The church building at Church by the Bridge is under-going some major renovations, both inside and out. In 6 weeks time (fingers crossed), we’ll launch a revitalised building, prepared to welcome thousands more guests and to introduce them to the Saviour of the world.
As we’ve thought about how best to use the building, we’ve decided to introduce a couple of iPads in the new welcome area. How will the iPads be used?
- To complete a response slip with their details.
- To sign-up for the Belonging course.
- To sign-up for Christianity Explored.
- To sign-up for camps, events, etc.
To prepare for the launch of the renovated building, I’ve been thinking through how these kiosks will actually work. Here’s what I’ve discovered and prepared.
Step 1. Find a way to secure the iPad
You don’t want your iPad walking out the door in week 1, so you need a way to secure it. There are quite a few secure display cases for iPads (search Google for ‘iPad kiosk’ or ‘iPad display case’). I decided to purchase the security case from New PC Gadgets (partly because it’s similar to the style of the cases in Apple stores, and cheaper than other options). It looks like this:
Step 2. Create the content for the iPad
I want to start simple, so I created a form in Wufoo (my preferred form creation tool) that people can use to connect with us. It’s a modified version of our paper response slip. I then copied the link to the form, and opened it in Safari:
When the form is completed, the details will be sent via email to the church office (this requires an internet connection in the church building).
Step 3. Manage what the user can and can’t do
The problem with using Safari to show the form is that it displays the address bar, and makes it easy to access the address bar and browse Facebook! To counter this, I decided to use the free version of the Kiosk Pro App (thanks Cameron for the suggestion) to display this content.
Broadly speaking, the free version seems (so far) to be sufficient if you don’t have lots of iPads, and have an internet connection. This has a number of benefits over just using Safari, namely:
- The ability to disable the address bar and bottom navigation bar.
- The ability to disable touch gestures.
- The ability to restrict domains people can access.
- The ability to return to a certain page after a period of inactivity.
Here’s the settings in Kiosk Pro:
And here’s how the form looks when using this app:
The big downside of using an iPad is that Apple restricts apps from restricting access to the home button. This means the home button can’t be disabled, and people can exit the page. Therefore, it’s best to keep as few apps on the device as possible, and put a passcode app on these apps and the App Store.
For the moment, this is frustrating but unavoidable. Anthony tells me that iOS 6 will enable you to lock down the iPad to one app – let’s hope so!
There are other kiosk apps out there – Active Kiosk and PadLock to name a few, that will help you to customise what users can and can’t see/do. I also considered using the ‘Entries‘ app that streamlines Wufoo forms on the iPad, but couldn’t justify the $25.99 pricetag.
Step 4. Ensure the form returns to the form homepage once complete
Once one person completes the form, you want the form to return to the begin for the next person to use it. In Wufoo’s form settings, this is straightforward:
This is what I’ve mapped out so far – I’m yet to actually implement the solution to see how it works in practice, so I will report back in October with an update. If you’ve set up something similar in your church, I’ve love to hear from you and how you’ve got it working.