ATS is at the forefront of multimedia guide development, pushing the boundaries of both creativity and technology. The start of any project is their clients’ visitor outcomes, but from that point they develop content that is not only bespoke and fit for purpose, but often innovative and exciting.
Multimedia tour design has to strike a subtle balance. The experienced team at ATS design produce tours that achieve just the right amount of on-screen content and a heads-up engaging experience.
A church at the heart of the nation
ATS was delighted to collaborate on a multimedia tour with Westminster Abbey, a rich heritage site, famous around the world. It’s Britain’s national church and, with over 3,000 great Britons buried there, requires respectful interpretation.
Walking into the building, you can feel the history around you with countless reminders of a nation’s past. The Abbey is a working church, with a range of services taking place each day and it has hosted every coronation since 1066. Over the centuries it has seen royal weddings, funerals and major national events. The building is rich in national symbolism – the Coronation Chair and the Grave of the Unknown Warrior sit alongside the graves of former Monarchs and Poets’ Corner, a celebration of British linguistic creativity.
Yet the building is also a hugely popular visitor attraction. Working with the Abbey, ATS created a multimedia-led experience that not only understands the time-honoured traditions of this special place, but also anticipates the needs of a 21st-century international tourist. Modern visitors are highly tech-savvy and expect a certain level of multimedia production in a guide. ATS never wants the tech to get in the way of the heritage itself as the story is the most important part.
The in-house team of creative interpretation specialists, scriptwriters, multimedia content producers and developers worked alongside the hardware and technical support team to create a guide that provides a seamless visitor experience, merging into the architecture and grandeur of the Abbey, without allowing the technology to take over or become too dominant.
Challenges to overcome
- A visitor led solution which delivers the right balance of a working church and a busy visitor attraction
- Improve wayfinding, supporting visitors to explore the Abbey independently
- Present layered creative storytelling across a number of themes, to a number of audiences
- Language and access barriers, providing high quality experience to non-English speaking visitors and visitors with sensory disabilities
- Engage family visitors, through a tailored tour for younger audiences
- Service Design, support the WA team to manage dwell time, provide dynamic routing options that deliver effective visitor flow during peak and off-peak periods
- Operations and staffing, manage the transition from an audio, to multimedia guide service
Scott Craddock, Head of Visitor Experience, Westminster Abbey said “ATS’s new multimedia guide has proved very popular with visitors and the tour content resulted from a strong collaboration between Abbey staff and the ATS creative team.”
“The Focus device is easy to use and is available in 14 languages, plus family tour and BSL options,” he said. “The guide helps visitors easily navigate their way around the Abbey and provides a great deal of detail on the history, the people and the daily life of the Abbey, with expansive content and features such as videos, a royal time line and Rubaways, in some cases revealing areas that are hidden from the main visitor route. It also features an interactive map which has helped us substantially reduce the amount of printed material we distribute to visitors.”
Craddock also said “Westminster Abbey and ATS also worked closely with VocalEyes to produce a bespoke audio-descriptive tour for visitors with visual impairments. ATS has worked well with us on creating an app version of the tour plus a highlights version that has proved popular with visitors who have a limited amount of time to visit.”
ATS has become one of the UK’s most popular audio/multimedia guide partners with clients across the arts, culture and heritage sectors including museums, cathedrals and major tourist and sporting sites. They are now exploring opportunities to develop relationships with potential clients and partners internationally.
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Case Study Fact File
Client: Westminster Abbey, London
Contract value: £1.1+ million.