So you’re thinking about including AR in your marketing campaign, following the example of IKEA, L’Oreal, and Starbucks? But you don’t know much about AR apps development and not sure how it should look. You just want something like this AR app for IKEA.
Luckily for you, we have analyzed users’ experience with AR apps and created a guide on how to make a brilliant AR app for your company. Or how to know that the company you gave this task is doing it right.
Developing an augmented reality app is the task for those who know how to connect two worlds, the world of digital data and the world of physical reality. As a result, a user will see the digital content overlayed on the top of physical objects. And will be motivated and surprised.
If you still think that AR is the story from sci-fi books, you should consider the opinion of this man. Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts the brightest future possible to AR:
“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.”
It means that AR apps will become even more challenging for developers. As users would expect better, faster, and more engaging AR apps. How to create an AR app that will make customers want to get their iPhone and tap “download” immediately?
1. The App that requires lots of memory. They say that good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately, this principle doesn't apply to augmented reality applications. Waiting is a synonym for wasting time in the era of smart gadgets. So if we download an app that keeps us waiting for too long, it’s perceived as a bad ar app. Best augmented reality apps often mean the lightest and the fastest apps.
I would say that they will wait up to 30 seconds for an app to download. Girls will wait less, I am sure. One of the most typical augmented reality apps mistakes of developers is ignoring the weight of the app. Apps must be light and fast simultaneously. That’s how a developer becomes a rope-dancer trying to find equilibrium: making an arr app fast preserving its quality on a decent level.
2. The app is slow. It is another critical moment. If a user decides to upload the app, he/she must understand that the process of initialization has started and that it will end soon. Because, well, nobody likes waiting.
Preloader progress report has a critical value in this sense. How do you show your users that your app is almost ready to start? Clear, bright, and comprehensible preloader progress report is what can be the final argument in the discussion: “To open this app or not to open it?”This is one of the most annoying augmented reality apps problems, developers should avoid.
3.Poor quality of 3D computer graphics. We all instantly understand if the content is bad or good just taking one look at it.
Does it look realistic?
Is it accurate and done with the attention to details?
Are all the parts elaborated well?
If I turn the object around, will you be able to see all the details in the same way?
It doesn't matter if you are looking at a psychedelic cat from the Wonderland or at a vacuum cleaner, the quality of 3D graphics must be high.
3D designers assess content based on its aesthetics, form perception, attention to details, neatness.
If the object exists in physical reality, it’s easier to see if the 3D graphics are good because you can compare it to the original, evaluating the degree of realism. If the object was born in designer's imagination, then viewers will assess it using intuition by choosing between “I like it” and “I don’t like it”. In this case, WOW effect will play a crucial role.
3D graphics are getting better and better and it seems that the sky's the limit for 3D content. That’s why AR apps without great 3D content are not worth a thing.
4. Bugs. There are critical bugs that the user won't ignore, such as long pauses in initialization, unexpected breaks. “AR app doesn’t work on my phone” will mean that the company you hired for AR app development failed to test it properly. Neglecting QA testing ( or saving money on it) is one of the fatal augmented reality apps mistakes.
5. UI/UX design for an AR app is not friendly. This point probably deserves special attention. I will just outline the main issues here: augmented reality is a complex technology for most of us. That's why it must be easy to use it regardless of the degree of craziness of your augmented reality apps idea.
Albert Einstein once said that if you can’t explain some subject simply, you don’t understand it. That's the best rule for augmented reality app development and UI/UX.
The word “intuitive” is used so often today that it has almost lost its meaning. But I still want to write it because it describes accurately what is expected from an AR app. We navigate and orient in the world of physical things naturally=intuitively: we know how to find things in the room, what exact actions to make to take them, how to replace them making necessary amount of steps.We don’t think a lot, we act.
My point is, interaction with the device must be close to the interaction with mundane objects.The accent is made on experience, not on users.You should understand that augmented reality is not a tool, it's the method of experiencing digital data. So this method must be clear, logical, and concise.
But friendly UX is not enough, there must be some hook. Because once a user decides to interact with a product, he expects some extraordinary, mind-shattering experience. AR ( which most kids define as “magic” when they see it for the first time) should provide users with an experience they would love to repeat.
The price of your AR app will depend on the number of hours developers, designers, and testers will spend polishing it.For instance, to create AR app similar to the one built for IKEA you will need to hire
Designers who will spend 100-200 hours creating sofas and chairs that look realistic and attractive. The more pieces of furniture you need, the more hours you will have to pay for.
Developers who will spend 250-500 hours writing code for the app;
Testers who will spend 10-50 hours revealing all the bugs in the app.
The final price will depend on the specialists you hire, their experience, and their location. Therefore, the app similar to the one IKEA created can start at$35.000 and end at $115.000. If you are in doubt about your augmented reality app price you can always ask to calculate the price in advance.
To build the best and the fastest AR app one must use the most adequate SDK. The choice of SDK will depend on the level of the task, programming skills, the number of complex features, such as physics and 3D graphics. Yet, these 3 SDKs are the best so far so it's logical to choose among them:
ARKit is a rock-solid SDK from Apple that is compatible with iOS 11 iPhones and iPads. One of the key advantages of ARKit is that it doesn’t require any calibration from a user. ARKit has an exceptional level of position tracking which works by accumulating data via the visual camera system and via the Internal system (IMU which includes accelerometer and gyroscope).
ARKit has an excellent level of plane detection as well. It seems like ARKit has revolutionized the whole approach to AR: it made it accessible, logical, and easy to use.
ARCore is Google's SDK that spent 2 years inside the company before it was finally released. Some developers would say that Google just renamed Tango, not created some new SDK. However, ARCore is obviously a more mature SDK that doesn't need new components and can be launched on the existing Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy 8. More than that, Google says that it will provide hundreds of millions of Androids with ARCore support soon.
ARCore has a brilliant environmental detection that looks for flat surfaces. It has great motion tracking ability which means that you can see the object from different angles and distances after pinning it.
After ARKit and ARCore were released they joined the list of eternal nemesis: Apple vs. Samsung, Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive, Marvel and DC. But they actually have more in common than other rivals. For example, they have very accurate estimate of the natural lightning. So for an average consumer either of these SDK to build AR app is equally comfortable to use.
Vuforia is an old-school SDK which managed to accumulate a huge feedback from the army of its users. It helps to improve the product all the time. More than that, the last version of Vuforia is integrated into Unity. Apart from that, Vuforia has great algorithms of image recognition. To perform that Vuforia has a solid base of target types, including cuboids and cylinders.
The experience of IKEA, L'Oreal or Lego shows that AR app is not the means of entertainment. It's an investemnet in your business promotion. You customers just won’t be able to ignore AR app if it's a good one. How can you ignore something this engaging and even magical?
And you can have the app that will be a hit. Just avoid typical augmented reality apps mistakes and try walking in your users’ shoes for a while. Users want complex technology wrapped in simple and rational solutions. Users don't want to wait for long, that's why you need to show them that you value their time by making a fast AR app that doesn’t require a lot of memory.
Users can neglect small bugs, but without proper testing your AR app is not worth a penny. And the quality of content, of course. Content is the king. Even a small kid will know the level of the good 3D graphics simply because he/she watches a lot of cartoons. So make sure it is aesthetically appealing, created with attention to details, and a real personal approach. Such AR app will be something your customers would love to show to their friends.