Inveraray Jail is one of Scotland’s top attractions, with around 70,000 people passing through its doors every year.
Interaction is the name of the game and visitors have a ‘hands on’ experience from start to finish. But one fascinating part of the prison’s history remained distinctly un-interactive – the records of 4,345 former prisoners. The team wanted to bring these records to life in a simple, fun way, and also to find out more about their visitors.
Using technology to add to the visitor experience
Hoping that technology might provide the answer Gavin Dick, Inveraray Jail Manager, got in touch with local company SAMTEQ.
“The guys at SAMTEQ instantly understood what I wanted to do’, says Gavin.
“They said yes we can do that, but we can also do a whole lot more. They came up with their own ideas – like a virtual postcard and online surveys. Suddenly the kiosk offered all sorts of possibilities.”
An interactive kiosk that allows visitors to explore the prison records using a simple, intuitive touch screen was designed and built. Virtual postcards and an online survey were also added– a great addition to the visitor experience and an easy way to capture key visitor information, such as email addresses.
The kiosk backend provides a powerful but easy-to-use reporting and management system, so the jail can constantly monitor usage, analyse survey results and collect and manage data.
The kiosk was launched in August and took off immediately. It added to the visitor experience, giving people a fun way to delve into the prison records with search terms like ‘strange cases’, ‘transported to Australia’, and ‘your own name’. 7,706 were searches carried out in the first three weeks alone.
The online surveys and virtual postcards also proved popular with visitors. Within the first three weeks 200 people had sent postcards from the kiosk, spreading the word about Inveraray Jail to their friends and relatives.
Also, in just three weeks 168 people had filled in the kiosk’s online survey. That’s because SAMTEQ made sure it was short and simple, asking, for example, visitors to rate their experience using a range of smileys.
The kiosk’s powerful reporting function allows Gavin to monitor kiosk usage and analyse survey results. The emphasis is on user-friendly operation. The reports are easy to access and are illustrated with pie charts and diagrams.
“Paper surveys are hard work to collate”, says Gavin.
“The kiosk survey reports, on the other hand, are simple and automatic. I can get an overview of how we’re performing or I can burrow right down to a particular question at a particular hour – were people happy with how they were greeted at 1.00 pm on Friday?”
But perhaps the most valuable impact of the postcard and survey has been the capture of marketing information. In the first three weeks 300 new email addresses were collected and automatically added to the kiosk’s database, creating an easy-to-manage mailing list for future marketing.
“We’re delighted with the kiosk and it’s been fantastic to see our visitors, young and old, explore the prisoner records in this way. But the most surprising thing for us has been the amount of visitor information we’ve gathered”, says Gavin.