How do you deliver the world class, augmented reality Hollywood, 3D wow, best practice augmented reality? Here are 10 tips to help you get started. Feel free to add more in the blog comments.
1. Keep it simple! Firstly, why is it an AR experience? Then proceed. Also, don’t make it difficult for the end user to juggle markers or scan a POI app for most relevant items after several menu selections. You will get more augmented reality love by giving a brief based on simplifying the world technically speaking. If the AR app experience is all about sophistication, discovering new worlds and detail, then sure thing, the modelling can go to the nth degree, however for reaching Joe Average, KISS! Bear in mind whilst Augmented Reality mobile is the main form of AR experiences, at least one hand will be occupied and usually binding the user to it.
2. If marker based, beware of the marker to model ratio. For example, usually anything 10cm x 10cm will have a comfortable trigger distance of 100cm given normal lighting conditions. The YourSmurf AR app is a good example of keeping the model in proportion to the marker which triggers the experience. Poor AR apps often entice the user off and away from the marker.
3. Work with environment considerations. For example, from instructions through to activation, consider light conditions, scale and standardisation. Augmented Reality is after all delivered through a camera.
4. Seamless integration. This is what makes the AR app experience believable and leads to tech challenges like occlusion with our Taronga app or the crashing through of the poster in transformers http://www.tf3ar.com)
5. Consider cultural differences (reference to gesture control and art direction). Interactions make sense differently in Asia, EU and America’s.
6. Consider screen size (smart phone, tablet or PC) the user is viewing from and 3D detail and interface should be created accordingly. “Real estate” is precious on phones especially.
7. Don’t over complicate the steps in the app. The initial phase/s should be very intuitive and ideally guided by an overlay suggesting where to aim and maybe even what to expect from the interaction.
8. The user interface should be careful not to detract from the AR experience. Augmented Reality best practice interfaces often have an opaque overlay through a camera view as soon as you open the app.
9. Aim for a smooth and consistent frame rate – if this means you have to remove detail then do it! 24 fps should be a minimum ideally as that is often referred to as cinema quality. Some AR apps, with least actions required are heading towards higher frame rates. Ironically they are not the ones with intense game dynamics.
10. Work hard at the transition moment when the user beings tracking. The time when the animation is first superimposed on the real world is your time to record the verbal “wow”. This opening sequence needs feel natural just like the swipe to unlock or tap to receive a call on an iPhone. Many best practice augmented reality applications are now including a sketched overlay of what you should expect.
What would you add to this?
Have you seen some AR experiences that were good but could improve?
What is your prediction with AR UX improvements?