Another day at the AR office... Photo: Lou Hayt
Every decade or so, we witness a new technological revolution, that changes the computing paradigm.
In the 90th it was the Web. 10 years ago, it was the smart phone. Now, I believe we’re seeing the next revolution: Augmented Reality.
Why do I think AR is the next Web?
Think about it – Instead of typing virtual addresses (that lead us to information sources, i.e. URLs to Web sites), AR will enable us to gaze at physical objects, and see the related details that might interest us.
When we’ll look at products we could see their sales prices from different retailers, benchmarks of them and competing products, related coupons, etc.
When we’ll look at buildings, we could see the companies residing there, the building’s history, etc.
When we look at logos and their presenters, we could see their Websites and linked videos…
People’s faces will show Facebook profiles and LinkedIn pages. Art will link to Wikipedia pages. Pharmaceuticals to researches, dosages, symptoms, etc.
Think about it – No more Google… Just gaze at something and complementing information will just pop up to our service… The potential is staggering.
What will the upcoming UX challenges in an AR environment be?
Designing 3D experiences on 2D environments is only one challenge. New products that allow designers to start design directly in a 3D environment are already arriving.
Take Microsoft’s Maquette as an example: Although Microsoft released HoloLens (their AR platform) a few years ago (quite early actually - I guess they didn't want to miss out on this revolution, as they did with smart phones), only now, a ‘native’ design product has arrived (it's still in beta, missing a lot of features, etc.)
But, since AR (unlike Virtual Reality, and here's a post that will help you sort out the differences) is adding layers to the reality we see, I think the real UX design challenge will be designing context-related experiences.
Context means time (e.g. an event, a live meeting, etc.), space (a location: indoors, like shopping, or outdoors, like driving, traveled locations, etc.), persons (I meet, I see on TV, or I read about in the news), live experiences (like basketball games, concerts, etc.), information I need (in doctors’ meetings, lectures I attend, devices I need to operate…), and more.
The context will make it feel unique, but the design challenge is how to make it so, while using a ‘template’, i.e. how to make the experience relevant and seamlessly adaptable to the unique occasion.
Remember: UX design isn't about making things 'pretty' — it's about understanding, designing and controlling the user's experience.
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