The University of St Andrews has added a number of interactive 360 degree “virtual tours” throughout the website (see http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/visiting/Virtualtours/). The tours give visitors to the website the opportunity to explore different parts of the University from the comfort of their PC. There are four types of tours that have been taken:
- Outside locations e.g. St Salvator’s Quad
- Internal locations that are used for graduation, conferences and weddings e.g. Younger Hall, St Salvator’s Chapel, Lower College Hall
- Rooms within halls of residence
- Locations within Schools e.g. a clean room with the School of Physics and Astronomy
The tours give a unique insight into locations that are normally restricted to the general public so this help visitors, such as prospective students, decide whether to book a venue or rent accommodation. Parents have particularly appreciated the ability to see the venues for graduation.
The high quality virtual tours were taken by Full Visual, a company based in Edinburgh. Their very reasonable cost has enabled us to commission tours of bedrooms and kitchens from each of the University halls of residence. Compared to conventionally commissioned 2D photography, the virtual tours are very cost effective, especially when you consider that each tour is comprised of over 100 photos!
Quicktime vs Flash
The tours on the University website are currently in Quicktime movie format. The website will be updated in the near future with tours in Flash, which is more universally supported by web browsers and provides a better user experience e.g. controls are overlaid on the screen to allow the user to zoom in and out of the tour.
So, if you want to give visitors to your website a unique view of your university, I would highly recommend the friendly staff at FullVisual!