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. Let’s list some of the most prominent points. Not all of them refer to an AR experience, but still some aspects of these can appear when the experience evolves with new ideas.
- Not all devices give support to the same scope of AR experiences.
Although there are plenty of current iOS devices on the market, they are still a consideration for developers. Design your scenes to gracefully omit more advanced features or hide the dependent feature altogether.
- Adjust the experience to different screen sizes.
Make sure that 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, pay special attention to scenarios. Provide users with necessary guidance. Downgrade the experience elegantly. Try to accommodate to various setups.
- 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 key area in which AR technology can be used is education.
- AR works best when done full screen.
Avoid cluttering the scene with controls, text or too many objects. However, 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 easily notices downfall when the frame rate drops below 60.
- Do not describe the environment with loads of text.
Use audio and 3D visual hints. Make entry-level as low as possible. If appropriate, build several smaller experiences.
- Some glare effects when they are too common can distort rendering reflections.
Be moderate when applying too many effects, so they don’t collide with those deduced from the environment. Conversely, make any hints, a minimal user interface easy to discern from virtual objects. They should easily catch user interaction. All kinds of controls and buttons that appear in the AR scene must be very distinct from everything else. So that the user would see them at a glance.
- Be careful.
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 together with comfortable spacing between them, which the user surely will appreciate in board game apps and similarly cluttered apps.
- 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.
- When displaying some extra information, place it on a static screen.
Owing to the above, instead of the changing scene, the user focuses attention on contents.Refer to objects 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.
- 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 basics before getting into a more advanced interaction. Include any helpful guidance or on-boarding and allow to revise 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 moving an object with controls. Every object interaction should be simple. For example, rotate only in one axis, move 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.
- 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. It may be dangerous. While looking at the device, you may forget that you have a wall next to you. Sudden movement of the hand may end up hitting the wall or another participant.
- Prioritise fast response over accuracy.
It is always easier to correct the position of the misplaced object than to introduce delays to user actions. For even better experience employ appropriately long animation.
- Use object scaling to present details.
But do not do it to put the object in perspective. A feature of enlarging objects suits best unreal objects, i.e. the planets in an astronomy app. Win user attention by animating objects when the user moves around the world. It makes the impression that the world is alive and responsive.
- For collaborative scenes allow joining people during the experience.
Of course, 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.
- 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.