Virtual Tours for Schools
Choosing a design-led approach
Why should you choose a design-led approach? Most schools have virtual tours now. Yet, so many that we see published on websites are the same design as each other (or no design). Many tours created are in similar software to each other and they offer very little in terms of design or even consideration as to what the user might want to view, interact with or do on a virtual tour. Menu design, iconography, album and gallery designs – all are key features of a tour. Most tours out there, we could swap the logo to anything else and you’d never know. As a school – demand more from your tour provider, demand a design-led approach in your 360º virtual tour.
Your school’s virtual tour is exactly like your other digital assets – school website, school film, school prospectus. What is the number one ‘must have’ when you shop for a website or prospectus for your school? Good design? One must question why many schools choose less innovative virtual tour providers with no design elements and no attention to detail in the User Experience or their customers’ journeys? Schools have beautifully designed digital assets, with thought and care and detail put into every element. The exact same should apply to your virtual tour. In other words, choose a photographer, designer, coder, UX/UI specialist all rolled into one – a photographer alone may not tick all the boxes.
Look for Design elements
- Menu design is like website menu navigation – the tour should have useful ‘Headline’ information, the admissions journey and contact info, a welcome from the Head, videos and location info. What is in your website’s main navigation that would be integral to your prospective parent audience?
- Iconography is visual signposting and should reflect the character of the school and no other school. The tour elements should be school-branded, bespoke in the way they look and behave. For instance, Google Street View pointers and numbered ‘pin drops’ are off-the-shelf icons lacking inspiration. Think of other ways to inject iconography. Does your school have a certain way signage is displayed? Take a peek at the various icons, signposts and callouts used in OUR TOURS.
- Colour-ways. To reinforce the brand, use the schools’ primary brand colours throughout a tour. Secondary palettes, accent colours and what those colours represent internally should play a part of the design of a tour. Take a peek at King Edward’s Witley’s Tour and use of their secondary palette. The primary palette, colours from their crest – blue, red and gold – are considered traditional colours. However, their secondary palette is modern pastels in pinks, teals and yellows, which were used for icons and the backgrounds of albums.
- Typography is too often overlooked in a virtual tour and without the correct font usage and adherence to brand guidelines, it can really downgrade the feel of a tour and comes across as mismatched to the website.
- Designed features, overlays, animations, callouts and buttons are all elements that should be in a virtual tour and each should have a character close to the school’s character. Take a peek at Merchiston’s Tour at the animated Callouts to signpost spaces. These missed opportunities in school virtual tour can bring a tour to life.
It’s all about Brand Story
GOOD Design in a tour is such a crucial feature. You wouldn’t go with a website provider who couldn’t produce well-designed work for you, so treat your virtual tour provider the same.
The tour is NOT only about the photography, it is about your brand. It’s your story, it’s a visual representation of all that happens in the school. This is why a design-led approach to your 360º virtual tour is vital to telling your story.