Please play with our new friend Mac
March 11, 2014 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Please help me get staff at my PC-only workplace to *voluntarily* engage with our new desktop Mac during their breaks.

Ahead of an influx of Macs into our workplace (public library, ~100 employees), management has set up a nice desktop Mac in our staff break room with the hope that people (especially non-Mac users) will use it in some way. The new Macs we're getting won't replace our PCs, but they will be present in every department, and almost everyone will have to use one for certain tasks at some point. To that end, more extensive training will take place when the new machines arrive (in about a month), but until then I've been tasked with trying to get as many people as I can to do... something with the machine they've set up in our break room.

The idea is, we want people who have never used a Mac desktop/laptop to get over the potential psychological hump that we're getting machines that are difficult and terrifying to use (we've already got the two-button mouse covered). For my superiors, a simple task on the order of visiting a website, opening a program from the dock, or playing a simple game will suffice. We're assuming less-inhibited users will just use the Mac because it's there (it sits next to a PC that people use all the time on breaks for personal stuff).

The catch: I've been specifically directed not to *require* people to try it, nor to sit in the break room to encourage them to try. This is supposed to be entirely voluntary, something that people will try on their own, just because it seems fun/interesting. I can, however, put signs up, put links/prompts on the screen, promote the new machine via all-staff emails, etc. I also have a small budget from which to buy prizes to serve as incentives.

I have zero say over any of this, so I can't propose changing any of the parameters I've mentioned. It would benefit me personally, though, to be able to maximize the number of people who use the Mac (it would score me some points with the higher-ups). So what can I put up onscreen to lure the most non-Mac users? Is there a way I can track use without being in the room? What kind of promotion/support can I employ to pique interest and ensure follow-through?
posted by Rykey to Work & Money (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a little devious, and I don't know enough about networking to know if it is feasible, but can you slow down the Windows machine's Internet connection temporarily to make the Mac more appealing?
posted by Rock Steady at 4:33 PM on March 11, 2014

Why do you think your staff want to do work -- which learning to use a new OS is, especially since they know that management want them to do this -- on their breaks? If you want to train me to use a new OS for work, then pay me for it.

But given you want people to do this, what are they currently using the PC in the break room for? Is there ever a line for the PC? You need to make the Mac just as easy to do stuff on as the PC, for whatever stuff it is your staff do.
posted by jeather at 4:38 PM on March 11, 2014 [15 favorites]

Find thing x, somewhere on the mac. Something hard to find that you put there, not something googlable. everyone who submits a correct response is entered into a prize draw.
posted by Mistress at 4:46 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

What's the most popular Mac game? (I don't know, but I'm sure someone else does.) I think I'd want to monkey with Garage Band if I had the opportunity, but I doubt you want that one being played at the library :P Find some cool thing that ONLY exists on Macs and encourage that, perhaps?

Also, that scavenger hunt idea of Mistress's sounds like pure gold.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

How much of your personal resources do you have to devote to this?

Do a daily mini scavenger hunt that involves exploring programs and finding files.

Examples can include "Where is the file named ____ located?" "What is item 4 in the 3rd menu in application Z?" or "What colors are the 3 buttons at the top of every window and what do they do?"

People can write down their answers for scoring/a drawing, or you can just post new ones every day or every other day, and seeing the questions will get people to poke around on the machine just to see if they know the answers or at least think about the new computer and what it does.
posted by itesser at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2014

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

To clarify: the PC and Mac that sit in the break room are for personal use (email, web surfing, Facebook, whatever), and that's what people use them for. The new break room Mac isn't for training-- that will happen, on paid time, in our training rooms, on the new machines when they arrive. We're just trying to break the ice by promoting "fun time" with the Mac, especially for non-Mac folks. That's why we're neither requiring nor asking people directly to use it.
posted by Rykey at 5:18 PM on March 11, 2014

if you want them to use it personally, in a non-work manner, during their break times, without requiring them to try it?

a.) walk the walk. you have to do it as well. during your break, use the mac. if people ask you questions, answer them.
b.) put some games on it. yeah, i know. that's not the point of the thing. but sometimes people get bored during their breaks, and want to fart around and play games. find a good solitaire game, and a couple other popular app store games.

the scavenger hunt with the small prizes is good. but make them good prizes. bag of nice candies. small gift card to the itunes store. small gift card to amazon. small gift card to starbucks, or a local coffee/dessert place.
posted by koroshiya at 5:19 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Put a tray next to the computer labelled "This prize goes to the first person today to show Rykey that they've used the mac to:", then a post-it note:"visit a web-site!" (or whatever)

Put a new prize on display in the tray each day and swap out the post-it note with a new task.
When someone comes to find you to show you a web site (or whatever wins the prize), replace the prize with a post-it saying "Too slow! Someone already scored today's prize!"

A person can only claim a prize once, unless you have enough prizes to run it lots. Feel free to re-use tasks.
posted by anonymisc at 5:31 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Maybe have it display an instructional video that shows them how to access their email and perform other tasks that they'd use a PC for. Show people that it's very similar and show them how to actually do stuff that they'd supposedly use the Mac for.
posted by Solomon at 5:35 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I were on your staff, I'd appreciate it if you just leveled with me.

Tell me straight out that we're phasing in some macs, and that it would behoove me professionally to at least try and learn the increasingly small differences between Mavericks(?) and Windows 7 or 8. I wouldn't put games on it, I'd find alternatives to whatever they're using the Windows machine for. Chrome?

It isn't 1998 anymore, if my mom can use an ipad, your staff can learn 10.9. (or the OS I use, 10.6.8)
posted by Sphinx at 5:41 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yep, we're doing all that, Sphinx. We know the staff will learn everything just fine when the time comes. This is just the "soft rollout" before the actual training.
posted by Rykey at 5:50 PM on March 11, 2014

One other thing-- if you're going to do a bunch of tasks/challenges, it'd be helpful to have a "novice" level and a "veteran" level. You can browse for "hacks" and "missing manual" kind of stuff to give people who already know their way around a Mac opportunities to increase their familiarity and efficiency.
posted by itesser at 7:27 PM on March 11, 2014

One thing that scared PC users (when they had to use our Macs in the computer lab) was that there were various things mapped to the extra mouse "buttons"—like, if they touched the side of the mouse Dashboard or Expose would suddenly activate and and they users would be like "WTF?".

Make sure the mouse is set only for clicking and right-clicking.
posted by blueberry at 7:35 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

In the spirit of if you make it easy to use, they will use it:

1. Label the keyboard with the pictures of the symbols (for example, the option key symbol is ⌥, but you would never know that from looking at the keyboard). Put a sign with a few common keyboard shortcuts on it next to the computer -- I'm talking easy ones like cmd+c for copy (which is different from ctrl+c on a PC).
2. Make the dock easy to use by only putting programs on it that people would actually need in the break room. Whenever I get a new version of OS X, I'm always a bit overwhelmed by all the icons on the dock, half of which I don't really use.
3. Include a browser like Chrome or Firefox on the dock, so people unfamiliar with Safari will see something they know and start there. In fact, installing some cross-platform apps (Microsoft Office, etc) might be a good way for people to get used to the Mac UI while still using something familiar.
3a. Is there an old school Minesweeper game for Mac? Because I would play the crap out of that (esp since MS has redesigned the Windows version into some kind of horror).

I like the mini scavenger hunt idea as a way to track usage. Users can put a slip into a box with answers to some simple question of the day, and there can be a daily drawing for the prize.
posted by bluefly at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2014

Ah, here it is, Minesweeper Deluxe! Also, macsweeper.

(for extra deviousness, put Windows 8 on the PC, make it startup to the Start Screen, unpin the icon for the desktop, and don't install another browser besides IE).
posted by bluefly at 8:34 PM on March 11, 2014

Using Chrome browser, install several Chrome apps for games -- Minesweeper, as suggested by bluefly, a Solitaire game, etc. -- and whenever you're in the breakroom make sure you leave the computer open to the Chrome Apps page. Who can resist a quick hand of solitaire when you've made it that easy?
posted by katemonster at 9:11 PM on March 11, 2014

Yeah, I think the surefire way to get people to play with it on their breaks would be to put some games on it. The Humble Bundle, (where you name your own price for how much you want to pay) currently has PopCap games on sale --- for another day and a half anyway. Games like Bejeweled 3 and Plants vs. Zombies, which don't take a huge time investment and will save user scores are sure to get people monkeying with the new Mac.

The only thing you've got to watch out for is installing a game or an app that doesn't play nicely with 10.9 because if something that your users are familiar with runs worse or is glitchy or slower, it may sour them permanently towards the new Macs. Check the usual review sites to see what people are saying first.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:37 PM on March 11, 2014

if you don't already disable all social network sites on the PCs this will entice people to use the Mac.

Set up some sweet bookmarks on Safari or Firefox related to library stuff. The Smithsonian, wikipedia, Internet Public Libary, some online magazines etc.

Subscribe to some library related podcasts

Leave a copy of Pogues "The Missing Manual" for whatever version of Mac OS you have in the break room, or better yet get several copies for the staff.
posted by Gungho at 8:10 AM on March 12, 2014

Frankly, if you've got a PC and a Mac in the break room for personal use, I'd seriously consider taking the PC out and replacing it with a second Mac. It sounds like most of the personal uses are browser based anyway, so that's pretty easy.

And for the love of God, get two button mice on your Macs. One button mice are going to drive your PC users crazy. I speak from experience.
posted by cnc at 9:37 AM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tell them that time spent on the Mac in the break room doesn't count towards their break time. Or move it out of the break room into the main library and just say they can use it whenever they like, which would make it easier to split it out of break time probably.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:46 PM on March 12, 2014

I would pick games that exist on the Mac and then run an informal tournament and give out prizes for the highest scorers.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:30 PM on March 13, 2014

You could ask them to email you a Screenshot of their high score if you want to drag another activity or two into the mix.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:38 PM on March 13, 2014

Have you tried leaving Photobooth open on it? We added some iMacs for public use a while back, and most of the staff had never used one. When we had the iMacs in the back for setup, someone opened Photobooth just to see what it was; soon everyone started playing with it and cracking up. It really broke the ice and made the iMacs seem less scary.
posted by Librarienne at 5:11 AM on March 16, 2014

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