Daniel STILLER1 | Willem BEEX2
(1Omgevingsdienst Midden Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands | 2BEEX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Keywords: Apps, Municipalities, goals, general public, Cultural Heritage

More and more apps for mobile devices are being made with the goal of telling the story of our cultural heritage to the general public. Whether they actually reach the targetaudience or if the apps are being used a lot, is often a mystery.
In the Netherlands most apps are financed with public money by local government-organisations. When we were asked by a Dutch city to advise them about cultural heritage apps for the general public, we noticed and encountered several issues. In the Netherlands there aren’t that many apps solely for cultural heritage. And those that exist are often far from perfect and could easily be improved. Most apps, especially those with an archaeological subject, are also rather static. After the original development, new content is almost never added. The download-data show that many apps are not very often downloaded.
From the local governments-side there seems to be a lack of understanding of what could or should be achieved. Often one gets the impression that the only goal was simply to build or have an app. Often an development company gets a set of parameters (subject, a 3d model, etcetera) and the mission to build the app. Another known problem is limited funding, so the optimal system development cannot be reached. Lastly the promotion of apps is relatively sparse after the initial presentation. This results in a initial burst of downloads, followed by a very slow trickle of new downloads afterwards.
Not every problem mentioned above can be easily solved, but a better understanding of the possibilities, combined with a better promotion, will lead to better apps and a better use of them by the general public. As a result the same amount of (public) money will give a better return-rate, while the awareness of Cultural Heritage will improve.

Relevance conference:
Presentation and/or unlocking of cultural heritage through apps for the general public happens on a ever larger scale, but how effective is the use of these new technology.

Relevance session:
New realities through apps are more and more used, but how effective are the apps?