Don’t Design Your Own Technology Approach

Recently I was hired to take a look at a problem someone was having with their iPad app. It was crashing in a couple spots when connected to HDMI out. The app developer wanted the crash logs, but the owner of the app didn’t register the iPad with his own computer (even if he had, his computer wasn’t with him). So I brought my iPad out, reproduced the crashes, and emailed the crash logs. This was simple work for me, stemming from countless and continuing headaches for the owner. Why did he have this problem? Well, simply put, he’s an educator, not a technology professional. He accepted the suggestion of other people, also not technology professionals, to create an iPad app and connect a larger display to it, for use as an interactive display in a museum.

All things considered, the App is good (I don’t know for sure if the crash problem was resolved), but I’m certain the overall cost for this particular solution to a large screen kiosk was way more than it needed to be, and in my opinion, not the best application of tech. (For several reasons I don’t need to list.)

All the troubles the owner is having with the iPad, the outside developers, the screen, etc., could have simply been solved by having a broad technology knowledge-base on his side. Hire a pro. The biggest mistakes I see in technology, which create the biggest headaches, is when key decisions are made without the help of an overall planner. Technology professionals weren’t called until the decision of creating an iPad app was already made. Then the pro’s called were iPad app developers. All they were asked was: “Can you make an iPad app tell this story?” Of course the answer is yes.

What should have been done? Ask a general technology professional first: “I’d like an interactive display installed here in this space to tell this story, and for it to be available to others. What are my options?” One hour with a general technologist and the owners will be able to make a better informed decision on the route to take. They will likely even save some money.