Today is going to be a dive into AR Web Design, so buckle up butter cup because we are going on an adventure!
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at Augmented Reality and its incorporation into web design.
Businesses are always constantly trying to set themselves apart from their competitors and the race has already begun towards the push to web 3.0. Those who can keep ahead of the curve will ultimately have the winning edge and the web developers, designers, and engineers will be there at every step of the way to build the path into a more interactive and immersive web experience.
Augmented reality is not a new term by any means and has been around for quite some time, but what has been on the forefront is the advances that augmented reality has made in the last five or so years. Augmented Reality is otherwise known simply as AR has made leaps and bounds in the mobile app realm with breakout projects and apps such as Pokemon Go, Google Lens, Snapchat filters, and even the popular furnishing store Ikea with their own uses for the new developments in AR technology.
AR is an evolving technology that web developers of today need to be aware of and actively planning to learn in order to keep up with the trends and web standards of tomorrow.
A Brief History of AR
Augmented reality, or AR, is a technology that lets a person use a device between themselves and the real world. Only, when they look through the device, they have the ability to alter what they see. In other words, think Snapchat or Instagram filters which can be applied to change your appearance or when everyone was outside catching Pokemon from the Pokemon GO craze of 2016. Using a combination of real and virtual world elements with real-time interactions.
The term ‘augmented reality was actually coined by a Boeing researcher named Tom Caudell and was first used as a way to virtual control and guide machinery to perform different training tasks for Air Force pilots. In 1994, Julie Martin, a writer, and producer created the first Augmented Reality Theatre Production by using virtual objects along with a graphics computer and the Polhemus sensing system to project an object and an environment for the theatre dancers to immerse themselves within.
1998 was the first time NFL fans witnessed the virtual 1st and ten graphic system- aka the yellow yard marker. The new technology allowed a yellow line to be overlayed on top of the feed so that viewers can quickly see where the team needed to get to in order to get the first down.
2013 to 2014 Google unveiled it’s Google Glass which implemented augmented reality experiences with a pair of glasses and could access Google apps such as Google maps, Google+ and even their Gmail accounts.
2017 IKEA released their augmented reality app called IKEA Place and being the first of it’s kind by allowing a user to view what their product would look like in your home or space and allowing the consumer to virtually preview their home décor before actually making a purchase.
Today Augmented Reality is everywhere and with more and more people browsing the internet, shopping, and making purchases through their mobile devices. It’s making it easier than ever before to take advantage of AR.
The Value of Mixed Reality
The combination of real-world and the augmented reality transforms how we work, learn, play, shop, and connect with the world around us. It’s a rather perfect way to help visualize things that would otherwise be impossible to see. There has been a steady increase in AR/VR technology, but only recently in these last few years, we’ve seen a real emphasis on augmented reality along with virtual reality due to the pandemic and with more people than ever moving to operate online whether if it’s for business or pleasure and the trend is skyrocketing.
Tech giants such as Google and Apple are at the forefront and now Facebook or (Meta) has officially taken a stance by developing its own metaverse increasing the push towards web 3.0 and a more augmented world. It’s becoming an increasing concern for smaller companies to try to figure out how they can also get in on the action and use AR/VR to increase both work efficiency and overall business profits.
The Problems of AR
According to a recent study by GlobalWebIndex, 90% of people surveyed were aware of virtual reality while only 65% were aware of augmented reality and only 23% said they engage with AR in the last month. These low numbers of people aware of AR along with a lower number of engagement is an issue with AR advancing to the mainstream along with the perceived notion that most people confuse AR with VR and think that they need an expensive headset to have the experience.
It boils down to a general misunderstanding of the technology and what we can do with it as consumers and developers. Consumers right now feel that AR is mostly used for gaming, film&tv, or social media. However, the survey also shows that a third of consumers understand that AR could have some use within marketing and eCommerce applications.
Additional problems can come in the form of hardware issues such as devices malfunctioning or problems connecting to a local server. Content glitches can range from 3D objects not loading correctly or not functioning as they’re expected to. Perhaps your IKEA chair only wants to anchor to the ceiling.
Here are three use cases and examples of how AR is currently making waves for website visitors.
1: Virtual beauty & apparel
Sephora Virtual Artist is an app, but is also available right on their website as a web app. The basis is that the consumer allows the website to have access to their camera in order to activate “live mode” so they can see what a certain product will look like on their face as they move around. They can also choose the model mode to see what it would look like on a model’s photo or they can also choose to upload a photo of themselves and apply the product to it.
2: The ColorSnap by Sherwin-Williams is an app and web app that you can use on your desktop, mobile phone, or iPad to scan your desired room or area and then simply select your preferred color to see what that particular color would look like in your space.
3: IKEA Place is by far one of the more popular use cases and one of the first to utilize AR by allowing an ever-expansive list of products to be virtually dragged and dropped right into any space just by using your smartphone or tablet device. A user can choose a dining room table set and view it virtually in real-time right in their kitchen.
4: Jeep allows users to see if the new Wrangler will fit in their garage and what it would look like next to their kayaks and camping gear. Customers can use their smartphone to go in-depth with a virtual Jeep Compass changing the colors, tires, and more. Customers can even open the car doors and look inside the vehicle all the while customizing it to their liking.
5: A tattoo shop can now utilize AR a few different apps to not only draw up their artwork for their clients, but they can now show their clients what the artwork would look like on their body before any needle is pulled from the package.
The Bottom Line
Major companies such as Google, Apple, And Facebook are already heavily investing in both AR/VR technologies and due to the recent covid-19 pandemic, those investment numbers have gone from a modest $12 billion in 2020 estimate to a whopping $73 billion in 2024 estimate. AR improves conversion rates by up to 40% and by using these technologies on your websites, landing pages, and web applications you will provide an experience for users to view a product in a more in-depth way.
As Web developers, we can utilize AR in order to make the content more immersive and interactive which will increase overall engagement and in turn produce more sales. These AR experiences can do everything from helping to tell a brand story to view a product virtually in real-time. By incorporating AR these companies will become more memorable and help the business stand out from the competition.
Those who understand the value of AR now will be the ones that will gain future success as we push forward toward the path of web 3.0. Take advantage of AR and help your business be ahead of the competition.
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Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
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