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article imageGoogle shares best practices for developing mobile AR apps

By James Walker     Dec 15, 2017 in Technology
Google's published a set of best practices to help developers create compelling mobile AR experiences. The company said it has made several observations during the creation of its own AR apps. It's sharing its insights to inspire industry development.
Seamless engagement
Augmented reality is a rapidly growing technology in the mobile industry. It's now supported as a standard component of both iOS and Android. New devices are starting to include processors which specifically target smooth AR and VR visuals. As the technology progresses, more consumers should engage with the features and additional developers will get onboard.
In a blog post this week, Google warned AR creators to understand the limitations of mobile AR. The company said there are unique challenges for designers working on immersive experiences. They need to consider usage patterns which are never encountered when building an entirely on-screen app.
Google said developers should understand the limits of AR
Google said developers should understand the limits of AR
Apps have to be adaptable to a variety of physical environments. They must allow users to engage seamlessly and safely whether they're in a large office space, a walled living area or a cluttered kitchen.
In addition, designers need to remember that users may not want to hold their phone up for the entire duration of a long session. Standing with a phone for a prolonged long period could tire the user, making it more likely they'll switch away.
Developers can respond in several ways. One approach is to eliminate all unnecessary interactions, ensuring users don’t waste time or get frustrated when hunting for controls. Intuitive and discoverable interactions should be employed, allowing the user to stay within the experience for longer periods of time.
Immersion through interactivity
Keeping the user engaged is another significant challenge. Google said it achieved good immersion by focusing on the core principles of mobile AR interaction. These include optimising information displays for readability, providing visual guidance to the user and making objects interactable so digital elements don't feel too static.
One way to combine all of these principles is to make digital objects react to the user's presence. Subtle responses to movement or navigation can help to make the virtual world feel more immersive. An app could reveal additional information about an item as the user approaches, incentivising them to continue exploring the experience.
Google encouraged developers to experiemnt with the tech
Google encouraged developers to experiemnt with the tech
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Because augmented reality is such a new technology, the true best practices for its development are still up for debate. Google recognised that its guidelines are currently "early considerations."
The company said it's preparing to publish complete AR design guidelines for the Android platform, assisting app creators by providing formal design docs. It encouraged developers to experiment with the technology, noting that sharing insights about what works and what doesn't will help the industry to progress.
"There are so many unique problems that mobile AR can solve and so many delightful experiences it can unlock," said Google. "We’re looking forward to seeing what users find compelling and sharing what we learn along the way, too. In the meantime, continue making and breaking things!"
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