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Before publishing your tour, you’ll need to test it. Testing your tour is an important step in the process as it allows us to pick up on issues, and this saves you from re-recording sections of your tour later on. This is why we test the tour before you start recording the audio for your tour.

Once the script has been edited, we’ll add dummy audio to your tour for you so that you can experience your tour like any other user would. We use a fairly realistic robotic voice and provide you with a test walk report sheet. We’ll also provide you with a coupon code so that you can test your tour with family and friends. When you walk the route, pay attention to three things:

  1. The directions: If the directions aren’t clear, or they’re too long this can confuse the listener and can cause them to get lost. Directions need to be as clear and simple as possible.
  2. How long the audio plays: If the audio for one location is still playing when another location’s audio is supposed to start, then the audio in the other location won’t trigger and start playing. In this case, you’ll need to cut some of it or change the instructions you give to listeners. This generally doesn’t require a new recording, because you can edit parts of the existing audio out.
  3. Where the audio starts: A track can start too early, too later or it might not play at all. If it starts too early or too late, ask your editor to move the location. Try to be specific, by suggesting that the location is moved ten metres forward or five metres to the left, for example, or to a particular landmark. A track might not play at all if it wasn’t triggered due to the length of the previous track. If the length wasn’t an issue and the track simply isn’t playing, we’ll then need to troubleshoot this.

You can also test the tour once all your recorded audio has been submitted and uploaded to the tour. You can do this by logging into VoiceMap’s mobile apps using the same account you are using to create the route. Your unpublished walk will be listed along with all the others in your city, but will only be visible to you. This is usually the final test we run before publishing the tour. It allows us to pick up on any minor issues that may have been missed before hand and it’s also a great way for you to experience your tour like any other user.

Troubleshooting #

While testing you might run into the following issues:

  • Some locations aren’t playing audio at all
  • Some tracks aren’t starting when/where they should
  • You receive our Lost Warning

In most cases, we can determine what the issue is if you send us a screen recording of what is happening in the app while you’re out testing the tour. Most new phones have a built in screen recorder and you’ll find it in the pull-down menu at the top of your screen. If you’re unsure if your phone has one, a quick google search using your phone’s model will determine if you have one or not. If you don’t have one, there are plenty of screen recording apps for Android and iOS that you can install such as AZ Screen Recorder for Android and Record it! for iOS.

When recording your screen, please turn the volume up and make sure you’ve turned off VoiceMap’s pocket mode as this will help us see the screen. You won’t need to send us a recording of the entire tour, just the section that is problematic. You can also send us screenshots of what is happening on the screen but this is usually less effective in helping us determine what is causing the problem.

Some locations aren’t playing audio

If this occurs, the first step is to determine whether the track before is still playing when you reach the trigger for the problematic track. You can figure this out while on the test walk. If you’re in the trigger zone for the next track and the previous track is still playing, then it is too long. If you’re unsure, you can ask your editor to check if the track before the problematic one is over the word count. If it is the length of the previous track is the problem, you can always remove a few sentences or get the listener to stop.

If the length of the previous track isn’t the problem, then try listening to the tour at home in continuous playback mode. To do this, simply go to the start screen but instead of pressing Start Tour, select Continuous Play. You can then skip to the track before the problematic one and see if any audio plays. If audio does play, then please record your screen while out testing the walk. If no audio plays, let your editor know and they will check that the audio has been uploaded correctly.

Some tracks aren’t starting when/where they should

The GPS tracking is accurate up to the size of the location marker. This means that it won’t always start exactly where you want it to and where it starts can differ from device to device. If a track is playing a few meters too early or too late, it is best to ask yourself whether it affects the narration. In most cases, a couple of meters won’t affect the narration. If it does affect the narration, then ask your editor to move the location marker 10 metres forward, 30 metres backwards or 5 metres to the left.

Tall buildings and narrow streets can also interfere with the GPS signal which can cause a delay in the audio playing. You can determine whether there is GPS interference by looking at the map on your screen when you’re testing the walk. If the blue dot is bouncing around the screen, is lagging or where it is doesn’t correspond with where you are, then the likelihood is that there was an issue with the GPS. In this case, it’s best to record your screen and send your editor the recording. We’ll then enlarge the trigger zone and potentially move the location marker slightly.

You receive our Lost Warning

Our Lost Warning is an audio notification letting the listener know that they’ve gone off track and are no longer following the route line. It should only play when they’ve gone off track but sometimes due to GPS interference, it can play even when they’re following the route line perfectly. GPS interference can be caused by tall buildings, narrow streets or bad weather.

If, while testing the tour, you hear our Lost Warning then look at the map on your screen to determine whether where the blue dot is corresponds with your current location. If it doesn’t correspond and it’s a block or two from your actual location, then you’re probably hearing our Lost Warning because of GPS interference. Send your editor a screen recording and a detailed description of what occurred as this will help us determine the best cause of action.

In some cases, we may determine that the best cause of action is to disable the Lost Warning. We’ll usually do this for tours that go through tunnels or follow a narrow, walled pathway that only goes in one direction.