8 minute read
Historically, consumers have formed an emotional connection with companies through well-branded websites, mobile apps, video, and television. However, the rapid evolution of technology is drastically changing the experiences that consumers seek. The emergence of augmented reality technology is at the forefront of this movement, as evidenced by the unveiling of the Metaverse.
Essentially, augmented reality technology (AR) alters and enhances the user's view of the real world by stimulating sight, touch, and smell. Sooner than we may think, the effects of this technology will span far beyond the Metaverse, even changing how people use the internet from day to day. Right now, AR is in its infancy. But consumers in every sector are increasingly open to experiencing augmented reality, and companies must move quickly to determine how to implement these technologies appropriately.
Wondering what evolution — and creative potential — AR holds for your brand? Let’s discuss the future of augmented reality, and ways you can harness this innovation to propel your business forward.
The Future of Augmented Reality
First, a clarification. Although many people are familiar with virtual reality, fewer are accustomed to the term "augmented reality." What’s the difference?
To put it simply, virtual reality is when users experience complete immersion within a digital environment. Augmented reality, on the other hand, is an enhanced version of the real world. You may already have experience with AR, even if you didn’t realize it at the time — for example, many of us use augmented reality in the form of real-time social media filters.
So, where is this technology headed? Although some people are hesitant to accept the digitization of our society, it is becoming inescapable. In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be rebranding itself with the name "Meta," and soon, people's use of the internet would transform forever.
We’re still discovering what this transformation will look like. Although the Metaverse is still in the beginning phases of development, it is proposed to be a more immersive version of the social media we currently use. In the Metaverse, people will reportedly have the ability to block out physical reality to interact with a digital reality instead. As stated by Mark Zuckerberg, the Metaverse will be an "embodied internet" that users can completely immerse themselves in using virtual reality or bring into their current reality using AR.
How Will Augmented Reality Change Website and Mobile Application Experiences?
According to Goldman Sachs, the AR/VR industry may grow to a $95 billion market by 2025. And as more companies experiment with augmented reality, internet users will come to expect augmented reality within their experience. As a result, companies in every industry should stay ahead of the curve by considering ways to leverage AR technology in the coming years.
Augmented Reality for the Web
Previously, it was thought that AR reality would be used in conjunction with wearable technology. However, AR is also beginning to transform the user experience on mobile and desktop. We can attribute this to the development of plugins that enable augmented reality to function on the web. As a result, web designers and developers are implementing AR technology that allows users to experience remote product visualization in real-time.
For instance, users can try on a pair of shoes before completing a purchase from the comfort of their own homes. Or if users are shopping for home decor such as furniture or paint colors, they can use augmented reality technology to view the products in their homes before making a decision to buy.
Augmented Reality for Mobile Applications
Companies in entertainment, e-commerce, and healthcare are already implementing augmented reality technology in their mobile applications to boost customer engagement and improve their overall user experience.
Of course, how designers and developers use augmented reality depends on the premise of your mobile application. For example, a location-based AR app may allow users to tour an unfamiliar city with pop-ups relaying immediate recommendations, sites of interest, or historical facts. If you're running an e-commerce store, mobile app developers may create an application to enable users to experience virtual fitting rooms and try on clothes before buying them.
Perhaps the most famous example of augmented reality in a mobile application is the game that introduced AR to the mass public: Pokémon Go. In short, the potential for augmented reality in mobile apps is as wide as your creative vision, and applicable to multiple industries and sectors.
How Can You Prepare Your Brand to Embrace Augmented Reality?
1. Create Opportunities for Real-Time Feedback
Augmented reality allows companies to merge the physical world with virtual reality. This dynamic creates an engaging user experience with the power to deliver real-time feedback and highly specific information. To get the most out of this AR capability, consider a problem that customers commonly encounter or questions that they frequently ask. You can use this information to build a unique, value-added experience using augmented reality.
For example, people in the beauty industry realized that customers would often return cosmetics because the color looked different on the packing than when customers applied the product. To mitigate this issue, brands like Sephora introduced face-mapping solutions that enable customers to digitally "try on" a product before completing a purchase. The result? Less wasted inventory and higher consumer satisfaction.
2. Create Customer-Friendly Experiences
One of the most beneficial features of AR applications is their ability to offer interactivity. However, high-quality mobile applications must be accessible for users of varying skill levels to access and use. Remember, the goal is to improve the user experience, not complicate it. If customers find it challenging to use your augmented reality solutions, there’s a strong chance they will abandon your app in favor of a more straightforward competitor. For example, 60% of customers state that they would like to use augmented reality when shopping for furniture. But if users can’t easily get the app to deliver on its intended purpose, they won’t be able to envision furniture products in their space, and are less likely to convert.
Consider ways to make the augmented reality experience enjoyable and intuitive for your customers. An excellent example of this is the Decor Matters website and mobile app, which combines home decorating features and gamification to get a clear idea of how each decor piece will look together.
3. Address the Environment
When creating a mobile app or website with augmented reality capabilities, bear in mind that interfaces aren't limited to physical screens because the viewport can move with the user. Instead, you must optimize your experience to the appropriate environment.
Augmented reality designers typically use four signifiers to identify each AR environment:
- Intimate environment: An environment in which users are seated, which is normally near a desktop. For example, applying a Zoom filter while attending a conference call from your computer.
- Public environment: An environment in which the user's entire body functions as a controller. Examples of this include motion sensor video games, such as some dance and sports titles that integrate with console camera systems.
- Personal environment: When augmented reality is on smartphones or mobile devices, it is considered personal. This may include the aforementioned social media filters, such as those on Snapchat.
- Private Environment: When space is considered private, augmented reality technology is wearable. For instance, experiencing AR through Google Glass would constitute a private environment.
It is crucial that the designers and developers you're working with understand the environment your product will be designed for. Spatial considerations are crucial when determining how users will interact with your website or mobile application.
4. Leverage the Essential Principles of UX Design
Although your company is experimenting with emerging technologies, it's no excuse to forgo the fundamentals of UX design. You must provide your customers with the highest quality experience possible for the least amount of effort on their part. Consider which techniques you can implement to ensure that your customers feel confident interacting with augmented reality, whether it's on a mobile device or a desktop computer.
To make augmented reality technologies appealing and accessible for your customers, try to incorporate elements that feel fresh but use familiar controls or concepts. The mobile application Inkhunter is a prime example. With the Inkhunter app, users can see what tattoos will look like using fun filters, just as they would on other social media applications. This concept takes a recognizable form of AR interaction and applies a new twist for UX that is fun yet intuitive.
Get Ready for Change with CodigoDelSur
As society shifts from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, many new innovations are dependent on the support of AR/VR technology. Companies in industries such as luxury fashion, gaming, entertainment, and technology are ready to embrace these advancements, with reports from Bloomberg Intelligence estimating that economic prospects within the Metaverse may reach 800 billion by 2025. And as the Metaverse expands, so will AR/VR technology use. By accepting and adapting to this trend early, your company can prepare for the changes that are on the horizon. It’s all possible with the assistance of experienced designers and developers.
Our professional web designers and developers at CodigoDelSur can prime your company to incorporate augmented reality technologies within your mobile application or website. Together, we can assess the direction of your company and prepare for stunning, functional augmented reality solutions that support your vision.
Since 2007, CodigoDelSur has helped nearly 200 US-based startups design and develop a wide range of mobile apps and websites. Our team of web developers leverages their technical expertise and knowledge of usability, engagement, and growth hacking to scale your business exponentially. These 140+ designers and coders know how to apply their knowledge to create innovative, cutting-edge digital products for all audiences.
Through the consistent creation of stunning, functional websites and mobile applications, CodigoDelSur is rising to the forefront of our industry. We’re always ready to apply the latest developments in new, exciting technologies for your brand and create valuable, engaging user experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more.
Ready to explore the future of your brand’s web presence? Contact our team today and find out how we can revolutionize your brand’s digital experience!