App Builder Wiki

Opening a developer account on the App Store and Google Play

We are looking forward to launching your app!

Part of that process requires you to open a developer account with Apple and Google.  It’s an easy process, but can take up to 2 weeks (or longer for non-profits).

Here are step by step instructions for the App Store and Google Play:

 

Click here:

Instructions to open developer account for Non-Profits*

 

Click here:

Instructions to open developer account for buisnesses

 

*Please note that if you plan to make your app paid, you can NOT register as a non-profit.  You must register as a business.

 

Media and Weblinks in Your Guide

Media and Weblinks engage users longer

Including audio and video in your mobile app tour allows users to listen, watch and experience the story you are telling.  Users can listen to audio as they walk around a location or watch a video for a deeper understanding about a point of interest.  These elements keep users in an app longer than just text and create an interactive experience.  Clickable weblinks and clickable phone numbers also help users get more information or interact with a point of interest in real time within the app.

 

Media and Weblinks are great for guides with:

  • An Audio Tour
  • A Video Tour
  • A Virtual Tour

Want to see how media and weblinks work on the App Builder Platform?

Click here to see a video that shows the audio feature on the App Builder.

Click here to see a video that shows the video feature on the App Builder.

Click here to see a video that shows the weblinks feature on the App Builder.

GPS and Custom Maps in Your Guide

GPS and Custom Maps connect your content, location and users

Telling your story with a guide created on the App Builder platform gives you the opportunity to paint a complete picture of your location.  Users can see where each point of interest is located on the GPS enabled map as well as where they are located on the same map to get directions or scroll through stops and listen to audio.  Custom maps that are usually found in brochures or are printed give users another view of a location that is curated for a specific experience.  Both maps give a sense of place, context and navigation as they experience a tour on location or from anywhere.

 

GPS and Custom Maps are great for guides with:

  • Driving Tours
  • Walking Tours
  • Facility (Indoor) Tours
  • Museum Tours
  • Events

 

Want to see how the GPS Map and Custom Map work on the App Builder Platform?

Click here to see a video that shows the GPS map feature on the App Builder.

Click here to see a video that shows the Custom map feature on the App Builder.

Multiple Lists and Categories in Your Guide

Why Multiple Lists and Categories can benefit your guide

As you create your guide on the App Builder Platform, thinking about how to organize your content usually is one of the first things to consider.  The multiple lists/categories feature is a great way to include different tours or themes in one guide. Users can have an even richer experience as they interact with your content according to location or theme.

Multiple Categories and Lists are great for guides with:

  • Multiple Tours
  • Multiple Themes
  • Multiple Languages
  • Event Schedules
  • Sponsors

Want to see how to turn on multiple lists/categories and use them in your guide?  See this video.

After your App is Published

Now that the App Store and Google Play have approved your app, everyone can download your app on the App Store and Google Play.

Your app can only be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet through the App Store (iOS devices) or Google Play (Android devices).  You can see your app’s listing through a URL on both stores on your computer, but you can not download these apps onto a desktop computer.

Here is a short video that shows where the links to your app are located on the App Builder Website:

 

You can go to the App Store and Google Play and search for your apps and download them at this time.

 

After the app is published you can change any stop information.  After you make changes to the app, you can press the ‘Update’ button in the upper right hand corner.  

 

 

App Publishing Process

We want to make the app launch process easy for you as you are finishing up adding content and nearing your launch date.  Here is all the information you need for the app publishing process.  

Step 1: All Content is uploaded and ready

When we use the word content, we are referring to your stops that you created with images, audio (if it is an audio tour), GPS points and graphics.  All of these things need to be complete so that we can send the app for approval.  

Content Checklist

 

Step 2: Tour Buddy Review Process  3 to 7 days

When your content is complete, you will press the “Request to Publish” button on your dashboard.  The Tour Buddy team will then review your content and test your app.  We will contact you if any content or graphics are missing or if we have any suggestions for improvement.  We will also begin preparing the listings for the App Store and Google Play.

Once the Tour Buddy team reviews the content and ensures everything is complete, your app will be sent to approval from the App Store and Google Play.  

Step 3: App Store and Google Play Release Process – 1-2 weeks

Once Tour Buddy sends your app off for review, your app will be approved within 1-2 weeks.  You will receive an e-mail with the links to the App Store and Google Play listing after they are approved.  

 

App Graphics and Branding Checklist

Ready to launch your app to be published on the App Store and Google Play?  Awesome!  As you know, you can change most of the content in your app, which is great.  But, there a couple of items that are connected to your branding that you can NOT change unless we re-release your app for an additional fee.  Here is the checklist of the items that you can NOT change, so be sure you are all set in the App Builder Website:

  • Official name of your app (30 character max)
  • Searchable Keywords – words that will help people find your app on the App Store and Google Play.
  • App Store Description
  • App Icon – the little rounded box on the dashboard of your phone
    • App Icon – 1024 pixels wide x 1024 pixels high  Must be high resolution PNG file.
  • Splash Images – Appears after the user clicks on the icon and while the app is loading.
    • Portrait Splash Image (shown on smartphones) – 640 x 1136 px – gets cropped to 640 x 960 for some screen sizes.
    • Landscape Splash Image (shown on iPads) – 2048 wide x 1536 high.

You can make your changes in the ‘App’ tab of the App Builder Website.  Once you have your official app graphics and branding entered and uploaded, just press the ‘Request to Publish’ button on the dashboard and we will prepare your app for release.

Building a Guide Like a PRO

Congratulations, you have just created your first guide!  You might have even created a stop or two.  We want you to build your app with confidence.  Here are some of our tips to building and understanding your app for a successful launch.


 

Creating Multiple Lists

A list is a category for the stops.  A list could include a different tour, or a different type of content such as a list of places to visit or restaurants.  If you aren’t sure if you need multiple lists, we like to start at the top looking at your overall tour and the organization of your content.  Some important questions to ask yourself are, “How many tours do I have?”  “Do I want my users to just focus on one tour or several tours/areas at my location?”  If it looks like you have several tours or areas, we recommend creating different categories for your stops.  Then, you will create your stops and put each stop into a category.  This helps organize your guide in a way that flows with your content.  For some guides with just one tour, we recommend keeping the categories OFF and then a list of stops will be displayed.  You can add multiple lists at any time so if you’re not sure if you need them, just start creating stops.  

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAN-tPS5TZU[/embedyt]


 

Creating GPS Points

GPS points in the app are created using the map on the App Builder Website.  When a stop has a GPS point in the App Builder, then the user can turn ‘ON’ the GPS triggers and when they walk within 250 feet of the point of interest, the stop will automatically open and the audio will automatically play.

Do you see the map where you create a pin for each stop?  That is your GPS point.  You can drag and drop the pin anywhere you want.  We recommend that the GPS points are 250 feet (50 meters) apart.  Closer than that, and they may overlap.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1FnzhHYlkc[/embedyt]


 

Testing GPS Triggers

If you want your tour to automatically open a stop and play audio when the user gets near it, you will need to test the GPS triggers. To test the GPS triggers, you need to download your app content through the Tour Buddy App (see instructions here).  Once you download your content, you will turn ON the GPS triggers (see instructions here).  Then you will go to wherever your point is located with the app open.  When you are within 250 feet (50 meters) the stop for that specific GPS point will open and audio (if attached to the stop) will automatically play.  Yes, it’s that cool.


 

Adding/Creating Audio

Want to make an unforgettable experience for your users?  It’s all about the audio.  We have found that apps with audio get higher download numbers and much higher useage per session.  If your app is an audio tour, creating a script and high quality audio will make a dramatic difference.  Do you have to create a script?  No.  But we suggest you do.  

A script is different than information because it is meant to be read by a voice over artist or someone with a dramatic delivery that fits the tone of your tour.  This can be someone in your community who can help you create the script and audio or a professional.  Here are some tips from one of our voice over experts, Caroline Figiel on creating an audio tour.

However you decide to create your audio tour, the audio will need to be in mp3 format.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeeK2K-zqjg[/embedyt]


 

Clickable Content

Giving users a great story creates a great experience for them on location.  Want even more engagement?  Want to advertise certain places or events at specific stops?  Copy/paste a URL or phone number into each stop.  This can give users more resources on topics they are interested in, or contact businesses on your tour.  Providing information all in one stop helps the user understand the options and information available to them.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za9hxRSAb5k[/embedyt]


 

Adding a Custom Map

Upload a PDF or image file of your printed map.  Turn ‘ON’ the map markers to show users where each stop in on the custom map.  After you turn ‘ON’ the map markers, you will see a red box.  Move the red box on top of the stop for the selected stop.  

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhDzgU-q1rA[/embedyt]


 

Adding Video

Add links from Youtube or Vimeo to each stop.  You can just copy/paste the link for your video into the box titled ‘Video URL.’  Videos are great to give users a deeper understanding of your location or its history.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BAvvaqsI9c[/embedyt]

How to Use App Reports

See number of downloads and how visitors are using the app

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8df8dQ8k5c[/embedyt]

Now that your app is live, you will have access to two different types of reports.  App Figures reports and User Reports on the App Builder Website give you insight into your apps’ download numbers as well as how the app is being used.  Below is a detailed explanation for both types of reports.


App Figures Reports

Within a week of both your iOS and Android app of being published, you will receive weekly e-mails from a third party service called App Figures.  App Figures Reports pulls directly from the Tour Buddy developer account.  Inside the e-mail it will provide a download count for that week.  You can click on “Full Report” and see the following information:

  • Total number of downloads
  • Filter by device type (iOS or Android)
  • Filter by date
  • Show download numbers from specific countries
  • Revenue earned (if app is paid)

App Useage Reports

Reports on the App Builder Website give you analytics of user behavior inside the app.  These analytics show which stops are the most popular and how long users are spending in each stop.  Filters for the date give insights into usage throughout the year.

 

Single Guide Reports

Below is a screenshot and an explanation of reports for a SINGLE guide app:

Single Guide App reports example

Week/Month Filter Button

Use this filter to quickly show the usage in the app for the week/month.  Once you choose the week/month view, then you can filter the dates for the week or month with the date filter above the ‘App Info’ Section.  All of the data you then view will be filtered by the dates you selected.

Total Stop Views

This is how many times the stop has been viewed, which means the user clicked on the stop.  If the same user clicks on the same stop, leave it and comes back, this is counted as 2 views even though it is the same person.

Unique Stop Views

This is how many times the stop has been viewed by a single user.  These stop views only show the first time a user has clicked on the stop.  The Unique Stop Views does not count the same user clicking around on the same stops.  That is why it is titled as ‘Unique’ because it only counts the first time a stop is viewed by a user.

Average Time in Stop (Minutes)

This is the average number of minutes users are spending in each stop.

Users

The number of users who have viewed that stop.

Tips: You can press any of these filters to view the list from highest to lowest.  For example, if you want to see which stop users are spending the most time in, you would press the ‘Average Time in Stop’ to see the highest to the lowest.


Multi-Guide Reports

Below is a screenshot and an explanation of reports for a MULTI-guide app:

App Info

Guide Name

The main guide is the first guide on the list.  This is the guide that ALL of your users will download.  The list of guides below the first guide are all the attached guides.

Guide Downloads

Number of downloads for the specific guide.  (The overall guide downloads do not display for the main guide, only the child guides).

Total Guide Sessions

Number of sessions the user spent in the guide.  If they are in the guide, close out and come back to the guide, this counts as 2 sessions.

Average Time in Guide (minutes)

The average number of minutes that all the users spent in the attached guide.

Users

Number of users who downloaded AND opened that specific guide.

 

6 Ways to Get more App Downloads

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r4XtAdHcwg[/embedyt]

So you’ve just created an amazing app to tell your visitors the story of your amazing destination.  You’re done right? Wrong. Now you have to make sure your visitors know about it and how download it.  But, apps are only important and relevant if visitors are downloading them.  Sometimes getting the word out and grabbing the attention of a guest in person and online visitors is 90% of the battle.

So here are some battle tested tips for making sure that your visitors hear about and download your app so they can learn more about your story.    

1. Mention it on your Website and Brochures

App Store Badges

First things first.  On your website and brochures, tell visitors that you have an app!  Include the app store badges and link them directly to the App store and Google play listings for your app.  Make sure to include the name of your app (so visitors know what to search for on the app store) and a short blurb about what to expect like ‘interactive map’ or ‘professional audio’…etc so they know why they want to download it.

2. Put up a Sign at your Welcome Desk

The most important time to tell visitors about your app is when they are buying tickets or entering the premises.  We recommend putting a small sign that tells them to download your app with the app store badges and a short description.  You can also include an image or screenshot of the app so visitors can get a sneak peek before downloading it.  

 

3. Train the Staff

There is nothing worse than a visitor asking your staff about the app and receiving a response of ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t help you.’  So make sure your staff knows how to take a visitor’s phone, open the app store on the device, search for your app and download it.  Your staff will also be very valuable in telling visitors about the app so make sure they are familiar with it and can explain the virtues to your visitors.  If your app contains push notifications or GPS triggers, your staff should know to tell visitors to ‘allow location information’ and ‘allow notifications’ when they first open the app so that they can get the full benefit of these features.  

 

4. Post about your App on Social Media 

Mention your app on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat- whatever your preferred methods to reach your visitors.  Always state the name of the app, short description and include a link to the app store or a blog post about the app on your website for more information (more on that below).  

 

5. Ask for Reviews

A few positive reviews on the App store and Google play will encourage more people to download your app and enjoy your content.  So, don’t be shy about asking visitors to take a minute to review your app on the App store or Google play.  You can include a small blurb such as ‘Love our app?  Leave a review on the App store!’ on your website, welcome sign or in your social media posts.  

 

6. Write a Blog Post

In addition to the ‘download our app’ blurb on your website home page, its a good idea to create a separate page or post that includes images from your app a detailed description and the link to both to the App store and Google play where people can download it or learn more.  This will increase the opportunity for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and give visitors more information about what is in the app – so they will download it before or even after their visit. It also gives you a page to link to when you promote on social media or press releases – instead of linking directly to the app store.  This also allows you to more easily track click throughs and website visitor interest level in your app page.  

 

It sounds cliché, but the world is a small place.  The App Store and Google Play offer an international audience for apps and your app can reach people who may never visit your destination, but who are interested in your content.  The more context and awareness you can give to your app online and in person, the more downloads and engagement you will receive.  


Download our Infographic to share with your team

How to get app downloads