How to Add Descriptive Content to Whitepoint Virtual Tours

Helping people make virtual tours smarter is what the whole Whitepoint platform is all about. Therefore, one of the most common questions we get from users is how to add more descriptive content to our virtual tours.

Makes sense, huh? Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Whitepoints are the Data Points

First off, the best place to add descriptive content – whether textual and / or a link to other even richer content is within the whitepoints of any scape (our word for a Whitepoint virtual tour).

Golden Gate Bridge scene image, Whitepoint virtual tour

This is a scene image from a Whitepoint virtual tour of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As discussed elsewhere in this blog, whitepoints are the aspects of any scene image that require more detailed information.

For example, if you look closely in the accompanying image of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge – taken from a scene in an actual scape – you’ll see a whitepoint. Your virtual tour user could tap that point on his or her mobile device and get your ideas or more information on the steel used in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Another Opportunity for Descriptive Content

Currently, our scene image editing and authoring capabilities do offer a field for text-based descriptive content. But, as our authors have noticed, that text does not yet display in the scapes. Future plans for scape display do utilize that content. It is not yet being used beyond basic search capability. So, it is helpful to add that information, just don’t think something is broken if you can’t view that text.

Descriptive content in Golden Gate Bridge Whitepoint virtual tour scene image

This is the same scene image from the Golden Gate Bridge Whitepoint virtual tour. More descriptive content has been added graphically to the image.

If you believe scene images like the accompanying Golden Gate Bridge image are deserving of text content, it’s easy to accomplish. Simply add the text when editing the scene image before your upload.

In our testing, we’ve found that sizing the scape image to about 900 pixels wide x 500 pixels high first, then adding your text is the best approach. This way you can judge what looks best in text vs image size.

Whitepoint Virtual Tours as Presentations

Taking it a step further, this is how Whitepoint virtual tours can actually be used as presentations.

Whitepoint virtual tour as presentation tool

This is an actual scene image from a Whitepoint virtual tour used as a presentation. The scene image features text, and whitepoints offer opportunities for more information.

In the accompanying image, you see a scene image that utilizes only text – this is simply a graphic that was uploaded as a scene image. In this example, the whitepoints are intended as jumping off points for more detailed exploration of a particular phrase or idea.

. . . kind of like a smarter virtual tour of a concept.

Updated July 20, 2016.

Do you have a question about authoring your Whitepoint virtual tour? Maybe you need to get started as an author? Please, share your questions with us – we look forward to hearing from you.

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A Content Management System for Smarter Virtual Tours

We recently had a project come through that specified data storage requirements. The resulting discussion got us thinking again about Whitepoint as a content management system for smarter virtual tours.

Smarter Virtual Tours Can Mean Lots of Content

Statue as stop on virtual tour - content management system helps organize information.

For this stop on a virtual tour, you might have a number of related links for more information. This is where a content management system helps.

Constructing and managing a virtual tour kicks up a good bit of content of different types. What we’ve found from experience is that the gathering of all that related content can be the most burdensome aspect of virtual tour construction.

In a Whitepoint virtual tour, what is largely stored are images and other content associated with data points (whitepoints). These points are the aspect of the tour most likely to change, move around, and get updated.

As a result, Whitepoint acts as a content management system to help you keep those whitepoints in tact and available for future use wherever necessary. For example, you have the option to delete whitepoint information entirely or save it for the future. This comes in handy especially in situations such as museum tours – where data points are likely to shift in the space periodically.

Here’s One Way a Content Management System Helps

It isn’t so much that audio and video files need to be stored and managed, it’s that each data point has attributes that need to be managed. This is where the difference lies between a content management system and a system for file storage.

For example, each data point consists (hopefully) of an image, text content, and other information. For each of those data points, our content management system provides for multiple social media tie-ins as well as what we call a widget. A widget can be a link to an audio or video file on a Vimeo or YouTube account, for example. Keeping all of these associations organized and reusable is not only convenient, it’s a headache and time saver.

Whitepoint (As Content Management System) + Dropbox (As File Management System) = Virtual Tour Construction Bliss

Content management system for smarter virtual touring - an image of a city at night.

Lots of different images in your virtual tour – the city at evening or the same city at daytime, for example – are tough to keep track of.

Generating content is a headache for most organizations. With virtual tours especially, different types of content can come from lots of different places – different people, desktop computers, or mobile devices.

As a result, a shared folder on Dropbox works extremely well for collaborating on virtual tour projects (Whitepoint does support authoring by teams, by the way). We’ve also shared some ideas on file naming conventions to use in these scenarios.

The expectations for virtual tours are expanding, and it isn’t too much to expect more when you’re building one. A content management system for smarter virtual tour content is a good place to start.

What are your expectations in a content management system when building a virtual tour? Have you found a file sharing tool you like? Tell us!

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5 Things to Remember as a Digital Content Hunter-Gatherer

Content is at the heart of every web marketing strategy out there now. More an more, web designers, social media managers, and marketers are playing the role of digital hunter-gatherers. You find images, blog articles, tweets, and photos. Then, you process it all into content that will (should) be of value to the audience.

When building an intelligent guide – or tour – for the web there are additional challenges. And, whether the content will be delivered by desktops, mobile devices, or a mix, there are common considerations.

Here are some helpful hints based on what we’ve seen in hunting and gathering content for building intelligent guides to places and things.

What Content is Your Audience Seeking?

The most important first step is to ask yourself what content your audience is seeking. Take a moment and step back. What you envision and what they are really seeking may be different. Is it image rich content? Is it more detailed text content? Are there geographical considerations or limitations?

Draft an Outline or Skeleton for Your Content.

Content draft for a mobile tour of a hotel.

The start of a rough outline for a Whitepoint scape of a hotel. Building a skeleton or draft for content can save a headache later. Otherwise, you might forget about showing off the banquet facilities, for example.

This isn’t a school assignment where you have to turn in a detailed outline. But, taking another moment – if only to scribble a draft on a napkin – can help a lot.

Many content management systems, like WordPress, enable you to get a draft started quickly.

If there are images or a flow in the content, map it out. For example, our Whitepoint framework for intelligent tours and guides enables you to build a draft while simply using image or text placeholders. Very shortly, you’re able to envision the structure of your creation. Taking a few moments more in planning may save lots of time later.

Don’t Worry, It Probably Shouldn’t Be Perfect Just Yet.

It is easy to obsess about getting that perfect photo. Unfortunately, your entire project may be held up as a result. In today’s world, it’s all about relevance and timeliness. Instead of getting that perfect image, use an acceptable photo and update it later. Write quality content now, but think of the project as ongoing.

In Fact, You May Never Be “Finished.”

Good content is hardly ever “finished” any more. And, the process of updating gives you an opportunity to call attention to your work again later. This is especially important in mobile tours and guides, because they remain relevant and up-to-date.

For digital content hunter-gatherers, this is good news. The concept of living content is explored in a recent article at Convince and Convert. Many a content vehicle – including Whitepoint – now enables you to create this “living content” rather than finishing up one project and moving on to dreaming up another. Take advantage of this.

Engage.

Your content can be much more effective when you find out what aspects your audience likes or dislikes. Not only does this process improve the quality of your content, it makes both your content and you more engaging.

Ask your audience for feedback, encourage conversation, and act accordingly.

Repeat cycle.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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Right This Way: Managing Tour Content for the Mobile Web

Tour content management is part of a broader content management strategy for web designers and marketers. If you’re in charge of managing images and accompanying text for web or mobile tours of a museum, gallery, real estate, or other similar project, it probably makes up the bulk of your routine duties. It might also make up for the bulk of your headaches.

Why? There are a number of reasons, not least of which are image specifications, alt texts, and of course the constant creation of quality content.

In managing Whitepoint tour content ourselves and helping others build tours for the mobile web, we’ve developed some thoughts on best practices and tools that can help along the way.

Tour Content = Lots of Images

First off, tour content – and we mean good tour content – means lots of images.

And, not everyone is a graphic designer or photographer. Because of that, we’ve made some recommendations on free or low cost photo and graphics editing tools in a past blog post.

But, Tour Content Also Equals Relevant Images

More and more, with relevance and freshness of content being a key search engine optimization factor, tour content is logically affected as well. How fresh are your images? It isn’t just about having lots of images. It’s also about having relevant images.

Whitepoints on college campus tour content.

Tour content from this college campus tour shows whitepoints plotted on a beautiful spring landscape.

Maybe you manage an online tour of a college campus. Do prospective students want to see the winter landscape of your academic quad year-round? Try always updating with your most season appropriate image.

If you’re in real estate, providing an autumnal image of the property probably isn’t a good idea if the property is still on the market the following summer.

Tour Content Can Also Include Those Filenames Too

Adopting a method for image file naming is a great idea for two reasons. First, it makes photos easier to organize. Secondly, they become even more search engine friendly once posted.

So what’s a good way to do it? Some is personal preference, but try to stick with a method that will serve both organizational and SEO purposes. For a fictional university campus we’ll call UWP, let’s say you’ve got images for the student cafe, Briggs building, and tennis courts. Try this method:

Cafe-UWP-Campus-Tour.jpg

Briggs-Building-UWP-Campus-Tour.jpg

Tennis-UWP-Campus-Tour.jpg

Yes, the dashes between words make a difference for your SEO purposes.

If you go with the above method, just place them in a folder called “UWP Campus Tour” when you manage multiple projects. You may even use that same folder with dashes if you’re uploading the whole thing.

As far as the organization goes, you can thank us later.

And Of Course, Text Content Management

If you manage tour content of any kind, you probably find that you routinely use the same snippets of text over and over again. On Mac, one thing we’ve found that helps is a nifty little tool called Flycut. This tool helps you manage your clipboard, archiving a history that you can easily call from and drop.

For Windows, gHacks has interesting recommendations on a tool called Clipjump.

Don’t Forget Mobile

It should go without saying, but many traditional organizations still don’t understand the impact of mobile. Lots of industries have more mobile users than desktop users, and some vice versa. But, no industry is spared from the impact of mobile.

Whatever you do, make sure first of all that you’re able to keep your image file size down. It’s best if you can offer a mobile-friendly version of the tour. If so, this will impact your image file choices. You may even keep separate versions for both desktop and mobile.

Be sure to test your tour content on multiple mobile devices – iPhones, Android phones, tablets, iPads . . . on and on. Formatting for so many different devices is tricky and time consuming. Luckily, a tour content management framework like Whitepoint may have already done this for you. Images can be optimized automatically as well, with little or no perceived loss in image quality.

And, needless to say, if you are managing tour content, you can use every bit of help and every single time saver.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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