What's a great audio guide made of? What should I pay attention to? And what about the technical aspects?
This "Guide to guide" is meant to give answers to all of these questions.
Before you start
First of all, you should think about what exactly you want to tell your listeners
and where your route should run along.
If you already do guided tours, you won't have any problems with that and you can jump to the next section.
But if you are new to doing guides, maybe the following tips can help:
- In the best case, you have a personal connection to the places you talk about.
You tell your own experiences, in your own words. Of course it is helpful to acquire additional knowlegde
and read up on facts to add substance to the stories. But the main point is to convey your personal standpoint,
your opinion: Tell more than what can be found in every travel guide anyway.
- Choose the appropriate means of transport for the guide. Adjust the distances between stations
- Choose positions for the stations from where your listeners have a good viewpoint on the scene
or a good impression of your story you are telling.
You could also talk about different places in the surrounding area that are related
– a little deviation from the subject isn't always bad. Just make sure there is enough to say about
each station, so that it is worth stopping and listening.
- The route between your stations can be defined as well. You can choose the route in such a way that
your listeners pass buildings or places that you mention in your guide. You could also select the most
interesting, convenient or quiet route.
- Before you start recording your stories, it might help to write down some keywords for each
station. It is not necessary to write out every sentence in full: Actually, coming across as
natural while reading out a text can be a rather difficult task – unless you are a very good reader.
Try to talk freely, in your own words. Don't worry about minor pronounciation flaws and corrections that may occur.
They can even make the whole thing more authentic and entertaining.
- To talk naturally about a subject, it may also help to anticipate questions that your
listeners on location would ask you.
For instance, the recording could have the structure of an interview,
in which a friend poses the questions and you answer them.
You could still cut the questions out of the recording afterwards. Or just leave it as it is.
For that matter: Why necessarily clinging to a strict question-answer pattern? Maybe an
open dialogue is the most suitable method for you.
- Don't fear your own voice. It's perfectly normal if your recorded voice sounds
strange to you at first. It doesn't sound strange to others.
Just try to speak in a clear, distinct way and otherwise: Be yourself. It will be fine.
Add a new guide
To create a new guide, you first have to
log in, in case you haven't
done that yet. Upload a profile image of yourself and write a bit about you, so your
listeners get to know you better.
Under "My Guides", you choose the position on the map where
your guide should take place. Click on "+ new Guide" (left column). Read the note about
copyright, then enter a name for your guide. The name should not be too long, otherwise it will be
shortened on many occasions.
Please note that for the mobile version of the website,
it is not yet possible to create a new guide.
Finally, you have to agree to our terms of distribution and choose a service fee for your guide.
Paid guides are exempt from service fees, as well as guides by individuals, schools or other
socio-cultural facilities that were created without financial sponsorship.
If you are in doubt concerning choosing the right category, choose "individual arrangement".
We will contact you then and find a suitable arrangement for everybody.
General guide information
- With "Language" you indicate the language in which the guide is spoken and written.
If you want your guide to appear in several languages, you can add more language
versions here as well – now or later.
Read more at Create several language versions.
- By default, the country and city are taken from the map position at the guide's creation,
but you can change this manually later.
- The means of transport should be picked according to the distance between stations.
- A photograph is valuable since it functions as a cover image for the guide.
The best choice is an image in quadratic or landscape format. Upright images will be cropped
automatically in most views.
- In the description field, you should sum up the topics that you address in your guide.
Moreover, you might attribute copyrights and give credit to people who are involved.
If your guide is based on a real guided tour, of course you may refer to this.
In the description, you can use text formatting such as bold text, headings and links.
You'll find more information about this in the notes about text formatting.
- If your guide should be paid, you have to define a price - this is relevant for payments via PayPal on the web site or in the Android app.
Furthermore, you have to set a price tier for in-app payment in the iPhone app. The concrete sums for the price tiers are different
depending on the user's currency.
The price tier settings do not have an immediate effect - it can last some days until the guide is available on the iPhone
and until price tier changes are effective.
Lastly, you will have to define whether each station should be paid or free and what should be the price if a station is
paid individually (not available on iPhones).
After entering the general guide information, you can begin with the actual stations of your guide.
To add a new station, click on the pin with the plus. You can find it in the tool bar at the top left corner
of the map. Now your cursor becomes the shape of an empty pin. Click on the map to place your station at the
right position. To cancel, click the button again or press ESC.
Enter a name for the new station. Again: Try to keep the name short – otherwise it
won't be fully displayed in most cases.
For each station, you can upload an image and write descriptive text.
Images in quadratic or landscape format are the best choice. Text formatting is possible.
The most important part of a station are the audio tracks.
You can upload a previously recorded MP3 oder OGG file (by clicking the folder icon).
If you click the gear wheel icon before you upload a track, you can adjust in which quality the
MP3 file will be saved. To keep the file size for downloading small, you should normally
keep the default setting of 56 kbps.
Add more stations and edit connections
When you're adding more stations, keep in mind that a new station is always inserted
after the currently selected station.
However, you can change the sequence of stations at any time by clicking the
2nd icon of the tool bar.
As connection between two stations, a street connection is used by default.
If the means of transport is set to "walk", walkways are taken into account as well.
To be able to edit a connection, the respective connection has to be active, that is, shown as
a thicker green line. On an active connection, you see the intermediate points as small circles.
You can drag those points to adjust the route, or remove them with right-click.
You can add new intermediate points by simply clicking on the connection line.
By clicking direct connection (3rd icon of the tool bar), you can remove all
existing intermediate points from the currently active connection.
By clicking street connection (rightmost icon on the tool bar), you can recalculate a
street connection. If you already have defined intermediate points yourself, you can choose to include
them in the new route. This way, you can give a few hints where your route should run along and let
the rest be calculated automatically.
Preview and check
To check how your guide would look like for others on the website, click "All Guides" (top menu).
Then the current guide will be shown in the normal view. This also works with unpublished guides –
but only for yours, naturally. Click on "My Guides" to return to the editing view.
Publish the guide
When you have finally finished your guide, you can make it visible for everyone by clicking
"publish now" at the top of the editing column.
Then the guide will also be shown under "New Guides" on the home page. It may take a few minutes until
the stations become visible on the public map.
Create several language versions
You have the opportunity to create several language versions for the same guide.
In this case, the user initially sees the version which matches the browser's language –
the other languages can be switched to as well.
To add a new language version, just click on "+ Language" under "More languages".
Some things as images, place and the guide's structure (stations, connections) are independent
from language and are therefore shared among all language versions.
This means, a change in these things always affects all versions.
This does of course not apply for language dependent properties like description texts and audio tracks.
Moreover, the publishing is done seperately as well: It is possible that one version is already published,
while another one is not.
Test the guide
After finishing your guide, it would be best to go the whole distance with your smartphone.
While you're at it, pay attention to the right placing of the stations.
Check if the routes between each station are correct and convenient. You'll see if
the whole tour or the distance between stations maybe is too long.
If the weather is right, you can also take photos for each station along the way –
in case you don't have them already.