Riddle Route Posted on Apr 11th, 2012

Project on Github

Over the past few months I have been hard at work on a university project called 'Riddle Route'. I have worked collaboratively with Katya Lukjanova (an MA student) to bring the project to a semi-commercial level for the Winchester Cathedral. The project itself is a web app that utilises QR Codes to provide a treasure hunt style experience for the cathedrals younger visitors. The cathedral frequently has small groups of children visit, typically on school outings. The cathedral wanted to provide a modern approach to the children's learning and attempt to engage them more, sometimes in issues too complex for them to fully grasp. The basic premise of the app is that the visitors use a QR Code scanner on a mobile device to scan the codes strategically placed around the cathedral. Then the visitor is presented with a riddle and an input box to answer the puzzle. What also helps to enhance the experience is that the app records the users score and presents them with a visual score screen at the end of the tour.

To achieve this quick storage of the scores, I decided to use HTLM5's localStorage feature. Here is a brief example of how I went about storing the data in localStorage:

$url = 'riddle1';
$currentScreen = 'incorrect';

function scoreStore(){  
  localStorage.setItem($url, $currentScreen);

function scoreTotal(){ $a = Array(); for (var key in localStorage){  

The reasoning for this was, phone signal strength is fairly intermittent around the cathedral. Using localStorage allowed for the user to store a persistent score, without having to keep connecting to a remote database. I feel this worked out pretty well in the end. Upon completing the tour, the child can obtain a certificate from the information desk that they then sign, to show they have completed the tour. We recently ran a field test with a small group of children at the cathedral and received some really positive results. This approach has proved successful so far and has helped to engage with the young visitors on a deeper level. We are now at a stage where we will put in a bid for funding to further the project. Hopefully once things are organised, I'll be able to include a preview of the app on my site. All in all, it's been a really interesting project and I'm glad I got involved.