5th July 2022

Creating Great Onsite Experiences

The last few decades of digital interpretation have been an exciting time. Visitor attractions and museums have learned a great deal about what audiences enjoy in a digital experience and how they best absorb interpretive content.

Looking back over our experience of making digital content in the last few decades, ATS has taken the chance to stop and reflect on what the hallmarks of a great handheld experience are. Here are our top tips for embedding audio and/or multimedia in your site.

  • Understand your visitors – watch them, listen to them, chat with them, evaluate and test ideas in order that they remain at the front of your planning
  • Ground any digital interpretation in the existing experience – by reviewing your site in a holistic way from your visitors’ perspective, you’ll be able to understand where digital can best fit in with what’s there already.
  • Spend time considering handheld digital interpretation format – either a narrative structure (where visitors move through the site in a set order) or random access (where they choose their own itinerary) or even a hybrid of the two where the guide suggests a route, but leaves some browsing options open to the visitor. (Though we don’t use words like ‘forced’ or ‘random’ with visitors.)
  • Discuss the tone and style of your guide – maybe your content will have the feel of a radio documentary or perhaps it’ll be more conversational. A character (real or imaginary, filmed of animated) could lead the guide, or you might opt for a more neutral narrator. That’s not to say a voice-over can’t be local – dialect and accent help to give your guide a sense of place.
  • Let visitors know what to do with their bodies when using a handheld device – suggest where they might stand to get the best view, where’s out of the way, where to look. Clear and concise instructions are important.
  • Don’t worry about screen time – like you, we don’t want visitors spending all their time at your site looking at their devices. Our goal is for visitors to engage with your site, not to try and keep their attention on the device, so we regularly remind visitors to look up and take it what’s around them. There are times when digital really needs to step back and let the site do the work.
  • Keep an open mind about creativity and flair. Visitors appreciate when you surprise and delight them. Take them beyond what they might expect and give them an experience to remember. There’s much more to a digital handheld guide than imparting information.

“Quality and creativity of content has never been more important. People are used to very high standards of production through their interactions with social media, online gaming and TV, especially younger audiences. We fill our multimedia guides that encourages visitors to look and also to think about what they are seeing.”
Anne Fletcher, ATS Director of Interpretation


All of these, and more, form the basis of our agendas for start-up meetings at visitor attraction sites. We like to present various options to clients and discuss them in a workshop format. It’s a chance for you to make sure that the digital product we end up creating for you is as relevant to your site as possible.


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