The Great Exhibition of the North was the biggest event in England in 2018, attracting over 3.8 million people to Newcastle and Gateshead.

For 80-days between June and September, visitors explored exhibits, performances, cultural displays, and celebrations of technology and innovation. Organisers NGI needed a way to guide visitors around the Exhibition with ease.


Product Strategy

Product Design

Software Engineering

Platform Engineering

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The challenge

The Great Exhibition of the North hosted multiple exhibits, performances, cultural displays and celebrations of technology and innovation across a wide geographical area.

Many of the 3.8 million people who came to the Exhibition visited the event from outside the region. Our challenge was to develop a product that would help visitors get to the exhibits they were interested in with ease.

Our client wanted the Exhibition to build a sense of local pride throughout the region, change perceptions of the North, and deliver a compelling legacy.

Our response needed to:

  • Curate the information about the exhibits on offer
  • Combine exhibit information with helpful visitor information on the Newcastle and Gateshead region
  • Distil two streams of information down into a digestible format
  • Be easy-to-use
  • Add to and enhance visitors’ experience of the Exhibition

"The UX and UI experience when entering the platform is one of the best I have ever seen, and I still reference it today."

Steve Blanks — Digital Champion of Great Exhibition of the North

The solution

Shout Digital developed a Wayfinder App that curated content on the Great Exhibition, together with useful visitor information about the region. The app used the Google Maps Directions API.

We embedded the needs of real people – and especially children – throughout the app and based the customer experience on focus groups and workshops held with community groups and schools during an in-depth discovery phase.

The immersive gaming function within the app saw us consulting with over 600 local school children to choose characters and test the app’s usability and user experience.

Geofencing technology added another dimension, with content that users could trigger at each venue and exhibit. Visitors were encouraged to engage with the app and share images of themselves and their families enjoying the Exhibition.

The app allowed visitors to:

  • Plan their trip in advance
  • Navigate the Exhibition’s event trails with ease
  • Unlock added content about the exhibits
  • Interact with immersive gaming character around the exhibits
  • Calculate the time needed between visits to each attraction
  • Engage with the Exhibition’s social media platforms

The result

The Great Exhibition of the North app was downloaded over 12,000 times across both Android and iOS platforms by national and international visitors to the event.

The app curated a large volume of content to create an easy-to-use customer journey that helped visitors to find their way around an event in a large, geographic area.

3.8 million

visitors to the region

Supported and guided by the app

4.8/5 average rating

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on the iOS App Store


120 venues supported

Over 120 venues accross the region were supported by the app

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