First Facebook, Now iOS 11: QR Codes Rock, and Are On a Roll!

Hello CultureSpots family!

 

If you’re still doubting that QR codes are not only here to stay, but gaining serious momentum, then today’s post may convince you once and for all.

 

The last time I reached out to you, we were very excited to share the news about Facebook’s new QR code reading capability on all smartphones having an up-to-date version of the mobile Facebook app installed. (If you missed our post, CLICK HERE!).

 

Within days, Apple announced that their latest iPhone’s iOS release (iOS 11), has it’s own QR code reader that is built in to the iPhone’s CAMERA app.  Just to clarify, iOS 11 is available on ALL iPhones from the iPhone5s on up! (not just the newest iPhone 8 & X).

 

All your visitors will have to do is point their iPhone’s camera at a QR code (displayed on your wall labels, brochures, signage, etc), and their iPhone will automatically understand that it is a QR code and re-direct them to your audio spot or tour on CultureSpots!

 

This 50 second video we found shows exactly how it works:

 

QR codes have been (from the very beginning) one of the 3 easy ways that CultureSpots lets your visitors quickly access a specific Spot, a whole Tour, or your CultureSpots landing page.  But with Facebook’s newest update and the iPhone’s newest iOS release, QR codes have become our recommended way for you to share your audio tours with visitors!

 

There is nothing easier than pointing your iPhone’s camera or Facebook app at a QR code to get into your audio tours instantly!  And there are likely NO OTHER APPS that people of ALL AGES feel more comfortable with than their Facebook and camera apps. (No intimidating techie hurdles anymore!)

 

We’re not the only ones who believe this is a game-changer. If you wonder what some of the technology press is saying, have a quick look at these 3 articles:

  • DIGITAL TRENDS: “QR codes are not all that popular (at least not in the United States), but it looks like Apple is trying to change that.  With iOS 11, you can use your regular camera to scan a QR code, which will take you to the website in question — no third-party app required.”

  • TECHCRUNCH.COM: “Apple’s decision to make QR codes more accessible in iOS 11 gives them a much better chance of finally living up to their hype, many years after their initial introduction.”

  • INVERSE.COM: “Ever wondered why you need to download an app just to scan a QR code you see in a magazine, or on the street, or anywhere else?  So did Apple, which is why the upgraded Camera app includes support for in-camera QR code scans.  Simply open the app, point the device at a code, and a notification at the top of the screen will suggest visiting the link in question.  Simple.”

Let us know what you think, and feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions!

Thank you for your continued support.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

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(VIDEO) Now you can use Facebook to access audio tours on CultureSpots!

Hello CultureSpots family!

Today we’re announcing an exciting new capability that lets your visitors access and enjoy your audio tours on CultureSpots even MORE easily than ever before, using…

FACEBOOK for iPhone and Android!

YES, you read that right!  And according to BusinessForApps.com, 85% of smartphone users have the Facebook mobile app installed on their phones.  This means that of all your visitors who own smartphones (the vast majority of them these days…), 85% will likely have Facebook installed on it.  This is huge, obviously!

 

Why do we care?  Because the latest Facebook app includes an integrated QR CODE  reader — and it works fabulously with every Spot and Tour on CultureSpots!

In other words….no more searching the App Store for free QR code reader apps!

With Facebook, QR CODES are here to stay and thrive!  And, so is CultureSpots 🙂

 

If you haven’t yet used CultureSpots’ built-in, auto-generated QR codes as a way to make it easier for your visitors to access your audio tours, now is the time to start doing so!  Your visitors will be able to just:

  1. Tap their Facebook app’s QR code reader in Explore/Shortcuts (depending on their version of the Facebook app),
  2. Point it at the CultureSpots QR code you’ve printed onto your labels, brochures or any other signage you might be using for your visitors,
  3. And voila — your visitors are listening to your audio tour!

 

Have a look at how it works in the quick how-to video we created below, featuring an audio tour by one of our awesome new clients, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University:

Whether you’ve been using our QR codes or not, your CultureSpots account generates (automatically) QR codes for every spot, for every tour and for your organization’s landing page.

This means that you can use CultureSpots QR codes to direct your visitors directly to an individual Spot, all the Spots within a Tour, or to your organizations’ main landing page on CultureSpots.  It’s up to you! And it’s easy to get started.

Just log into your CultureSpots environment, go to a Spot/Tour, and on its “Edit Spot/Tour” screen, right-click and “Save image as…” to download and begin embedding your QR codes into all your printed and online materials today!

We can’t wait to announce another huge smartphone technology update that will make scanning QR codes even more ubiquitous and intuitive than ever before.  Stay tuned!  (HINT: iOS11)  QR codes are HOT again!!!

Thank you for your continued support.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

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New (Optional) Configuration Option!

Back in October 2014, when we had our CultureSpots launch event at Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery, there were some photographers in the audience who pointed out an aspect of CultureSpots’ mobile Web application design that they wanted us to reconsider.

They explained that our design decision to overlay text on top of COVER images (for both the SPOT screen and TOUR screen) could be problematic for some people — especially photographers — who can be very particular about the way their images are displayed, no matter the context, location, constraints, etc., and that having anything overlaid on top of their images could be an unacceptable deal-breaker.

Since then, we’ve been on a sort of “high alert” for this to become a problem.  And it never really has, though admittedly, not many professional photographers are using CultureSpots (yet?).  It has come up in conversation a few times, where some of our clients asked if they could remove the “Name” text from their “Cover Images”, but never did this become a recurring, urgent issue, or a reason for anyone to not use our system. These “Names” are created by our clients, usually very brief, and overlay only the most bottom part of the image, not the entire image – often only a quarter or a fifth of the bottom of it, if that. (See sample images below).

 

BUT, recently, we received an interesting request from a business partner that was different, and inspired us to reverse course on this particular design decision.  They wanted to use their Cover Images for text, and only text.  It was not for photos/imagery.  Instead they were going to create mini poster images that would only contain text, and only the occasional symbol, chart or graph.  Now it really DID become an issue that we were overlaying the Spot’s and/or Tour’s “Name” text on top of its associated “Cover Image” because it would be in the way, and potentially make the “Cover Image” text unreadable or at least very aesthetically unpleasing for our business partner, and their users, all of whom are strategically important for some of our new business initiatives.

So with an update we just made to the CultureSpots system, we can now change a single setting and hide the “Name” text from all your “Cover Images” !  For now, this is a setting that only we control , and you’ll have to contact us and let us know if you’re interested in having us do this for your CultureSpots environment.  It‘s a single mouse-click for us to turn it on and/or off, and it takes effect immediately, so it’s no trouble for us at all, and we’re happy to do it.  Just realize that it is “global” in nature, meaning that the “Name” text will be hidden from all your Spot and Tour detail pages, as well as your main landing page where your organization’s name would normally be. 

This might be GREAT NEWS for some of you, and overall, this new option further enhances the “visual identification” of spots and the real objects/places that are associated to them.

With CultureSpots, your visitors have 4 easy ways to easily find the right audio spot for an object in your Museum or Gallery:

  • AUDIO ID NUMBER: Your object’s label on the wall specifies an AUDIO ID number, that you visitors can quickly type into CultureSpots to go directly to the right audio spot.
  • QR CODES: Your object’s label on the wall contains a QR code that you visitors can scan with their phone to go to the right audio spot.
  • PRETTY URL: Your object’s label on the wall (or a brochure) gives your visitors a super short “URL” that they can type into their phone’s browser to go to the right audio spot.
  • Visual navigation and identification: This is where today’s enhancement announcement comes to play. No labels, no signs needed. Allow your visitors to easily and intuitively navigate CultureSpots, by visually identifying the audio spot they’re looking for.  With large images and NO TEXT in the way.

This is what we mean:

 

Obviously, we aren’t going to make any changes to your account settings without your expressly telling us to do so.  Meaning, nothing changes if you do nothing — everything stays the same as it is now.  But again, if you’d like us to do this for you, just let us know and we will do so immediately.

Do you have any ideas, suggestions for improvement, or other feature requests?  We’d LOVE to hear them!

Let us know if we can help with anything, and thanks again for being a part of the CultureSpots family!

Thank you for your continued support.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

Don’t Forget to Invite Your Neighbors - Whoever and Wherever They Are.

If you were to plan a massive Grand Re-Opening party at your museum or gallery, who would you invite?  Would you invite just those folks who’ve already been visiting for years, or would you try reaching out to new people who’ve never stepped foot inside before?  Would you want to do something special for them, […]

Read More

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