5 essential tips to create an Augmented Reality Experience that even your grandpa would love!

Sowmiya Selvakumaras

Sowmiya Selvakumaras

Associate Consultant, Emerging Technologies

Valerie Sandford

Valerie Sandford

Project Manager
ARQ Group

5 essential tips to create an Augmented Reality Experience that even your grandpa would love!

A successful Augmented Reality (AR) experience integrates the digital world and physical world seamlessly and any interaction should feel like you are interacting within a real-world environment. This makes the concept of traditional navigation design patterns redundant and leads us to develop a system that blends the digital and real world.

As per recent data, by 2024 there will be an estimated 1.7 billion mobile augmented reality (AR) users worldwide, a rise of 1.5 billion from the 200 million seen in 2015. In 2022, there will be an estimated 1.1 billion mobile AR users worldwide.

In this blog, ARQ’s Emerging Technologies experts will share five essential tips to creating a successful AR user experience.

1. Bridge the gap between real and virtual

For a seamless AR user experience, the transition between the real and virtual world must be smooth. The more virtual components simulate real-life objects, the better the end user experience.

We recommend considering how an object’s appearance changes as you get closer and re-evaluating if you need to make it sharper and clearer. Especially when the object is tethered to a real-world object like in a tracker based AR scene or a plane tracking AR scene.

There are certain features like casting shadows, simulating real world physics like gravity, acceleration of an object, adding right lighting, and reflection which have a significant impact on AR scenes.

Furthermore, you need to determine whether the user will be attempting to use the AR app from an indoor or outdoor environment. As, this will impact how you set up the environment texture and lighting. For reference this image shows how lighting and textures can have a significant impact on these two 3D models with the same polygon count.

Object Texture

2. Add 3D objects and animations to the experience

With recent technical advancements, incorporating 3D models into your AR experience has never been easier. 3D elements add a sense of depth and realism to the scene. The challenge is keeping it to an optimal size while also making it look realistic. One way to get around this is reducing the number of polygons and focusing on the textures and materials. Many 3D modeling softwares like Blender have plug-ins to perform this at a click of a button.

We also recommend you avoid including too many 3D elements as it can overwhelm the user and clutter up the screen space (real and virtual).

Polygon Reduction Effect
Polygon Reduction Effect
3. Choose the right digital and physical spaces
As augmented reality experiences are spatial and always interconnected with the real world, the environment plays a key role in the design process. The environment can be broken down into four zones, based on the distance from the user.
Users Level of Space
Most AR experiences incorporate intimate and personal space like face filters for example. While Pokémon Go is an example of AR experience used in social and public space. Thus assess the zones in which the AR experience will be used when curating it.
Your mobile phone acts as a portal to the AR world. The UI of the mobile phone needs to be such that it guides the user. The most prominent region of the mobile screen is the center. It is easy to overlook areas near the camera icon and corners.
The green zone in the figure below displays the best location for your virtual element. Hover over the image to find more details.
4. Guide the user through the experience 
Since many users are still new to augmented reality, it is essential that simple and clear instructions are provided to assist them through the experience.
Animated micro instructions and visual instructions should guide the user through the following steps to successfully launch and run an AR experience.
Previous slide
Next slide
It is important to note that the instruction should not overshadow the experience and should be as subtle as possible
When it comes to target tracking, adding visual cues of the target image will help guide the user through the experience.
Click and drag the hand to find the target
5. Keep the user engaged
To make it more engaging, get the user to be a part of the experience by including their input.
Make sure not to overload them with too many inputs. Simple gestures like screen tap, object tap, facial expression changes are ideal to be included. The image below shows the most actionable areas on the mobile screen, which are easily accessible with a swift movement of the finger. 

Through following these five tips you can ensure that your Augmented Reality experience is a success.

If you wish to know more about Augemented Reality Experiences, feel free to contact us at emerging.technologies@arq.group

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