Q&A: Augmented Reality I
The most common questions around technologies of the future, answered by Mattr
Augmented Reality is a storytelling technology that has been around for years, but with the advent of the conversations around the metaverse, there has been seemingly more interest all around in what this technology is, and how it can add value to your stories.
We frequently get asked a lot of questions on AR by clients and internal teams, and we’ve tried to address a few below.
Over the coming days, we will answer some of the most common questions around building content for Augmented Reality. In case you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to us on email@example.com
Q1. What is AR, and how does it work?
Augmented Reality basically puts virtual subjects and objects in real spaces, and you can interact with this virtual content, while seeing the real space.
The virtual objects “augment” themselves within your real space, and there’s engagement and interaction of the user with these virtual objects. The filters you see on Instagram and Snapchat are the most common outcomes of Augmented Reality.
Q2. What devices is AR content experienced on?
AR utilizes your camera, so AR experiences are meant for devices with a back, or a front camera — primarily, your smartphones and your tablets. We also have a few AR glasses in the market but these will take some time to hit mainstream consumption. Google Glass was one of the earliest AR glasses, and Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 is one among those currently available for purchase.
Q3. How would AR add value to my business?
From a marketing perspective, the whole idea of getting the message across, of your product or your service, is to make sure your intended audience understands the journey of what you’re trying to sell — why is it better than anything else in the market, what it does, how it functions, how it will help the end-user in a way no other product or service can — among other things.
Traditionally, assets used for this purpose would be videos, slide-ware, hand-on demos etc. But how do you ensure high impact of these assets?
The measure of the true success of a story cannot be defined on spreadsheets — it is felt by those who immerse themselves in it. If you remember how much of it you saw, how much of it you touched, how much of it you heard, how much of it you sensed, how much of it you want to share with others — that’s the true scale of measuring the success of a story.
Augmented Reality does exactly that. It makes you remember more because it’s activating much more of your senses than traditional assets. The appeal of it isn’t just bound by how everyone just wants to try something because everyone else is doing it, but by how much it pulls the user into a whole new kind of reality.
Q4. As a content creator, what are the things to keep in mind before designing for AR?
Most traditional graphic design is done in 2 dimensions, where you’re creating content meant to be read, seen, or heard. Fundamentally, that’s what you’re doing in AR. But it differs marginally because when you’re designing for AR (or any other XR technology), you have a third dimension, that let’s you see things that aren’t physically present.
When you’re designing things that aren’t present, it’s a challenge to give that object or subject a personality of it’s own. You aren’t just looking at it from one angle, you’re looking at it with 6 degrees of freedom. You’re looking at a simulation of a real world object, and you are mutually coexisting with it. In AR, the key is to design the object/subject to give it a personality, and to use ambient and environmental elements to give it more life.
Q5. Can I add traditional video content to my AR experience?
Yes. You can add a traditional video (2D/3D/Stock/Shoot) but there are UX challenges. The expectation from a user is to always see a video on full-screen, and without distractions. So, if explainer visuals are supposed to be added to an AR experience, use of 3D elements as part of the main content is highly recommended, because these can adapt themselves very easily compared to a traditional video.
The interface needs to clean and minimal so that the focus of the audience remains on where we want it to be. Only concise information that the user needs to see at a particular instance of time needs to be shown. If a video is to be integrated with an AR experience, it’s a good idea to enrich the video with AR, rather than enriching the AR with a video.
Q6. What kind of interactions can be built in an AR experience?
Plenty! From filters on social media apps to entire immersive worlds like the ones you saw through portals in Doctor Strange movies, AR makes it all possible. And the tech is slowly but steadily merging with VR and MR. How you see physical spaces around you are about to change forever!
Q7. Where is AR being used right now?
AR is being used across industries, intents and purposes. A few good examples of where AR is being used are listed below:
Entertainment | Disney’s Remembering
Automobile | BMW
Retail | IKEA
E-commerce | Walmart
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