The first stage in developing a QR code based guiding for the THING Project was to develop www.thingsites.com into a mobile compatible platform. The THING Project engaged Shetland based web designers NB Communication to develop this side of the project.
The brief was to develop a mobile friendly website that would:
- Host information about the various POI (Points of Interest) at partner sites
- Be in a format compatible to all mobile operating systems
- Not require high amounts of data download at entry points, and avoid causing high data charges to those using them
Once the platform to host the material was developed the following steps were taken:
- Identify relevant POI
- Write text
- Translate text
- Submit text to website
- Create QR code
- Print QR code
- Mount QR code near POI
The mobile platform of www.thingsites.com was developed so that the native language in the user’s device’s browser setting determined the language which would be returned when the code was scanned. If content was not available in the user’s chosen language then the default language returned would be English.
Text is was uploaded to the mobile version of the website using the same content management system employed by the rest of www.thingsites.com, enabling partners to easily access and edit their own text at any time.
QR codes can be created using a number of free web services. The THING Project recommends that the URL is shortened (using a service such as bit.ly or tinyurl) before creating the QR code. This creates a simpler code which is easier to scan.
There are a number of options for printing and mounting QR codes, for guidance on this please see the THING Project’s ‘Guidelines for QR Services’.
The THING Project initially teamed up with De Heibergske Samlinger, Sogn Folkemuseum, to test the web platform. Content already developed for QR guiding at the Folkemuseum was loaded onto www.thingsites.com/m and used to test the service on location at the Museum. The test involved both multimedia and text based content. In the meantime both Thingvellir National Park and Gulatinget Millennium Park were identified as being suitable locations to test the THING QR trail. Four POIs were identified for development at Thingvellir, and five were identified at Gulatinget, with a further five at nearby Eivindvik.
Each POI is divided into subheadings so that users are not forced to download large quantities of text when they arrive on the landing page. Clicking on subheadings allows the user to delve deeper into the text, and obtain more information.