Intuitive First – Fast Second

The Wild West of AR UX

Today is the Wild West of AR interaction with wearables. With only Magic Leap and Microsoft having respectable hardware and soon NReal to join, their operative systems provide design guidelines, but these are far off from being perfect and will expect disruptions and 10x leaps in the next 5 years.

AR Kit and AR Core from Google and Apple focus on hand-held AR which is a topic for itself, so it can be disregarded.

Each device also comes with its own interaction restraints. Platform agnostic multimodal design will yet have to support multiple layers of how to complete a task. So let's focus on building good AR that works for the majority of humans: You, me, Your Grandma, my Grandma...

Two Layers of Interaction Design

Any interaction must have bullet proof design for the users who've never tried it before. Ways to perform interactions intuitively are the only solid strategy to achieve usability.

Layer One: Intuitive

Let's say we provide a concentric menu with 5 buttons to allow our user to make a choice.

Default-aligned image

If we choose gestures as our interaction of choice we will want to work with a finger pointer hover function like holding your hand over a button shows visible feedback of "charging" or "loading" for a limited time to activate the button. The "channeling" effect is required to provide users with the ability to pull away on second notice and should also be supported with visual indicators. Latest updates made channeling buttons a standard on the Hololens 2 operating system (tiny applause).

The result would be a hover interaction: Default-aligned image Hold your finger for 1 second to activate this button

When building interfaces, designers must also consider users who use the same interaction of software 200 times a day. taking a second to press a button can be 10 times too long for a power user, but be perfect for the amateur.

Layer Two: Fast

For a fast interaction we can add a second dimension: A quick move – "a gestural short-cut" so to speak. The following example would be an idea to interact with the same buttons. An idea (we tested this and it's okay-ish) would be to drag the finger from middle outwards which can be done in under 200ms.

Default-aligned image Drag your finger outward to activate this button

Intuitive + Fast combined

Some methods allow for both, go for these. Prioritize "intuitive" (test it on fresh users) and test how fast interactions can be done. At the end of the day any productivity-oriented Augmented Reality experience is a business case where time should most likely be a critical factor.

Last Edited on March 4, 2020, 8:38 PM
. Published by Daniel Seiler