Audio Tour Apps - What are Your Options?

Stephen Canis
September 30, 2017

If you're creating an audio tour for your organisation you've likely considering building a mobile app that visitors can download. Given the recent explosion of smartphones this is a natural consideration. However, there are some drawbacks to creating an iPhone or Android app and better alternatives are available!

Creating Modern Audio Tours

This article will cover the benefits and drawbacks of the three most common ways to create a modern audio guide:

  1. Create an Online tour that works on any phone or computer
  2. Developing an iPhone or Android mobile audio tour app
  3. Rent or buy specialised audio guide equipment that visitors can pick up on their visit

1. Creating an Online Tour Guide

Generally the easiest and fastest way of creating an audio tour is using an online services to create an online tour. The online tour can then be accessed by any phone or computer by simply visiting the website that contains the tour. Simply provide the link to visitors and they can take the tour. This is generally easier for visitors than downloading an app.

How Does it Work?

Setting up an online tour using a free service like YourAudioTour is a simple process:

  1. Sign up for a free account
  2. Name your tour, add a description and a cover image
  3. Create stops by adding photos and a description
  4. Audio will be generated automatically using stop description (or you can upload your own audio)
  5. Share the link to your tour with visitors

The hardest part of this process is creating great content for your visitors. YourAudioTour will take care of the technology without you having to worry about a thing.

Advantages

Online tours are cheaper than creating a stand alone app. Creating an online tour guide is free while an audio tour will cost you thousands of dollars.

Creating and updating your tour takes minutes instead of days. Creating an online audio tour is as simple as adding pictures and descriptions to an online form and clicking save. Changes and updates to your tour are reflected instantly. Also, the use of text-to-speech technology allows you the option to create a tour without hiring a voice actor or recording yourself.

Online audio tours are easier for visitors to access. The tour will work on any mobile phone or computer that has access to the internet. No need to be listed in multiple mobile app stores and only be accessible on phones. You can simply supply visitors with a direct link to the tour or, if you tour name is unique, they can simply google the name of the tour.

Online audio tours have multiple uses and can attract additional users to your business or organisation. Since the online tour is available on every device people can discover and enjoy the tour very easily. It effectively creates a simple virtual tour that can be accessed from anywhere - something usually reserved to large museums with huge budgets.

Drawbacks

We believe creating an online audio tour is the best available option for the majority of organisations but like anything in life there are some drawbacks to consider.

Since online tours are generally cheaper to create they offer less flexibility and customisation than a full fledged mobile app might. Here at YourAudioTour we always strive to help you achieve the best experience possible for visitors but there are some user experiences we cannot provide unless you sign up for the expense unlimited plan.

2. Developing a Mobile Audio Tour App

This is generally the first thing people think of when they want to create a modern audio tour for their organisation, event or personal project. A polished mobile app can provide an excellent user experience and offer great flexibility and creativity. However, there are some major drawbacks that people often don't consider.

Drawbacks

Creating a mobile app is expensive. You'll need to hire a developer or company that specialises in creating mobile apps. These skills are highly sought after which means creating your app will be expensive - don't expect to pay less than a few thousand dollars for a simple tour. Also, if the final product created isn't exactly what you want it will cost you money for every change or tweak.

A mobile app audio guide is actually harder for people to access. Here are a few accessibility issues you'll find if you create a mobile tour app:

It takes a lot of time to create a mobile app. Since the app needs to be developed by a specialised company it will take some time to produce the app even after you have provided all the information for the guide itself. Not to mention apps need to be approved by Apple and/or Google before being allowed on their stores which can take time and cause problems.

It's hard to update a mobile app. It won't be easy to make a change or an addition to your audio guide after the fact. You'll need to get the developer to help you make the change which will take time and cost you more money. Any changes will need to be submitted to the appropriate app store and go through the approval process again.

Advantages

It's not all bad when it comes to using mobile apps for audio tours. Mobile apps provide more flexibility when creating the user experience of your tour. You're paying more money and spending more time so it only makes sense that you have more control over how the visitor interacts with the tour and the functionality provided.

This is exactly why many large institutions prefer to create mobile apps to facilitate their tours. They have the manpower and budget to create an expense experience and therefore prefer the flexibility offered by an app. However, for a smaller organisation or a large institution that plans to update their tour often the mobile app probably isn't the correct choice.

3. Rent or Purchase Specialised Audio Guide Equipment

This was historically the method for creating audio tours. There are benefits to going this route but they are generally outweighed by the drawbacks. You can read more about why new modern audio tours are generally better than this traditional route here.

Make an Informed Choice

We hope that this article has helped give teach you about new methods of creating audio guides and about their benefits and drawbacks. We created YourAudioTour because we didn't like the standard approach to creating audio tours and knew there was a better way. Hopefully we can help you create an experience for you visitors that is accessible, affordable, entertaining and informative.




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