Augmented Reality in UX/UI Design

Augmented Reality in UX/UI Design

January 20, 2020 0 By Ideaction
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Augmented Reality, alongside Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Machine Learning and Blockchain, is absolutely shacking up the landscape, becoming one of the most ranked innovative technology. Unlike VR, which immerses you into virtual reality, AR expands the present reality with technology. Its principle is to apply computer-generated virtual information, such as text, images, 3D models, music, video to the real world after simulation. 

How does it work?

This technology operates due to specific requirements: device position and orientation in order to sync our virtual world with the real world, camera data and scene understanding which practically means finding surfaces to place an object on it or to estimate lightning on it. In this way, the AR technologies use programs that analyze the incoming video stream, download extensive information about the scene and superposes on it relevant data, images or animations, often in 3-D- all of this in real-time. 

AR can be created and used in many forms and domains. For instance, Google Glass displays 2D images onto see-through glasses, while Microsoft’s HoloLens embeds 3D images into the world around you. 

NextSteps – Finding your next appointment has never been this easy

At Ideaction we have already helped our clients to develop web applications that feature AR. A great example is NextSteps, an indoor wayfinding tool that has a novel approach, providing accurate navigation that features calendar integration and augmented reality. Basically, once the user downloads the app on the phone, enters the desired destination, including all the details (floor, department, conference room, airport gate etc.) thanks to the Room Locator, the app will provide total transit time and augmented guidance every step of the way. Additionally, with the calendar integration, you’ll receive pre-appointment alerts, the total transit time and a dynamic ETA until arrival at the meeting destination. And most important, due to the Augmented Reality Wayfinding, just one-click on the calendar will provide step-by-step guidance to your final destination with a digital path right on the screen. Easy, useful and interactive! No more stress and rush to find the room before your job interview!

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AR is set to transform the user experience through UX design 

With AR, designers change the way users communicate with apps. UX designers and app developers have to adapt their design to make sure that they are leveraging the AR technology unabridged. The user experience is progressively shaped by the interaction with the overlay objects, immerse in games, and revamped information around them. Let’s take a broader look at some of the changes that have been made with AR. 

Giving real-time feedback- AR mixes the digital information with the real world, giving real-time feedback to the users. For instance, apps enabled to read temperatures, can mimic various cooking stages and the ones with integrated GPS or room locator, offer you a digital path on the screen, instantly alert to the potential hazards of your surrounding environment or if you just got the wrong direction.

Making common tasks easy with interactive design – Any AR interaction involves gestures that produce an instant result. These gestures are visual, sound or intuitive based. These features of AR technology in the context of UX design mean a huge reduction of the cost to interact. Imagine that you sit in front of a shoe-shop. You want to buy a new pair of shoes. Commonly, it means that you need to try the pairs you like and choose the one that fits you the best. If it’s not your size, you should make an extra effort to ask for the right size and wait for it. However, with the help of AR, users can simply stand in front of a mirror-shaped display which can allow them to choose different shoes and display them immediately. There won’t be any need to go through various physical actions to achieve the same goal. 

Leave visual and audio cues – It is the UX designer’s job to induce to the end-user what UX elements are designed to be interacted with and how to do it. Using on-screen UI or showing off-screen elements to encourage end-users to look around, will make the AR experience much easier and interactive. Besides visual indicators (highlighting interactable elements to show the right way), you can use audio hints which allow the user to notice off-screen objects and stimulate him to view the full 360 space. The mission of AR is to reduce the user’s cognitive load and anticipate the actions they should make. 

To sum up, Augmented Reality is a new challenge for UX/UI designers. They should explore this field and revamp it in order to create innovative experiences for app users. To do that, they should consider some important elements, like: 

  • The size of the content, which is determined by the distance between the user and the piece of content;
  • To keep the overall layout as natural and real as possible; 
  • Consider light estimation: make the visual objects respond to light with appropriate shadowing and reflection. Or, if lighting conditions aren’t optimal, they may consider adding a cue to instruct the user on how he/she can adjust the lighting to enhance the experience. 
  • Design for a diverse set of users: everyone is different and has different abilities. This is an aspect that UX/UI designers should take into account when designing AR apps. Let’s see them pushing boundaries in AR accessibility and adapt it by considering the market needs.

Augmented Reality is the present and future. If you have an idea and motivation to make it real, feel free to contact us. Whether you just need to revamp your product or want to develop a new mobile app from scratch, Ideaction has the expertise and the resources to help you. 

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