Web app user guides are interpretive digital product that provides content direct to users via the internet browser on their mobile device.
They are designed for use in areas where there is internet coverage. Here they provide simple one click access to interpretive digital content without the need to first download and install an app.
This content can also be translated on the fly into the language of the user's preference in accordance with the way they have configured their internet browser.
Simple access is provided via QR code. Cameras on mobile devices can now read these directly without needing to download a special reader app. Alternatively people can google onto the page or else enter the short URL.
Building the interpretive digital web-app with static web pages also means it can be easily delivered in remote areas by setting up a local area network driven by a solar powered Raspberry Pi server.
Interactive PDF smartphone guides work with PDF reader apps [e.g. iBooks] already installed on a user's mobile device. They are formatted to mimic the functionality and operating environment of their companion tourism web-app product.
Smartphone guides are content only packages that work on any mobile device to embed data onto the phone for use in areas remote from internet coverage. By using pre-installed APIs (Application Programming Interfaces such as the PDF Reader) to deliver the user experience they have workable file sizes between 15-30MB and so can be accessed easily without wi-fi by users not wanting to commit to large data downloads.
Packaged together with web app solutions such as used at the Three Sisters, they provide a complete solution. This takes advantage of internet coverage where available whilst offering a companion product to download and embed onto the mobile device for use in remote areas.
The utility of QR codes in providing quick and simple access to online content is now dramatically improved as both IOS and Android phone/tablet cameras can read them directly.
This means that when walkers at a trailhead go to take a photo of a map on a sign for use along the track, they can be automatically prompted to link directly to a supporting web page.
In the case of the Three Sisters precinct in the Blue Mountains, this link then gives them the chance to download an interactive PDF trail guide to embed detailed trail notes and maps onto their phones for use in the surrounding areas remote from internet coverage.
Prior to the widespread uptake of smartphones and tablets post 2010, the three media platforms – signage / print / digital – were dealt with as separate entities.
Each had their own suite of information / content that was developed specifically for the operating environment in which the media needed to function.
Today it is possible to have a single body of branded message content, that can be delivered in a consistent manner across all platforms irrespective of the media being used to convey it.
Instead of digital content being compiled as a stand alone product, it now needs to be considered as an integrated part of the broader cross-media ecosystem.
This is especially evident in the case of maps. Rather than visitors seeing a different set of maps on their phones to those they envcounter on the signs around them, it is now possible to have consistent content presentation across all media – signage/digital/print.
This is the model that has been adopted for the delivery of content in the Falls Creek Alpine Resort in Victoria.