Augmented Reality experience demystified

15 best practices to apply in the expanded world of perception.

Any technology description wouldn’t be complete without some advice and recommendations regarding methods of use and common pitfalls. Here we will list the 15 best practices to apply in the expanded world of perception. Not all of them refer to an AR experience, but some aspects may still appear as the experience evolves with new ideas.

  1. Not all devices give support to the same scope of AR experience.
    Although there are plenty of current iOS devices on the market, there are older versions that are still a consideration for developers. Design your scenes to gracefully omit more advanced features or hide the dependent feature altogether.
  2. Adjust the experience to different screen sizes.
    Make sure that a complete experience is possible even on the smallest devices. Avoid miniaturisation. Instead;
    • provide hints and allow for changing context
    • build more contexts of a smaller scope
    • design and test the experience on devices with different screen sizes and in different environments
    When you use your app in a small space, you should pay special attention to scenarios. Provide users with the necessary guidance and downgrade the experience elegantly. It is also essential to try to accommodate various setups.
  3. Reconsider the usefulness of AR in your app.
    AR experiences play well when delivering extra features that allow task achievement with significant ease. AR is ideal for full-featured games embedded in closed spaces. AR enhances imagination and is very engaging. Accordingly, another critical area in which AR technology can be used is education.
  4. AR works best when used on a full screen.
    Avoid cluttering the scene with controls, text or too many objects. Instead, use high-quality assets. Be careful while generating this exact load on the processing power of the device that creates a real-world illusion and still doesn’t hinder performance, because a human eye quickly notices downfall when the frame rate drops below 60.
  5. Do not describe the environmentwith loads of text.
    Use audio and 3D visual hints. Make entry-level as low as possible. If appropriate, build several smaller experiences.
  6. Some glare effects when they are too familiar can distort rendering reflections.
    Be moderate when applying effects, so as not to apply to many. It is, so they don’t collide with those deduced from the environment. Conversely, make any hints in a minimal user interface easy to discern from virtual objects. They should easily catch user interaction. All the types of controls and buttons that appear in the AR scene must be very distinct from everything else so that the user can differentiate them at a glance.
  7. Be careful not to make too many objects interactive.
    Do not make too many objects interactive at the same time. Apart from performance considerations, it may cause confusion and accidental interactions. Provide sufficient touch area boundaries with comfortable spacing between them, which the user will appreciate in board game apps and similarly cluttered apps.
  8. In the case of physical interaction with objects, use background music and audio effects.
    The real world is not mute, so the augmented one should not be different. Supply physical effects with suitable sounds which resemble the real ones.
  9. When displaying some extra information, place it on a static screen.
    Owing to the above, instead of the changing scene, the user will focus their attention on the contents. Refer to objects by using graphics and a moderate animation. A placement indicator designed to be associated with your app is the way to mark exact places where the user is supposed to move or put virtual objects. Make them easily distinguishable from objects themselves.
  10. Think of how the user will explore a scene and gradually introduce other various parts of the virtual world.
    Ideally, ensure that the user has already learnt the basics before getting into a more advanced interaction. Include any helpful guidance or on-boarding and allow revision of its content. When the user doesn’t have to move a lot, favour direct object manipulation with standard gestures. But when the user needs to explore and move, allow this movement through the use of controls. Every object interaction should be simple. For example, rotate only in one axis, cruise only in two dimensions at the same time, and do not mix rotation with movement. Predictable placement and transparency of the control icons that users often use are crucial here. They should not get in the way when interacting with the scene, or be difficult to access.
  11. Take care of user comfort.
    Keeping the device in the same position for a long time can cause unnecessary fatigue. Design the experience so that the user’s movement is factored in. Avoid strange angles and a short distance to see or interact with the scene. Do not encourage fast and sudden movements. If done right, the virtual environment makes users unaware of the proximity of real objects and may be dangerous. While looking at the device, you may forget that you have a wall next to you. The sudden movement of the hand may end up hitting the wall or another participant.
  12. Prioritise fast response over accuracy.
    It is always easier to correct the position of a misplaced object than to introduce delays to user actions. For even better experience employ appropriately long animation.
  13. Use object scaling to present details.
    But do not do it to put the object in perspective. A feature that enlarges objects best suits objects that are not real, i.e. the planets in an astronomy app. Win user attention by animating objects when the user moves around the world. It gives the impression that the world is alive and responsive.
  14. For collaborative scenes allow people to join during the experience.
    Of course, only if it is possible. Plan user interaction to map a comfort zone for every user. Remember that a user might not see the other when looking at the screen.
  15. Make use of printed images and other objects to connect reality with virtual scenes.
    It will make setup easier and the experience more controllable to manage in different situations.
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