Does iOS Need an Interactive Tutorial?

Out of everybody that owns an iOS device, be it an iPhone or an iPad, how many do you think really knows how to use these capable devices to their fullest extent? Or even knows how to do much more than make a phone call and read email? I would bet less than half, and the figure is probably lower than that. Despite the simplicity provided by smart user interface design, most functions are not apparent to the majority of users. Shouldn’t these people have a practical way to learn about what they have been missing out on?

The easiest way for people to learn an interface is visually and there is simply not a better method that works for teaching a variety of subjects than to display everything step-by-step. An interactive tutorial would fit those criteria.

When a user boots into iOS for the first time, there could be a tutorial prompt that walks users through its capabilities and features by demonstrating on-screen as well as having them repeat. The introduction tutorial could just show users the basics, then there could be more accessible in the Settings menus. Better yet, a homescreen Tutorial app for easier access could be exceedingly useful for some.

Sure, Apple offers workshops in their retail stores and there are books on the subject, but the reach and popularity of such methods is extremely small. People simply do not want to commit time to travel to a store or read through a book. There is also a knowledgebase, but it is arguably comparable to a book and less people would attempt to read through it. Thus these benefit very few. To the contrary, putting effective tutorials on phones and tablets would be zero commitment as well as instantly beneficial.

If Apple wants a larger amount of its customer-base to be able to actually take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of features that Apple and app developers have created, then they would finally offer a tutorial that is offered similarly to the system I have outlined. While there is not enough time for this to show up in iOS 5 unless only a small amount of information is covered, it seems like a good fit for iOS 6. Though tutorials can be seen as contradicting to simplicity, a potential reason for Apple to second-guess such a feature, they are also a way to highlight and explain simplicity.

For every person that skips past the tutorial, there will be some that take notice so they can sharpen their knowledge of the devices they use daily. Since so many people know so little about a centric, complementary part of their lives, they should have a simple option to quickly master iOS.