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Augmented Reality UX Design Best Tips and Practices

For those who don’t know, User Experience (UX) design is the process of improving the satisfaction of users with various products. It involves enhancing the accessibility, usability, and pleasure of using a particular product. Worth noting is that UX design is one of the main factors that influence the quality of graphic design. What makes a good UX designer? Whether an in-house designer or an agency like Clay, the most important of all qualities is attention to detail, particularly when combining several visual elements within a small space.

Advancements in technology have brought with them a new game changer – Augmented Reality design. According to Statista, the market size of Augmented Reality and virtual reality is projected to reach USD 209.2 billion by 2022. So what exactly is AR? It is a technology that superimposes virtual images or objects onto screen views of the actual world in real time.

Now, as more and more people access software and hardware, the demand for Augmented Reality design too goes up. Some excellent Augmented Reality examples already in use include Pokemon Go by Niantic, Firefox Reality by Mozilla, and Lens Studio by Snapchat.


So, how can you make the experiences of people using your designs memorable? Here are some tips for enhancing Augmented Reality UX design into your projects.

Use Audio and Visual Cues to Help Users Identify Objects Easily

In this context, cues are subtle clues that tell the users what UI elements they should interact with. These prompts are as follows.

Sound Cues

Incorporating sounds in your Augmented Reality UX design is an effective way to assist users in identifying objects not displayed on-screen and even to encourage them to view the full space. See, most people are used to flat screens. Therefore, aim to incentivize your users to check out the whole 360° angle of the design. Without sound cues, you may find that most of the key features you have worked on are not noticed.

Visual Clues

As with sound, visual indicators are also important in encouraging users to look around the augmented space to identify off-screen elements. You can add hover states to buttons in your design to prompt the user to look around the interface. Moreover, highlight aspects of the project that the user can interact with for easy identification. These features make sure the user does not miss certain aspects of your design. Aside from these, you can provide visual feedback to the user. Let them know that something is going on while also giving them the option to move on or unselect.

The more apt visual cues, the better the user experience!

Consider Users’ Context When Developing the Environmental Design

The ED is the setting in which people will be engaging with your project. In this case, your aim is to make your augmented space mirror the context of the user as much as possible. Case in point, if you are developing an app that includes a specific street in a city, you ought to make the User Interface (UI) a replica of the street in question.

Designing the augmented world with the user’s setting in mind is important because it will affect your choice of color, the size of objects, and UI placement.


Developing the Environmental Design


Make Effective Use of Text and Color to Enhance AR Designs

Do not make users struggle when interacting with your design. Use the color theory to make your interface more visually appealing. It will help you select the right colors to fit the context of your AR design. For instance, you can use typical red to show “no” or “stop,” and green to mean “go” or “yes.”

Also, make sure that your texts are visible and legible. Make your writings large where necessary and use easy-to-read fonts. For example, San Serifs is way easier to read as compared Serif in different contexts. However, when using texts, it is essential to be cautious. See, too many words can tire the user, thus, keep your texts short and to the point. When putting texts against a dark background, make sure the words are in light colors to make them readable.

Experiment with Lighting to Make Designs Interesting

Using different shades of light is the best way to give users an impression of weight, textures, placement, and depth. This trick can help you as a designer to bring your objects to life thus entertaining your users. So, which is the best position for your light source? Many experienced designers agree that positioning the light source overhead will do the trick. Using the light from a directional source will most likely fail to suit the context your users are viewing the app in.

“The proper use of light is one of the greatest challenges for Augmented Reality designers. Poor positioning of light sources yields a lack of realism and leads less credibility of the scene. For the best results, a designer should experiment with new modeling techniques that illuminate virtual objects consistently,” says Andrew Ortiz, digital marketing specialist at Skillroads.

Have Your UX Goals in Mind When Creating the Interaction Design

IxD refers to how users interact with an augmented environment. These interactions happen within the screen of your device where there are 3D objects and other media. There are many ways of interacting with the AR environment. These include:

  • Hovering
  • Pinching
  • Swiping
  • Rotating
  • Air-tapping
  • Voice commands
  • Facial gesturing
  • Tapping

Now, when developing the IxD, it is essential to take note of your user’s context as well as your goals to make the use of your app efficient. Think about scenarios that need touch, voice commands, or other methods of interaction. Consider the length of time the user will have to interact with your app when choosing the way users will use your app.

For an effective IxD development process, it is vital to be well aware of the type of objects you can use. Let’s take a look at two key kinds of objects in Augmented Reality. These are:

  • 3D Volumetrics which refer to things that can interact with light and shadow to achieve high-quality moving 3D images.
  • Animated Media which refer to videos and pictures.

How people interact with the UI, media, and objects in your application is influenced by many factors. First, is the hardware people will use to engage with your app. For instance, if your app is for mobile devices, you might want to focus on mobile-friendly interactions. To reiterate, the most important thing that affects interactions is the objective of your application. Thus, ensure that all maneuvers on the app help in achieving the desired goal.


Pokemon Go Mobile


Know When and How to Innovate in Augmented Reality UX design

Augmented Reality is relatively new, thus, understanding the right time for bringing in new ideas can help you appeal to more users. The underlying trick to boost engagement is to ensure features are familiar to users. For instance, your buttons should indeed look the part. You do not want people to find it difficult trying to figure out the uses of some design elements.

To make your application more user-friendly, make use of typical mobile gestures such as tapping, pinching, and swiping. By doing so, users will be more open to exploring the full experience of your project.

Use Empathy to Address Any Possible Problems Users Might Face

Being empathic allows you to anticipate and solve the challenges that users are likely to face when using your Augmented Reality environment. Take time to think about their needs in order to offer solutions to potential issues holistically. Leveraging your ability to put yourself in the user’s shoes can also see you save a lot of time and money as there will be fewer cases of critical issues and bug reports, among a host of other problems.

Learn What Works Best for Your Augmented Reality Design

Conducting a usability test for your project can help you discover the Augmented Reality practices that will work best. To carry out this process effectively, ensure that your testing is tailored to your users. Make your queries short and easy to understand. Moreover, you can consider asking open-ended questions so as to get more elaborate responses.

Bonus Tips on Making UX design for Augmented Reality

Using the above recommendations will surely help you develop an application with better user experience. Here are some general guidelines that will make your design more effective.

·      Use AI in Augmented Reality UX design
AI, in the form of mobile assistants, can help you learn what to be keen on when creating web Augmented Reality and offer suggestions of plausible actions to take.

·      Leverage the Power of Natural Language Processing
This approach can assist in enhancing your augmented reality by enabling users to request for more information in a language that is simple and related to the theme.

·      Use Predictive Text to Make Your Design Friendlier to Users
You can significantly reduce the time it takes to type whole sentences and make your design friendly to users with predictive texting.

We hope this article has made your Augmented Reality designing easier. Drop your comments below and let’s keep the conversation going.


Written by Alice Berg

Alice Berg is a career advisor with a strong interest in progressive technologies. She helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter @AliceBerg234 .

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