Q Media: Audio Tour Experts

Delivering your goals, to your visitors, within your budget.

Archive for April, 2009

Audio guides in an iPod world. Are they still relevant?

“Audio guides are dead. Passe. Old news. Too expensive. Too creatively restrictive. Too… too…  yesterday.”
Fantasy of Flight; a unique experience!

Fantasy of Flight; a unique experience!


Before I start a non-professional rant, let me make a couple of clear points:

First, audio guides and audio tours are not the same thing. An “audio guide” is a device, an “audio tour” is an experience. You can experience an outstanding audio tour on a number of different devices — e.g. audio guides, cell phones, iPods, pdas — which may or may not have been designed and developed as a way strictly to present an audio tour. An audio guide, on the other hand, is a type of hardware that was designed, developed, and deployed with one purpose in mind, to deliver audio tours to the general public. 

Second, there are two sides to an audio tour (you will see this point made over and over in this blog), “what you’re listening to” and “how you’re listening to it.” An audio guide is simply another “how”, another way to get the “what,” — that is, the message — to the ear of your visitor.

Keeping those two points in mind, the question then becomes, do audio guides still have a place in today’s artistic, historical, and cultural organizations? The answer is “yes” provided that for the individual organization the pluses outweigh the minuses. Read the rest of this entry »


Audio tours on cell phones! A great idea… for some.

Audio guides, iPods, cell phones, downloads, internet, multi-media and on and on and on. It seems as if the options for getting a message to your visitors ears are getting wider, more complex, and ever more confusing. But if you’ve clicked on this post you are looking for more information about one of the newest audio tour innovations — cell phones.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the device is only half the equation. Don’t forget about quality content! But we’ll talk about that more in another post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center

In 2008 we had the opportunity to do something we rarely get to do — work locally! I don’t know why it is but the old adage regarding the “pro from Dover” generally seems to hold. Never-the-less, we were selected to work with the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando to provide audio guides and production support for the new audio tour of their permanent exhibits. This project has several lessons including some benefits and cautions to a la carte production as well as what to do when the financial rug gets pulled out from under you. Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of public financing. Read the rest of this entry »

Are they listening?

Many orgnaizations use software to track how listeners respond to their audio tour. And often, when facilities find that tracks aren’t listened to in their entirety, they conclude that “the listener isn’t interested in audio tours,” RATHER than “their audio production isn’t interesting.” Visitor behavior, they call it. It reminds me of how film students will cry that the audience didn’t “get it” rather than acknowledge they were the ones with the responsibility to be understood.

I’m baffled. Visitors were interested enough to get in their cars and come to the site, interested enough to pay their admission, interested enough to take the audio tour, but then suddenly not interested in the information they were seeking? Not likely. More likely, they didn’t like what they heard. And the reason they didn’t like it was because it wasn’t presented effectively. Read the rest of this entry »

Updating MillerCoors Brewing Company

Recently, one of our previous and favorite clients, Coors Brewery, formed a joint venture with Miller Brewing Company; by all accounts the marriage is going well. However, since we produced their first audio tour in 2008 BEFORE the venture, updates were necessary. As you can guess, while this isn’t rocket science, a few things came up that are good lessons to learn from. Read the rest of this entry »