What’s New in Higher Education : Virtual Tours and Interactive Maps

September 10, 2020 by Brett Tesmer

Digital engagement has been growing since the 2000s and the 2020s this trend is only increasing. Having a well rounded digital strategy is vital. According to McKinsey, higher education is not immune to this trend. Even as in-person instruction returns, digital engagement in higher education is expected to remain high at a new normal. To ensure our clients can meet the demands of their students, staff, and communities we have looked to our clients themselves to develop new tools and use old tools in new ways with our interactive map and virtual tour software. 

Auto-Play

Our 360° virtual tour, 360° Tour now has two auto-play options, panoramas and audio. Within our virtual tour maker, Tour Builder, clients have always been able to auto-rotate the panorama for tour stops. The newly launched Valdosta State University virtual tour does not have its panoramas rotate automatically, while Whitter College’s 360° Tour does auto-rotate. Whether selected to have it automatically rotate or not, the end-user can turn it on or off to their preference. 

A new tool within the virtual tour software is auto-play for tour stop audio. Lynn University’s 360° Tour has auto-rotate for its panoramas but the stop audio does not play automatically. Kansas State University Foundation is the first client to take advantage of both auto-rotate and auto-play for audio for its virtual tour. Either way, adding audio to a virtual tour amplifies the power of the virtual tour

Concept3D is committed to providing virtual tour software with a suite of tools to create engaging media. However, this goes in tandem with our commitment to an accessible end-user experience. Auto-play elements do not comply with WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Any auto-play components within our software are set to off with the option to turn on.

Interconnected Virtual Tours

Virtual campus tours and interactive maps go hand in hand. Universities that utilize our interactive map and virtual tour software have access to two types of virtual tours, Map Tour and 360° Tour. The Map Tour is built directly on the interactive map. Macalester College’s 360 Tour links directly to its Map Tour, Twin Cities Tour, and vice versa. The 360° Tour shows the beauty of campus while the Map Tour shows much farther afield, life in the Twin Cities for those unfamiliar with the area. Clarion University has the 360 Tour best for those who cannot come to campus while the Map Tour creates a self-guided walking tour for those who do not want to join a formal tour. 

Buttons Creating Engagement

CTA buttons or calls-to-action do that just that get users to take action. Both interactive maps and virtual tour buttons are used to spur all sorts of actions. Arcadia University uses a drop-down button to link to YouTube videos while links to Instagram. 

It is not just within 360° Tour where CTAs can be leveraged for engagement. Heidelberg University uses the top bar buttons on the interactive map to create quick access to academic and athletics information. Palm Beach State College that has several campuses uses buttons to create a direct path to each location. 

Whether through interactive map walking tours or auto-play for virtual tours there many ways and multiple options to create engagement with university stakeholders. Contact us today to learn how map and virtual tour software can help you engage with your audience today. 

Topics: Interactive 3D MapVirtual EngagementVirtual Tour

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