AR - Changing the way you look

The global market for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) ) is forecast to reach close to $300 billion by 2024. We are constantly changing how we interact with the world around us, and augmented reality presents us with an inventive way to enhance these interactions. It also gives us a way to improve how we create and design. Augmented Reality is set to be particularly disruptive in the mobile world. There is a lot for mobile marketers, app creators, and designers to consider when incorporating AR into their workflows and products.

So, what AR developments are worth following, and how can we use AR most effectively in our daily and professional lives?

Measure and design the world around you

In 2020 Apple CEO Tim Cook said of AR that,“You rarely have a new technology where business and consumers both see it as key to them. That's the reason I think it's going to pervade your life. "Indeed, Augmented Reality has many practical applications which indicate that it is a technology that is here for the long term. For example, AR can be used as a tool to measure and design the things we see and live within the real world.

There are a number of apps for Android and Apple devices that allow you to use AR technology to measure and visualize items in real space. With something like “Ruler App + AR Tape Measure” augmented reality technology is used to tape measure the real world with your smartphone’s camera. All you have to do is target aim on the detected plane and start to use the AR tape measure tool.
Today, there is also a selection of AR apps you can use for interior design. Apps like Houzz, Dulux Visualizer and IKEA Place all allow users to see how different decor items might look in your home. With these kinds of apps, you no longer have to worry about whether a design will suit the environment before buying it. Instead, AR technology lets you see the world differently. It enables you to conveniently measure and design in ways that would otherwise be impractical and expensive.

Learning with AR

Augmented Reality also has plenty of utility in the classroom. AR is already being used in education to allow students to deepen their knowledge. With AR applications, teachers will improve their interactivity and engagement with their students. For example,, SkyView is an app that enables students to explore the universe using AR overlays of the night sky. As a result, science class has the potential to be so much more interactive and awe-inspiring.

Similarly, Microsoft’s HoloLens is a type of augmented reality (which they call “mixed reality”) that has allowed medical students and doctors to receive a practical, hands-on education of the human body. AR technology has made it easier and more convenient for students to enhance their understanding of anatomy. The potential learning opportunities with AR technology are limitless!

Learning with AR is a hot topic. If you want to know more about the exciting work being done with AR and the fascinating conversations being had take a look at ScienceDirect’s page on Mobile Augmented Reality.

Navigating to your destination

You may not have even realized but you’ve probably used AR to help you navigate. Many advanced GPS navigation apps like Sygic or Google Maps now use AR to enhance their navigation experience. For example, Sygic, which has over 200 million users worldwide, drivers can take advantage of an AR feature within the app that guides via a virtual path on their smartphone camera preview. It is an intuitive system that serves as an upgrade on the previous map-based navigation and provides users with a real-time camera preview, ensuring that their journeys can be safer and more accurate.

AR gaming

One of the most famous examples of AT in mobile gaming apps is Pokémon GO. The viral game became a worldwide phenomenon when released back in 2016. The success of Pokémon Go indicates the potential of free-to-play AR-based games. The app, which uses a freemium business model that combines local advertising and app purchases, has grossed more than $5 billion. Although the game is based on an already popular IP, Pokémon also shows how eager consumers are to get out of their houses and use AR games to interact with the world around them. Check out this Game Designing article, “The Unstoppable Rise of AR: Groundbreaking Games”, to learn about some of the other AR games that are taking the industry by storm.

The future of AR

The future of AR looks bright. It is a technology capable of altering the way we interact with each other and the world. AR also presents plenty of great opportunities for creative minds in the mobile gaming space. At Radiant, we understand the value of being at the forefront of digital innovations. As we see it, AR will be one of those innovations that will change the game for industries worldwide. We want to help businesses navigate an increasingly crowded field, make the most of their digital transformation and create innovative solutions.

In the world of mobile, those who appreciate AR's potential and are actively looking to use AR to be creative will make engaging content and positively change the way their users interact with the world around them.

Are you interested in the future of Augmented Reality? Visit Radiant Digital to learn more about the role AR can play along the road to complete digital transformation.


Powering Up your UX Research with Virtual Reality

Research is vital in UX development and usually involves questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. However, gauging the design's functionalities requires quantifying user interactions and participant behavior. Near-exact experiences of the actual UX design can be helpful in this regard. However, this involves complex concepts and expensive prototypes that are hardly modifiable. Virtual Reality implementation is a context-specific way to overcome these UX research challenges. It helps transport people to many places virtually, teach new skills, and even fight phobias.

We at Radiant Digital are excited about new technologies that can potentially transform how we work! Virtual Reality is one of them. In this blog, we deep-dive into where VR UX research is already in practice and how it powers up UX research.

Why VR in UX Research?

UX research involves gauging user-product interactions within a physical, social, and cultural context. Virtual Reality (VR) can enhance UX research by creating realistic-looking virtual environments (VEs) with better environmental control and ecological validity. Some of its applications include:

  • Researching workflows or interactions in developing virtual layouts.
  • Display or configuration-related details can be built, experienced, and judged in VR.
  • Safety and convenience in UX are other factors that can be effectively reproduced and evaluated by VR.

With VR, researchers can test a product’s user experience with higher visibility cost-effectively.

The Countless Possibilities

VR simulations apply to almost any actual space type in a variety of domains.

  • Workplace occupational safety: VR modeling helps tackle workplace hazards when included in training exercises.
  • Easing mental and physical health problems: VR applications are helpful in patient care, especially in diagnosis and curing phobias.
  • Educational and training environments: Educators can promote skills development by leveraging a virtual domain where the real-world consequences of failing can be avoided.

With multi-sensory features, VR helps replicate an environment for a design and its user interactions while improving the scope for understanding the product’s real-world acceptance.

VR User Testing in the Service Industry 

Providers, primarily in the IT service domain, need to test product performance in near-real environments rigorously. For example, UX researchers can use VR to inject variable attributes into their UX design in a lab setting. This helps evaluate different results for different scenarios, environments, & conditions, or geographic disparities.

VR as a UX Evaluation Tool

VR is helpful for UX research and human–product interaction. It helps with the following:

  • Obtaining insights on the users' needs and expectations by observing and evaluating the users' behavior during design interaction in a controlled environment.
  • Focusing on UX evaluation through optimizing human–product interactions.
  • Gaining information on target users and their behavior in a 3D multi-user virtual environment.
  • Gauging emotional levels during user interactions and translating that to data on the users' preferences and needs.
  • Enabling usage changes while observing natural and subjective responses.
  • Obtaining data related to performance, errors, and learnability.
  • Mediating interactions with realistic and directly controlled user avatars with motion trackers.

Best Practices for VR User Research

VR in UX combines conventional usability testing and a contextual interview. Some unique factors to consider include:

Preparation

The Environment:

  • Evaluate the space where you will conduct the VR experiments for your design.
  • Configure a "mixed reality lab" for the infrastructure to conduct augmented and virtual reality UX research.
  • Perform safety checks and remove any obstacles to free movement.

The Technology: It is essential to know the underlying technologies impacting your research in a cross-functional environment.

The Subject: Ensure your target users know what they are signing up for by briefing them thoroughly on the requirements and how to handle the experience. UX researchers should ensure:

  • Participant comfort.
  • The clarity in technology concepts and goals.
  • Digital data analysis is done before, during, and after an experience.
  • Awareness of possible motion sickness or mobility issues affecting participants.

The Equipment:

  • Test the VR equipment and the software for performance after synchronization.
  • Check if the gadgets are cleaned regularly and make users comfortable without disorienting them.

Privacy:  UX researchers should clarify what data they'd collect and how it will be used when conducting VR research from a participant's home or device.

Recruitment: Understanding the users' digital knowledge and experience in the VR space is crucial while recruiting them.

Research plan: VR combines physical, emotional, and digital experiences, which mandates clarifying the following:

  • Which aspects of UX design are you testing and whether it correlates to the device setup or the application?
  • What user behavior traits are you observing?
  • What you'll be recording and how?

Make your research seamless by setting up your research plan and the required tools.

VR User Testing

During VR sessions, you must consider the following differences between VR and conventional user testing.

Unfamiliarity with the technology: Users need buffer time to attune themselves to the technology, equipment, and environment. It is paramount to plan and explain the sequence in which the participant would navigate different experiences.

Cybersickness: Please note any symptoms and metrics (such as frame rate, session length, sudden acceleration, standing versus seated position, the participant's age, etc.) of cybersickness and only proceed when the participant is ready.

Facilitation: Noting verbal and non-verbal cues without distractions is crucial while observing the user and their interactions. VR facilitation is challenging because the user experiences a simulated environment context different from that of the interviewer.

Recording and notetaking: Ensure that participants look in your direction to record their expressions and emotional responses correctly. Use cameras and notetaking tools to obtain clear user feedback.

After the Experience 

Post-interview: UX researchers must keep a checklist to clarify the user’s experience with a design and note any negative feedback that can help fix loopholes.

Key Takeaways

VR helps identify the core concepts, evaluation methods, and limitations of your UX design to validate user acceptance. Though VR is still work-in-progress w.r.t market penetration, integrating it with UX research can unfold novel ways of fulfilling user-centric designs.

Radiant Digital can help you convert your Virtual Reality Vision to Enterprise Reality Designs. Contact us to know more.