Designing ARs – cool vs usable?

We have just finished a sweet AR that delivers 4 films/animations triggered by rotating the symbol to the right places. It’s almost more of a physical interactive than a digital one, because the symbol is anchored on a plinth that is turned by the user to the release the content.

I had a couple of discussions with – well, almost everyone – about this AR. It’s for a largely untechnical audience, with a short attention span, for a client that loves innovative tech and design but equally has highly technical stories to tell. How to combine all these things together? For me the audience is the most important – their expectation, their abilities, their needs, have defined this interactive. As a result some people have worried that it’s boring, that it’s not cool. It’s not something that our peers in design agencies will look at and go – Wow! Even though we have tested it with the  least tech savvy members of Imagination (no I won’t tell you who they are!) and it works incredibly simply, plus it’s really elegant and beautifully designed.

And it was something that they looked at and said – Wow!

What we forget is that we are all highly tech literate – we understand how to use AR we are happy for it to be primarily a brand building and mechanism, rooted in gaming and incredibly light touch. But the people we are designing for aren’t like that. We have to think of new ways of delivering AR to users that makes it easy and comfortable for them to absorb/play/manipulate without getting RSI!

  • Rotable Plinths
  • Books
  • Finger tips
  • Trump Cards
  • Sliders on
  • Jigsaw puzzles on pedestals

Everything boils down to the audience – who are they? what do they need? – forget your predjudice and design something usable – in being usable it will be cool.

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