HAND-HELD AUDIO GUIDE PLAYERS

Hand-held audio guide players


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS AN AUDIO GUIDE? 

An audio guide is an audio player device that allows a person to tour an attraction or museum by themselves, without the need for a local guide.

Note: Audio guides are an alternative solution to radioguides (tour guide system), which are systems used by guides composed of a wireless transmitter with a microphone and several headphone receivers for the tourists. Visit the tour guide system page to learn more.  radioguides - Tour guide System

HOW DOES AN AUDIOGUIDE WORK?

Descriptive audio files correspond to the different stops the user will independently follow on a route. These are stored in the memory of the audio guide device. When the visitor arrives at a point of interest, they must play the audio assigned to that stop. A point of interest could be a monument, an impressive building, a display case, or a painting, etc.

Audio guides are often used without headphones. Instead, audio is produced through an internal speaker which blends the audio with the ambient sound of the location.

In places where excessive noise from audio guides would be unacceptable, for example in cultural centers, the maximum volume of the audio guide can be restricted. Furthermore, when visitors pay for an audio guide individually, it is standard practice to restrict the device’s maximum volume to avoid the possibility of it being shared between several users.

Using headphones is only recommended when it is necessary for the user to have two hands-free during the tour.
In situations where the user is walking and listening to the audio guide in urban areas with traffic such as a city center, a monaural headset should be used. Do not use headphones because they make it difficult to hear oncoming traffic.

Headphones can be fitted with hygenic covers.

headphones for audioguides
hygiene pads
monaural headset
magnetic loop

Users who have a hearing aid or a cochlear implant can listen to the audio guide with total clarity via a magnetic loop (see image) which complies with IEC 60118-4 international standards and is symbolized by the letter T.



SIGNALING

Whenever possible, the points of interest of the audio guide are indicated to the tourist through a sign that shows the audio number they must play at that location. The user must enter the audio number into the audio guide's keyboard and press the PLAY button to start the audio file.

Here we will see some examples of such signage.  

audioguide tour
audioguide tour

In situations where it is impossible to install signage at stops along the route such as an outdoor tour through city streets, a common alternative is to provide the audio guide user with a small map or brochure in which all stops on the route and their corresponding audio numbers have been marked.  

list of monuments - audio guide tour
map of the tour



AUDIOGUIDES IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES 

When an audio guide tour is available in several languages, the audio files are grouped by language, and the user must select their preferred language before starting the tour (language 1, language 2, language 3, language 4, etc). All available languages must be stored in the audio guide memory.

The process to change the language depends on the audio guide model. In most models, a sequence of buttons must be pressed which the user must already know. Another possibility is that the audio guide has a button on the keyboard dedicated exclusively to cycling through languages. This second option is easier for the visitor and streamlines the work of the staff who oversee the tour. Bear in mind that one of the key objectives of an audio guide is to be intuitive for adults and children. No explanation should be required.

change of language - use audio guide

When numbering the audio files, it is highly recommended that the audio for each of the stops along the route be given the same number in each language. This way, there will only be one audio number for each point of interest, regardless of the number of languages. Otherwise, the signage will be overly complicated because each point of interest will have several numbers, one for each language, which you can see in the following example.

audio indication different numbering
audios triptych

HAVING SEVERAL ROUTES IN THE SAME AUDIOGUIDE 

There are two implementation methods for when it is necessary to have several routes available in the same audio guide device:

Option 1

The first route makes use of the first languages available in the audio guide. For example, if the first tour has 4 languages, it will use languages 1, 2 3 and 4. The second route will use the next available languages. If the second route has 3 languages, it will use languages 5, 6, and 7. If there is a third route, it will use languages 8, 9, 10 ...

Option 2

All routes share the same language. The first tour will use the first numbers of each language. For example, if the first tour has 18 audio files in each language, the audio files in each language numbered from 1 to 18 will correspond to the first tour. If the second route has 11 audio files in each language, the audio files in each language numbered from 19 to 29 will correspond to the second tour. If there is a third route, the audio files in each language numbered from 30 onwards will be used.