Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Mobile Apps for Museums and Visitor Spaces

There are tons of ways to use mobile apps or tablets or other technologies in museums these days. What are these different ways? What are their pros, cons, and unknowns? Which one is right for you?
Those are the questions this blog will answer.

First, what can the mobile app do?

  • Mobile apps can act as simply mobile versions of your website -- introductory information about your space, directions, contact info, events/calendar, and social media links.
  • Mobile apps can be tour guides of your space. They would replace handheld audio-wands completely (and be cheaper and easier to maintain). They could also supplement docents (if you have staffing/volunteer constraints) -- and although nothing can be as good as a real person, the app can provide different benefits, such as flexibility in what the visitor wants to listen to, a consistent story for each visitor, etc.
  • Mobile apps can be a game for your site -- children or adults can play a scavenger hunt, trivia game, or another type of game that gets them involved in your site.
  • Navigation help - Mobile apps have a full map of the area and a guided tour with stop numbers in them to properly direct the traffic. It helps in controlling the crowd and it also ensures that no one misses important stops.
  • Multiple languages - Mobile apps are offered in several languages to help foreign tourists to listen to the story in their own language.

Second, how do visitors access this app?

  • Visitors can either download a mobile app onto their own phones/tablets
  • You can offer a phone/tablet to visitors in order for them to view a mobile app
  • Both! You can offer a downloadable app to visitors who want to use their own devices or offer devices to those who don’t want to
What kinds of tours can I give on an app?

  • Museum or historic house tour
  • The interactive science center, aquarium, or zoo tour
  • Walking tour of town or city
  • A biking tour of town or city
  • Self-driving tour of town or city
  • Trolley, bus, or hop on/hop off tour of town or city
  • Boat, river, cruise, or duck tour
  • Garden, park, or hiking trail tour

How does mapping / GPS work?

* Note that this does not require wifi, cell signal, or data to work!

  • Static tour -- visitors can view just a static floor-map. This is a good fit inside a building.
  • iBeacon tour -- app recognizes when a visitor approaches an object and performs a predefined action. This is a good fit inside a building.
  • GPS tour -- app tracks visitor as they move and performs an action when the visitor approaches certain areas. This is a good fit when distances are far apart.

Author: Manoj Ganguli is the General Manager at Action Data Systems, developer of Action tour apps on smartphones. Action Data Systems is headquartered in Barrington, Rhode Island with a regional office in Mumbai India. Action Data Systems helps museums, attractions and bus tour operators to create Apple and Android tour guide apps to increase tourist engagement, improve ratings & reviews and generate new revenue from mobile e - commerce. For more information, please visit http://www.actiontourguide.com email: manoj@actiontourguide.com

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