Helping People Control Their AR Experiences

Tips for how to design AR experiences that match up with a user’s intended level of effort.

By: Spark AR Team
November 21, 2019

Helping People Control Their AR Experiences

Tips for how to design AR experiences that match up with a user’s intended level of effort.

By: Spark AR Team
November 21, 2019

In last week’s post, we looked at how to design AR experiences that are accessible for everyone. Today, as we continue our series on AR design, we’re focusing on how creators can help people manage expectations, navigate wait times and explore AR effects for themselves.

Since augmented reality is a new technology, it’s important that users feel in control of the experience — that they understand it intuitively and are getting something awesome for the time they’re putting in. Here’s how:

User watching television

Try to match the user’s intended level of effort.
Most AR experiences in Spark take place on a mobile device. We also know that when social media is consumed on a mobile device it is mostly in a “lean-back”, passive consumption manner. Be mindful therefore of how much effort you are asking users to exert to use your AR experience.

Be clear about how much effort is required.
Set expectations during setup by spelling out how much effort the user will need to make throughout the experience. For example, use animations to illustrate the movement required of the user.

Offer alternative levels of effort.
Consider offering options for different levels of effort, so if people want to switch their effort level based on their mindset or context they can do this easily. For instance, design the experience so that people can achieve a goal in a short time or indulge in a more extensive experience as they wish.

Consider the value/effort trade-off.
Always be aware of how much value a person is getting from the experience compared to the amount of effort they are making. If they need to put in too much effort for too little reward then they may question why – or ultimately abandon the experience.

Tempt users to explore where relevant.
Interacting in a 3D space via a mobile device is a relatively new behavior for many people. While some experiences only require minor hand movements, others might require more physical movement and gestures than people are used to. Ease people into these new behaviors with prompts to explore their environment and hints to aid this exploration.

Remind users to be aware of their surroundings.
When movement is required, prompt people to check their environment so they avoid hurting themselves or causing damage. Their focus needs to be on what’s around them as well as their AR experience.

User interacting with smartphone to display 3d object.

Understand and minimize wait times.
People are more likely to give up the longer they have to wait. People's device and level of connectivity will impact the performance of the experience. When people do have to wait, help them understand why and use techniques to engage and/or distract them.

Be transparent and manage expectations.
Clearly communicate how long the action might take.

Be playful with wait times.
Minimize frustration by designing in an engaging distraction (i.e. games or gifs) where appropriate.

Let the technology do the hard work.
Consider layering the experience so time-consuming activities happen in the background and more engaging activities happen in the foreground.

That’s all for this week’s post. Hopefully it’s inspired you to try some new things. In our next post we’ll be looking at why creators need to think about space, depth and users’ physical surroundings when creating AR effects. If you can’t wait until then, you can get the Spark AR Design Guidelines right now.

Spark AR Design Guidelines. How to create an engaging AR experience using Spark AR.

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