In today’s era, “no internet” is a scary word. We are currently residing in a time where having a digital presence is of utmost importance. A world where if there is no activity being conducted on the internet; it raises questions about existence itself. Surpassing the hype, Augmented Reality (AR) is here and now and just waiting to take over the mainstream industries.
One of the shocking facts found on AR was the sheer size of its user base. The tech is set to grow to a staggering 3.5 billion by 2022; which is more than 1/4th of the world’s population. And that’s the reason why sister markets are reshaping themselves so quickly.
Seemed far-off and futuristic to many, the tech today is seamlessly absorbed into our day to day lives. Pokemon Go is one of the best and a recent example which comes to mind when thinking about AR (and also something which got people hooked to AR) . The game was beyond imagination when it was released and even now has people hooked. I mean who would have wondered about getting acquainted with a technology that has the ability to view the actual physical world reality elements in a single go. Mainly in the form of audio/video, as graphics/GPS overlays, the concept of augmented reality is all about computer-generated input data.
During the initial stages, the tech seemed to be a costly-venture, available for exclusive high budget equipment. As time passed, businesses have now got chance to work over their dream concept in much economically reliable rates – all thanks to disruptive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, Chatbots, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Augmented Reality for UX is a true blessing!
Either you live by them or royally ignore, escapism is not an option! And Bad UX and potential data breaches always tend to keep business leaders up at night. And yet remarkably, ongoing projects of this nature often take the back burner. I’ve seen it time and again. Fortunately, UX designers are seen welcoming AR especially to bring out possibilities of more lively graphics; irrespective of the project. It may quite interest you to know that AR has enormous benefits associated when combined with UX designs. In addition to this, we have succeeded in bringing out all the out of the box aspects in a multi-dimensional manner into the real world projected at improvising the existing standards and showcasing more practical elements that were nothing but presumptuous in the earlier era.
Let’s hold off on that for a second, and start somewhere else. “Augmented Reality in UX” is the concept something that site owners and managers need to be conscious of and sensitive to?
- Creativity– Augmented Reality allows a considerable degree of creative and expansive thought in its use. Those applications that already exist even have some scope when it comes to innovation and improvisation. The technology seems to become more adaptable and complex at once.
- Increase in engagement– An increased level of engagement with the end-user is now possible! Also, it hooks users in such a way that little else could compete with (but see Obsessive use under Drawbacks).
- Feedback– Real-time feedback, stimulation of activity to a thousand users, provides significant help in improving their perception of whatever tasks are being undertaken. Feedbacks also guide them through potential pitfalls or blind alleys. Without a shadow of a doubt, these elements can also serve to reproduce real activity in a virtual environment.
- Accessibility and portability– In order to work appropriately, AR needs to be accessible from multiple devices and portable. This increases its potential usefulness by a significant amount.
- Aid to Understanding and Usage– It may quite interest you to know that AR can stimulate actions it can virtually walk the user through a routine or activity without the need for complex messages or instructions thereby eliminating many errors and frustrating misinterpretation or misunderstanding of directions.
- Security– One of the major concerns is security when it comes to sharing a significant amount of sharing data with different sites and applications.
- Obsessive use– Another possible concern is obsessive use; especially in regards to social and cultural fields, as more and more people are seen spending significant amounts of time online with websites and social media and, perhaps, start to lose a sense of being in touch with reality.
Certain Points to Take Into Account When Designing Augmented Reality Experiences
- Environmental Design- This is the phase were people will be engaging with your application. Whether it’s walking down a city street or driving down a country lane or even better like attending a heavy metal concert, the environment can be anything! Your device simply acts as a window into the AR world. Do not forget your end user and do not overdo things, especially in regards to UI placement, color, or size.
- Interactive design- 3D materials or animated media, are certain elements through which you can interact within ‘window’ of your phone screen. Besides, the context also drives possible interactions that a user can expect from AR design experiences. 3D volumetric mainly interacts with light and shadow, whereas the animated menu comprises of things like images and videos rendered in a new context for AR. For instance, Snapchat v/s Pokemon Go v/s Furniture/Car Staging – irrespective of the attempts; they all are meant to encourage the user to reach the end goal.
- Visual and Audio Cues- Clues are basically to inform the end user what elements of the UI are designed to be interacted with and how to interact with them. Try using on-screen UI or show off-screen elements to encourage end users to look around. Also, you can add hover states to buttons and highlighting interactable elements just to make sure that they don’t miss any great thing. Give the user feedback, especially video feedback that shows something which is about to come. Much like visual indicators, using audio cues allows a user to notice off-screen objects and incentivize him/her to view the full 360 space.
- Color and text- The science of color theory in print, mobile, web, and the rest of your life, hope you know it. Similarly in AR, try using contextually and culturally appropriate colors; for example, green means go, red usually means no or stop; blue is the color of “technology” and “the future.” Complementary designs have a high contrast primarily when used next to each other. It is never sensible to make people’s eyes bleed.
- Find what works- Hopefully, you know what the significance of experimenting for 2D experiences is. Similarly, it is crucial for Augmented Reality. Tailor your survey among several participants, make sure you keep questions short and to the point- utilize smaller words. Don’t ask leading questions, and don’t ask questions that can be answered with a Yes or No. Instead, ask them open-ended questions — What, Why, How? You’ll get much more detailed responses about their personal gameplay mechanics.
Below, I would like to shed some light on specific industries that are or will be dominated by AR experiences.
1. AR in Retail– One of the prime industries where AR is seen making its mark is the retail industry. One cannot deny the fact that they have innovated and improved shopping experiences to a great extent. With the ability to try before you buy, a severe reduction has been found in the customer churn. It may also interest you to know that people have started making unplanned purchases- all thanks to the tech’s influence. And how can anyone forget the enhanced shopping experience customers are receiving- all thanks to AR. We no longer have to drive 1000 miles to a store, wait in long tiring lines, searching among endless aisles for that one item needed. That day isn’t far away when one can view all the products that they want to buy online using AR. For example- Alibaba, it features VR shopping, allowing shoppers in China to browse and buy all over the world. Another interesting example is IKEA Place- where people can experience as well as experiment and share how good design is capable of transforming any space, such as a home, office, school or studio.
2. AR in Utility- Before we delve into best examples for AR utility, let me get you acquainted with how AR works. There are a couple of tools that must be taken into account such as Lens studio– Here you can create your own magical AR experiences and share them on the most used augmented reality platforms in the world such as Snapchat. Another interesting tool is Maya, where you can create 3D models and animations then add them to Lens Studio to be exported to Snapchat. Building unparalleled augmented reality experiences has now become possible for hundreds of millions of users on iOS , i.e., the biggest AR platform in the world- all thanks to ARKit. For example, check into an Airbnb and you will be equipped with an AR map that incorporates all the amenities and instructions on how to use them.
3. AR in Medical– With appropriate visualization, complex medical conditions can be explained to patients quite easily. In addition to this, such technology also reduces the risk of operation by giving the surgeons improved sensory perception. Anatomy is such a powerful tool used by surgeons effectively.
4. AR in Gaming– As I said before, Pokemon Go’ has been gaining momentum these days. There is no denying the fact that augmented reality is on the upswing, especially in the gaming realm. Apart from that, Ghost Snap, Zombies, etc. have created a sensation & excitement across the globe.
5. AR in Automotive– It may quite interest you to know that there are many automakers in the present era making use of AR technology before they create a physical prototype. More importantly, several car dealers have begun introducing the tech in their showrooms due to the ease of use, customized features, transparency, etc. This technology can also be used to enhance the driving experience through displays. AR serves as a safety feature as well as a convenience, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road rather than instrumental panels or navigations.
In fact, companies including BMW and Hyundai’s Genesis imprint have developed AR owner’s manuals. When installed on the owner’s mobile device, the apps use computer vision to identify components of the interior cabin or engine, overlaying relevant information over the car’s real world components to take the mystery out of owning an automobile once and for all.
Without a shadow of a doubt; Augmented Reality is the future of UX
This is a partial list; I could go on and on with AR in education, business, travel & tourism, navigation, marketing, manufacturing, real estate, and so forth. Some of the worthy mentions include:
- Unlike traditional gimmicks, AR offers an innovative attire across the globe where the difference between virtual and real world has been blurred in such a way that everything feels more authentic and enriching.
- AR in business marketing can significantly improve your business revenue in the long run.
In the end, technologies are full of possibilities; it’s time to show what you are made of; however radical events may be. Augmented reality is worth giving a shot.
Want to learn more?
If this article got you intrigued into this fascinating and novel concept of Augmented and Virtual reality and you’d like to learn…
- How to design for AR and VR from novel and unique perspectives
- The three keys to designing for this new medium: Storytelling, Imagineering, and improvisation
- Practical tips to avoid known UX problems when designing for AR and VR
… then consider to take the online course How to Design for Augmented and Virtual Reality. If, on the other hand, you want to get an industry-recognized Course Certificate in UX Design, Design Thinking, UI Design, or another related design topic, then consider to take an online UX course from the Interaction Design Foundation. For example, Design Thinking, Become a UX Designer from Scratch, Conducting Usability Testing or User Research – Methods and Best Practices. Good luck on your learning journey!