How apps can bring your location to life


4 minute read
Alumni: Kieron Gurner

Alumni: Kieron Gurner

UX & Design Lead

Digital Insights

Getting people interested and involved in public spaces, historic buildings and other open spaces can provide great opportunities for any business or organisation, but the cost, upkeep and management of campaigns can be off-putting. However, in our experience working with clients like the Tower of London and Tooting Common, we’ve found that a great long-term solution, is by creating an app.

An Enduring Experience

Getting the most of any marketing, content or resources you create can be difficult. So trying to create marketing that lasts longer, and reaches further potential customers not only makes financial sense, but maximises audience uptake.

One of the major benefits of using an app to deliver your content is that you can create a rich, engaging and informative experience that lasts indefinitely, and can be used by anyone in the world – even if they’re not on location, they can browse your content from afar. You can package all of your content into a single experience, and deliver it to your visitor’s own smart phones, so you don’t even need to consider additional installation or event costs, as with other digital marketing strategies.

Visitors will still be able to download your app months, or even years after you first launch your campaign, and can still access the same experience with little to no maintenance costs for your organisation. As long as you design your app with the long-term in mind, you can create a beautiful experience that draws in more visitors to your organisation, and engages an audience from a distance too, with people downloading your app purely for the “Armchair” mode, which can spread your brand, and your content to a worldwide audience.

For two of our clients, we designed games which encourage users to explore the site and track their progress through the game using GPS. As they moved around, new parts of the narrative became available, and they were taken further into the exploration by completing tasks that required they visit certain parts of the locations.


Lost in Tooting

Lost in Tooting was based in London’s Tooting Common park, and invited users to join the Common’s mascot, Toot, in an outer-space adventure. They explored the physical location, answered questions about their environment, and had the chance to collect a badge from the Commons Cafe when they’d completed the game. This combination of storytelling and real-world engagement with the Common created a new kind of narrative for the location, providing visitors with a reason to go further than they may have done without a prompt.

This game utilized the power of it’s audience’s imagination and curiosity to drive the experience, and leveraging the GPS technology to make it all work.

We developed the game concept in a one-day App Sprint, and created the app in the weeks that followed, it goes to show that you don’t need large production budgets for script and audio development, to create a magical experience for your location.


Escape from the Tower

Escape from the Tower was a response to the Tower of London wanting to get people to visit different parts of the Tower – parts that had colourful history, but just didn’t get the footfall they deserved – and due to the wealth of colourful history in the Tower, content was easy to come by.

The game invites players to retrace the historic escape routes of four former prisoners, including Guy Fawkes and a Polar Bear. Players visit the virtual prisoners in their former cells, and after hearing the story behind their imprisonment, follow the prisoners on a journey to escape, avoiding virtual guards and triggering quizzes along the way.

The stories we used took people to areas that could have been easily missed, but more importantly, delivered the history in an exciting format and putting the visitors at the heart of the drama.


So, whether you’re looking to get a head-start on your competition, or just searching for new ways to engage your audience, apps are becoming more and more feasible as an option to strengthen and broaden marketing reach for all kinds of organisations.

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