The hype about Augmented Reality is growing with each year, and more and more companies make it a part of their business. The future of AR seems even more exciting, meaning it can become an omnipresent technology. All this means a new era for UX design and AR design — more creative space for designers and a new exciting user experience. So, let’s explore how AR is changing the UX design and how to make the most of it.
AR is a relatively new technology, and even more recently it became available on mobile devices. Therefore, it is very important to keep usability in check. The issue that is usually related to Augmented Reality app design when usability is the lack of a user’s understanding of the navigation interface. Everything is new to a user, and considering that the AR design interface is a non-command one, meaning that the tasks are completed by using contextual information of real background, everything gets even more complicated.
Therefore, if you don’t want to confuse the users, you should keep everything simple, but user-friendly. You should remember that Augmented Reality compliments actual reality and it can’t overlay it. Especially when it comes to navigation apps, as it can become a disaster for users.
With that being said, we can outline five pillars of AR Design to make it more than user-friendly:
When creating an AR design, you need to understand that you are in control of how the user will perceive the world through your design. Moreover, you need to set boundaries where the 3D objects will reach and what happens within each of them. Meaning how people can place objects that are far away or very close. Moreover, you need to decide how those layers interact with each other.
The other thing to consider when creating an AR design is how the user will interact with it. As mentioned above, AR implies a non-command interface. That means the user applies gestures to trigger and control the AR object. Typically, it’s a hand gesture but can be a facial one like in the case of Instagram. Moreover, when creating an AR UI, you need to consider that it also can track the user’s gaze to determine their focus and initiate interaction. Usually, it often what the device camera is looking towards. This type of interface enables an intuitive way of interaction with the content layered over the real world but restricts other types of user interaction.
One might think that a no-command interface restricts designers when it comes to the creative process but it’s quite the opposite. AR’s no-command interface gives far more possibilities for a smoother and more exciting user experience. Firstly, the AR design allows us to decrease interaction needs. That means users don’t need to take explicit actions to achieve a certain goal. Moreover, this allows reducing cognitive load for users. The needed information is displayed automatically and the whole interaction is rather intuitive.
Furthermore, the AR is not only limited to mobile or desktop applications. The variety of devices that Augmented Reality can be run on is broad. One of the most prominent ones is head-mounted displays which are expected to achieve 69% CAGR in 2023. This creates even more possibilities for designers to create an enhanced user experience where almost everything is possible.
Another thing that is important to talk about is the design of AR objects. This aspect opens another space for UX design and plays a huge role in the user experience. You can play however you like with these objects and come up with amazing AR ideas but they always should fit into the environment. They should give users a sense of realism. Also, if you’re adding the sound to your AR object you should consider spatial audio. Meaning the sound will change in volume depending on how far the object is.
It’s already a well-known fact that AR is becoming more and more widespread. The companies are already actively using it for marketing purposes and there are a lot of AR apps available now. Moreover, Web AR is emerging, allowing users to access Augmented Reality without a dedicated app and is going to change UX design for the web drastically.
All this means that in the nearest future designers will work with Augmented Reality more and will have an opportunity to explore it further. Now, AR can be an unknown territory for UX designers, and they have to experiment a lot to get everything right. But in the nearest future, they’ll become more confident with it and will be able to deliver a spectacular user experience, that can be accessed on a variety of devices or even synchronized between them. Which will boost the usability of products and eventually can make users’ professional and everyday life much easier.
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