps I use most for this.
iThoughtsHD for iPad
This is the best mind-mapping app on the iPad. There’s a version for Mac too. Since I started using it, lots of additional features have come along, and it’s very powerful. But it’s still totally intuitive to use.
This was the app I was using for my note-taking when I made the discovery I described at the start of this blog post.
Here’s the developer’s quick introduction to the app.
Find out more at ithoughts.co.uk.
Most people are more familiar with Microsoft’s PowerPoint than Apple’s presentation tool, Keynote. I much prefer using Keynote now on my Mac, after years of PowerPoint.
But I’m listing Keynote for the iPad here not as a presentation tool, but as a collaboration aid. It’s so easy to create additional slides with bullet points or simple diagrams and then drag them into a different order. I use it to collaborate in building meeting agendas, or project plans. It might not look like, or be used as, a polished presentation. Very often, the material gets transformed later into some other form.
As a quick way of structuring and ordering some information together with someone else, it’s really handy. Find the app in iTunes.
So that’s what I use. What do you use on your iPad to create and share ideas?