Bringing history to life with the new
digital visitor guide

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Case Study

A digital transformation to one of the UK’s most famous tourist attractions

An all new 2018 digital visitor guide for two of Londons most popular visitor attractions, Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. Our revamped and refreshed digital guides would see history brought to life for visitors; with interactive audio tours, photo galleries, video footage, Schedules to plan a day and much more… this new digital guide really did give guests a day to remember!

The Challenge

To improve a struggling digital guide that was frustrating visitors and causing headaches for the HRP team

Challenge 1

Replacing an old and out of date framework

The technology and framework the existing guide was built on had become bloated, unmanageable and in-efficient. 

As a result the internal management to keep the guide updated was a very cumbersome and time consuming operation, involving the upload of individual zip files in order to update any content. 

The old framework also meant that the end user experience was sluggish and laggy leaving visitors frustrated with the guide and unable to recommend it.

Challenge 2

Making the guide a companion rather than a tour

The previous guides had become too disengaged with the physical environment of the attraction in which they were being used.

The new guides needed to feel like a companion guide, supporting visitors and giving them the freedom to explore each attraction in the way they wanted rather than a predefined route. 

Challenge 3

Ensuring any visitor can use the guide

Considered some of the UKs top visitor attractions, the HRP sites see thousands of visitors come through the doors everyday. These visitors range massively in age, Nationality and… technical ability!

Because the new guide will be using a smart phone as aposed to its predecessor which was a more traditional button based audio device, one of our main challenges will be to ensure visitors are comfortable using it, making the interface as intuitive and familiar as possible and reducing any technical barriors or fears they may have.

The Solution

The complete overhaul of its predecessor… improving design, performance, scalability and of course overall visitor satisfaction levels.

Solution 1

Upgrading and improving on every level

We replaced the existing CMS with a robust open source solution, enabling quick and hassle free updates and management with a custom incremental syncing system. 

The framework the guide was built on was also replaced by a more modern solution. Using REACT Native we were able to Utilise native functions of the device to create a smooth, interactive and intuitive user experience. 

Results 1

Using modern technology to improve UX and internal processes

To link the guide more intuitively with its surroundings, we utilised device technology to implement helpful additions to the digital guide experience. 

Bluetooth was used to help create a smart alarm system while the internal gyroscope was used to detect if the device was being used or not and if so automatically go to sleep and so increase the guides battery life.

Solution 2

Extensive UX review to highlight pinch points

To ensure any solutions we suggested were correct we firstly engaged in an extensive review of the existing UX, looking at what worked for users and where the pinch points were. 

Upon reviewing the existing guide we suggested a complete visual overhaul. We worked hard to ensure the guide was simple and easy to use and importantly reconnect visitors to their surrounding through effective use of imagery, contextual route information, mini interactions and visual prompts to aid way finding when appropriate.

The Result

A new and improved digital visitor guide that lets visitors experience history on a whole new level!

Solution 3

Successful release

The new digital visitor guides are now available to hire at The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.

Visitors can now be completely immersed in the aura of the attraction, with a library of facts, videos, pictures and historic artefacts at the tap of a finger.

Results 2

Loved by visitors

On-site user testing at the Tower of London with real, paying visitors resulted in a huge increase in engagement and satisfaction over it's previous iteration, with a 69 point rise on the NPS (Net Promoter Score) scale.

Visitors stated that the new guides provided a more immersive experience and would happily recommend to friends and family.

Result 3

But wait… theres more to come!

Aerian continue to support HRP's Digital Visitor Guides and have planned further phases of on-site visitor testing to broaden our understanding and improve and iterate the offering. 

We have already proposed various UX enhancements as well as prototyping a range of Augmented VR  experiences for all HRP attractions.

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