May 2016

Location based triggering of content via a handheld guide is one of those things we’ve begun to take for granted, so we thought it was time we took a closer look at it once again.

It’s functionality that can add so much to an audio tour when part of a considered approach to the visitor experience. It allows people to simply place a guide around their neck and then forget all about it. They’re free to explore exhibitions and exhibits as they see fit, keeping their eyes on the things that they’ve come to see and not on the handheld device hanging on a lanyard around their neck.

We believe that our location-based triggering – both indoors and out – is some of the most accurate triggering out there in the tourism and heritage world. Outdoors, like most people we obviously use GPS, but thanks to our very own proprietary software we’re able to trigger the same piece of content within the same square meter time and time again. This proves invaluable at a site such as Culloden Battlefield in Scotland, where the visitor has to stay on the narrow footpath at all times as they explore the historic site. Because of the accuracy and stability of our triggering we know each visitor will hear the same content at the same spot every time.

For triggering indoors, our preferred method is by WiFi. Again, our proprietary software allows us to accurately map WiFi signal strengths within a room and deliver the right content to each visitor related to their location. As at King John’s Castle in Limerick, that content might be in the form of audio; it could be a change to the onscreen menu as they enter a new part of the exhibition; or it could be a notification asking if they would like to listen in to the movie currently being shown on the screen in front of them (in their own language, of course!).

Obviously, we’re big fans of location-based triggering, but there is one thing you need to consider. Firstly, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, it needs to be part of a considered visitor experience. As a site YOU may want to automatically trigger the content to save on things like interpretive panels, but is that the best approach for the visitor? Rather than creating a seamless experience, used inappropriately location-based triggering can be intrusive, frustrating and disrupting. It obviously depends on a site, but one way forward might be to automatically trigger an introductory piece as a visitor enters an exhibition or gallery, before handing control back to them and allow them to manually select content of interest as they explore a space in more detail.

What are your experiences of automatic triggering of content? Did it enhance the visitor experience or was it disruptive? Thought through we believe it can enhance any visitor experience when used correctly, but interested to know your thoughts.