A mobile tour guide app is a smart way to keep visitors engaged. There are so many use cases for self-guided content, from universities to museums to special-interest tours.
Whether walking or driving, visitors get a deeper experience when there is audio content to consume. Here’s how to easily add quality audio tracks to your mobile guide app.
Why audio content is important for tour guide apps
When someone is touring a site or city, they already have a few senses engaged: sight, smell, and possibly touch. Audio content allows you to trigger a fourth sense, and bring an even deeper experience. For example, if a visitor is touring a historic house, a story about who lived there will help them feel immersed. Someone touring a college campus will feel more knowledge, excited, and connected than they would if they were just reading a pamphlet.
How to create quality audio content for your app
Of course, the visitor experience depends on the quality of your audio content. Here’s how to produce something that will satisfy visitors.
1. Prioritize which site stops need audio
First, you’ll need to triage. Depending on the purpose of your app, you might not have the time or resources to make audio content for every stop. If you’re creating an app for an art exhibit, you might create a track for an introduction to the exhibit, a biography, and for the artist’s most popular works. For things that didn’t make the cut, you can create pages with text and images, so you can still avoid clunky placards.
2. Research interesting facts and details
Next, you’ll want to research what to say. Create a document with one section for every audio track. Write notes about what to include, and do extra research to find out historical facts, funny stories, or whatever else will appeal to your target audience.
Try to avoid adding information that might change. Put those in text, so you can easily edit them.
3. Write and edit your scripts
After you’ve gathered all of the details you need for each track, it’s time to write your script out. Hone in on the drafts by reading them out loud. You can even record them on your phone and computer, and listen back. Also, if you’re working as a team, make sure you get the scripts approved by all stakeholders before recording to prevent do-overs.
4. Record your voice
Next, it’s time to hit the record button.
Use your smartphone: Every smartphone has a recording feature. This is the easiest way to quickly record your voice. Make sure that there are no ambient noises because the microphone will pick them up. Many phones record as MP4 files so you will have to upload them to your computer and convert to MP3 files. See step 7 for more information.
Use a microphone on your computer: You can buy a good quality microphone for around $30-80. The Snowball Ice microphone is popular amongst podcasters and audio content creators. Plug it in and record your voice using Windows Media Player or any of the software programs listed below for mixing your audio tracks.
5. Edit and trim audio files as needed
Even if you try your best to record tracks in one go, you will likely still need to trim the ends of each file. You might also need to stitch segments together, if you took breaks between recording. You can use a free audio editor such as Ocenaudio or Audacity.
6. Consider adding subtle sound effects
Think about your target audience and the experience you want to create. Does it make sense to add any audio effects? Maybe your museum has a documentary that you’re licensed to use, and you can include a snippet of the subject talking. Or maybe you can include a small clip of a musician’s music. You can also source stock audio like chimes or applause to provide a more immersive experience. Of course, less is more, so practice discernment.
7. Convert your audio if needed
You will need to convert your audio files to MP3 format before uploading them to your app builder. There are lots of free internet software programs that allow you to easily convert batches of audio files. Our favorite is Switch by NCH with an easy interface and ability to convert to/from over 40 audio formats including wav, mp3, wma, m4a, ogg, avi, mid, flac, mov, amr, aac, au, aif, raw, dvf, vox, cda, gsm, dss, wmv and lots more. You can also use Online Convert, which is a free tool.
When converting your audio files for use on a smartphone app, always render to a low bitrate possible without sacrificing quality so that the files will take up less space. Open up a file yourself to test the sound quality so you can balance file size with quality.
8. Add the audio content to your app
Next, it’s time to add the content to your app. Create a page for each feature, site, or work of art that you want to call out to visitors. Add written content and audio content. You can use advanced features like geo-targeting, bluetooth beacons, and directional triggers to create a true tour experience. For example, when someone walks within 3 meters of a statue, a notification could pop up asking if they want to play the content. Or, if you’re making an app for use when driving, you can autoplay content as drivers head through geo-fences in the designated direction you’ve chosen. While all of this sounds technical, it’s really easy to do inside of the STQRY Builder with no coding required.
Build a tour guide app with STQRY
Our simple app builder allows you to launch engaging, beautiful tour guide apps in just a few weeks. The tech setup is fast. What’s more time consuming is researching and sourcing the text, audio, and video content. Use the tips above to create quality audio content and learn more about building with STQRY.