Folks, here is my talk from ISTAS 2013 in Toronto on 29 July 2013. Following an intro to augmented reality I review a collection of AR experiences and test them against Lex Ardez’ “3 laws of augmented reality design”.
1. Augmentation must emerge from the real world and/or relate to it
2. Augmentation must not distract from reality, but make you more aware of it
3. Augmented interaction must deliver a superior experience to alternatives, or better yet – there’s no alternative.
These rules are very logical and simple and yet most AR implementations fail to meet these laws. When it comes to defining an AR experience, the #3 is the most important: do not implement AR only for a cool factor; if a traditional interaction technique (on computers, mobile devices etc.) does a good job – do not try to do recreate it with AR. Look for the specific experiences that can only be achieved with AR, even if it’s very niche.
The talk is based on my experience in the last 6 years building AR applications and reviewing practically every AR app that was published in that time frame. I have seen many applications that have a wow factor that lasts for 2 minutes – but most applications are not used more than once. Designers and producers need to look at it in a very different way than traditional user experiences. It’s important to understand that AR is about digitizing our interacting with the physical world. It should not be viewed as a traditional form of Human Machine Interaction (HMI). But rather be thought of as Human-World-Interaction, which requires a new thinking, new rules, and new experiences.
I believe that in the next few years we’ll see AR becoming an integral part of any aspect of our work and life. And it will completely change the way we interact with people, places and things. Of course traditional approaches (PCs, mobile touch) will still be best for certain things – and AR shouldn’t be forced for things that it’s not intended for – but it’ll create new categories of things that we can’t even imagine. AR has the power to enable us to do things and feel things we couldn’t otherwise. It can help us learn, and master skills instantly. AR Technology has reached a “good enough” level; it is up to designers to bring it to the masses in a meaningful way.
(and let me know what you think!)