Who of us wouldn’t have appreciated an accessible and comprehensive virtual tour of schools back when we were applying for college? And how easy would it have been for you if you could take the tour while chilling on Facebook?
Well, its seems one online walking tour company has realized that it’s best to reach students where they are: Facebook and smart phones.
In addition to providing virtual tours right on a university’s website, YourCampus360 has now developed a Facebook application that is accessible through a school’s Facebook page.
YourCampus360 is a virtual-tour online company focusing on connecting universities with prospective college students, and they have become the first of their kind to integrate their capabilities into schools’ Facebook pages. So far, it seems that a diverse array of institutions have incorporated the feature , including State University of New York at Stony Brook and Syracuse University.
The Facebook app is exceptionally easy to use for a student. Sitting comfortably among the tabs of the school’s page, the “virtual tour” takes the student to what is a essentially a replica of the virtual tours that YourCampus360 offers on the school’s official website. You can then choose to take a walking tour through campus, peek into classrooms, rooms, and other on-campus facilities, and also watch videos of the school.
The walking tour is pretty neatly organized: a Google map to the right gives a wider picture of what’s surrounding your chosen location, and a street-view window to the left works very much like Google street view. It’s fast, intuitive, and pretty to look at.
The three big icons in the middle-right of the screen are all destined to make students take action — either apply to the school, schedule an appointment, or learn more. It’s a smart way to keep schools happy while also inspiring prospective students to take the next step toward an education. The only quirk was that the tour guide below the maps automatically begins speaking, which might be disruptive for some; it would be nice for the audio to not start automatically.
The 360 feature is perhaps the flashiest of the features here. It really does go around 360 degrees, and does so quickly and well. It was my personal favorite because the picture was front and center and I wasn’t distracted by any other icons or possibilities. It allowed me to immerse myself in the experience completely.
When I asked the folks over at YourCampus360 about their future plans, they said they were also looking into adding campus-related games to the Facebook app, which would encourage students to interact more with the school.
What do you guys think? What other industries could benefit from this lively and interactive virtual tour features?