One really interesting quirk in this kind of app design, which we only discovered through building and testing, was that users of the FVM app onsite were looking for a much different experience than users of the app offsite, and, surprisingly, a large number of our users were offsite when they accessed this app. This could be people trying out the app at home, before coming to the park, or it could be people looking for historical resources, or it could be people interested in National Park Service apps, or who knows what. ... As designers interested in knowing more about place-based media, we always just envisioned the app as an onsite resource. But the user patterns indicated secondary and tertiary uses as well, which we felt we needed to address somehow. We did not want to try to make a Swiss Army knife of apps, trying to please everybody, all of the time (and in the process pleasing no one). This FVM app is a research tool for learning more about net locality, or place-based media, but for offsite users, that approach would not mean anything to them. So we decided to use GPS triggering to determine where users were, in relation to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and, if they were not in the near vicinity, we made an animated sequence that encouraged visitors to come to the site by hyperlinking the fort's address (to Google maps), the fort's web site, and even activating the phone number, so if an offsite user touched the number, that person would be put in contact directly with a park ranger. The final screen of the animation looks like this (for the rest of it, you'll have to download the app after June 9, 2012):
Those who are onsite when they open the app (or move onsite with the app open) are welcomed with a much more complicated animation, that you just have to see in motion to appreciate. It starts with the gate opening and ends with the following screen, encouraging users to select one of the various interactive stories to experience (through the menu bar below this image, or by pressing the path text):
Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview
Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.
Video highlights from the apps (20-minute version)
This montage provides a short sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.