By Brendan Scully
Augmented reality technology allows users to superimpose virtual images onto the real world, as well as interact with virtual components displayed on their mobile device’s screen.
Thus, it’s no surprise that the ways to use augmented reality have already changed the overall user experience, and will continue to do so in the future. The following are just some of the UX changes we can expect to see due to greater AR developments.
Improving Design Comprehension
Augmented reality isn’t just ideal for games like Pokemon Go! or social apps like Snapchat. It’s also effective in educational products. For instance, some experts predict that augmented reality will play a major role in teaching new employees how to perform their duties across a wide range of industries.
Imagine someone is training to be an auto mechanic. Instead of referring to a manual to learn how to fix a car, they can use an augmented reality program to visualize what steps they need to take to address the particular issue. There can be informational overlays put directly in front of them for them to follow.
This shift will transfer to customer support. Consumers of the near future may be able to troubleshoot their broken devices by coordinating with a rep who will demonstrate how to repair the item via their mobile device’s screen.
Changing Branding Opportunities
For a brand to maintain customer loyalty, they must offer a valuable user experience through their apps and products. Until recently, most companies were limited to the same set of tools for designing a UX.
Now, AR technology will allow brands to optimize their user experiences by adding further interactive elements to their products. On top of that, augmented reality can prompt users to go out into the real world (as was the case with Pokemon Go!).
This could result in a user experience that not only contributes to brand loyalty, but also brings customers to the brick-and-mortar establishments.
Shifting Feedback Methods
Augmented reality programs are unique because they allow users to get real-time feedback on the actions that they take in the virtual world.
To understand the impact this has on user experience, imagine you’re using a food company’s app to learn how to cook a meal. Previously, the app would simply provide the kind of intangible information that’s similar to the kind of information you would get from a recipe in a cookbook.
As this new augmented reality cooking product demonstrates, now users can actually simulate the experience of cooking a meal before they try it in the real world. The item is a pan that simulates the weight of food and even recognizes stovetop temperatures, perfectly replicating the cooking experience. If a user makes an error, the program lets them know in real-time.
This shift in feedback methods will have applications in customer service tutorials, clothing retail experiences (imagine being able to virtually “try on” a company’s apparel to find out if the colors match), and much more.
It’s not possible to predict precisely how augmented reality will change the UX in the future. Innovators continue to find new ways to implement the technology. With new uses come new changes. What is certain, though, is that augmented reality is poised to have a major effect on UX.