What is a good tour experience for library visitors?

Creating immersive mobile experiences for library visitors and new students

What is a good tour experience for library visitors?


The new James B. Hunt Jr. Library in Raleigh, NC, designed by the internationally acclaimed architecture firm Snøhetta, was expected to be a signature building that would attract many visitors. We needed a scalable way to offer tours and orient new students to the Libraries.


Phase I of the project involved investigation of tour app technologies, identification of project scope, market research on tour app vendors, and the creation of a prototype mobile website for “proof-of-concept” tests to discover if students enjoyed experiencing library orientation through an audio tour.

Phase II began after receiving funding approval from library administration to contract with a tour app vendor. As there was no money for custom development, I worked with the vendor to find work-arounds for issues we had with their templates. Their apps were designed to work for GPS-enabled tours of sites dispersed over a large area; the geolocation function didn’t work for our multi-floor building. I worked with a small internal team to map out the user flow, sketched out some wireframes, and then used the Prototyping on Paper app to test it out.

Pencil sketch of the mobile tour app flow

In Phase III, I project managed content creators and visual designers to create the needed assets on a tight deadline.


A report was produced after Phase I of the project to secure funding for the vendor.
After the app launched, we monitored download and usage numbers with Flurry Analytics.


The tour app covers NC State’s two main libraries and allows visitors to tour the new library according to theme or floor. The tour of D. H. Hill, the old main library, is geared towards new student orientations and saves a considerable amount of library staff time during the first week of school.