Wyre Forest District Council Educational AR App

Wyre Forest District Council wanted an immersive AR app that would educate users about three local areas of Worcestershire and highlight the exciting local history to families and kids, to help encourage visits post-pandemic.

The app needed to be engaging and fun for the target audience, and what’s more fun than Horrible Histories meets Monty Python? This way, the educational information was packed-full of humour, and a little bit of chaos, to keep kids entertained without realising they’re learning!

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We collaborated with a local theatre company, the Rose Theatre, to create the characters and scripts. These people have a genuine connection to the local area and this collaboration proved to be extremely fruitful. It was great to see the passion the team had for this project, as they were able to bring their own local history to life.

The story features three ghostly Town Criers, one for each town. Stuck in ‘Limbo’, they appear flustered and asking the user for help. To transcend to their final destination, they must prove the rich heritage the town has to offer to a higher power. The user must help them locate a series of items to make their case, instigating the start of the trail, encouraging the user to go forth and seek out these items from the local towns people, each with a story to tell.

Once all the items are found along the trail, the Town Crier returns in an elated mood and summarises the trail for that town. If the user completes all three trails, there would then be a final scene that brings together the full experience, connecting the three towns and providing key messages about the local areas.

Collaboration between many DRPG departments, including Creative, Digital, Film, Copy and our Project Management team, was key for the app creation. We also worked with an external supplier who developed the trigger aspect embedded in the app. The app uses geo-fencing technology, meaning when a user reaches a designated region the AR is triggered.

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A crucial part of the digital experience, we introduced a series of gamification mechanics that maximise user engagement. When the user locates an item, the actor offers it to them, and the user swipes across to add it to their stylish satchel. Additional features include a progress bar within the map, placeholder silhouettes of satchel items yet to be obtained and badges for each town completed.

All trails exist in the same application and families can complete each trail in a single sitting through a variety of ways, from walking, cycling or even short drives. Each location was developed as a new level for the user to explore which contributed to the overall interaction. This means that in the future we could open the app up to other local areas.

Wyre Forest District Council were thrilled with the end result, and feedback from users has been incredibly positive. Talking about the project, the Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said, "We are really pleased to launch this exciting project which will be engaging for all ages and abilities. It’s great to learn about the area in an innovative and creative way and we are looking forward to hearing how residents and visitors enjoy the app."