The Detour Guide

Welcome to Detour!

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Getting Started With Detour Platform

A Detour is one of the most engaging forms of storytelling there is.

If you have a story to tell there is no more immersive way to tell it.

We’ve made a lot of Detours, and we’ve made plenty of mistakes. Now we’d like to pass all of that learning on to you, so that you can make the best possible audio tour.

Let’s get started.

This is an overview of the 9 steps you'll take on the road to completing your Detour.

There are links to all the resources you’ll need along the way, so you can always refer back here if you’re not sure where to go next.

If you're making a series of Detours for use in one venue - like a museum or other cultural institution - you may want to consider creating a Guide. Guides have some unique characteristics which you can learn about here: Introduction To Guides.

The key concepts behind making a great Detour apply whether you're making individual tours or a guide so we still recommend starting with the steps on this page.

Step 1 - Download Detour Studio

In order to make a Detour you will need to use an application called Detour Studio. It’s easy to use, but like all new applications you need to take it out for a spin to get the hang of it.

If you don't already have it, you will need to download the Detour app on your phone so that you can test your tour.

  • Download Detour App for iOS
  • Download Detour App for Android

Step 2 - Draw Your Path

In order to begin building your audio tour, you need to make two important decisions:

  1. What is the purpose of your tour? What story do you want to tell?
  2. Where is your tour going to be?

You can start by going out and walking around the area you have in mind. Look for things in the landscape - signs, buildings, plaques, the activity of people and vehicles - the visuals you want to point out to tour takers. Visuals keep people engaged with their surroundings and tuned in to what you're telling them.

Every tour is different, but a good guideline is to look for a stop or visual cue every 2 blocks or so.

Step 3 - Write Your First Words: Navigation

Once you've laid down your path, the first thing you want to write is your navigation instructions. This isn’t hard, but you want to get it right - you don’t want people to get lost.

Step 4 - Check In Your Detour and Test It

Now you’ve got a route and some words - check your tour into Detour Platform's cloud, which we call Decentral, and head out to test it!

Tip: Use Field Notes While Testing Your Tour

You can use Field Notes to take notes in the Detour app while you're out testing you're tour. These notes will automatically sync with your Detour Studio Project and appear exactly in your script where you took them during your test.

You can use field notes to mark places along your route where you want to point out a visual, or to draft exact navigation instructions while you're standing on location. You can even take photos with field notes so that you have pictures to refer to later.

Step 5 - Write Your Script

Now it’s time to get down to business. One of the things you want to do before you write that first draft is figure out who your voice is - who is telling your story and guiding the Detour Taker. Is your narrator just a pleasant voice or do they have a personal point-of-view that you’re going to want to incorporate into your script?

Once you have a script written, or really any portion written, check it in and go test it out!

Step 6 - Record Your Voice Over

When your script is ready, it’s time to record the Voiceover that will guide your listeners.

Getting a Great Performance From Your Narrator!

We've learned a lot about how to work with people of all experience and skills levels to get a great VO performance. You can read some of our tips here: Working With Talent

Implement your Voice Over - that means importing the files to Detour Studio and aligning your Voice Over to the text of your script. Once you drag your recorded Voice Over into Detour Studio, the program will transcribe it, allowing you to edit the Voice Over just like you would edit text.

Step 7 - Sound Design

Now that you have your VO, add some music, sound effects and ambiance - how much is up to you, just remember to think about what the tour taker’s experience will be when they are walking your Detour in the real world.

Step 8 - Finishing Touches

Make sure you test your Detour thoroughly. Test at different times of day, and different days of the week. Get other people to test it for you.

This is also good time to add images to your tour if you haven't already. Navigation images help people find their way if they're not sure what they should be looking for and Call Out images add depth to your tour.

Step 9 - Publish Your Tour!

Write up your credits, select your cover photo, add information to the Tips & Hours
section, and submit your tour for publication.

Congratulations! Your Detour is ready for the world!


What's Next

Make a Practice Detour, start making your own, or get an in-depth look at Descript and all its features.

Tutorial: Make a Practice Detour
Make a Detour - Introduction
Descript User Guide - Introduction