The release of ARKit in 2017 and ARCore brought a whole new world of mobile app possibilities to the market. Since then, more than 1,000 AR apps have flooded iOS and Android app stores that cover nearly every interest, hobby, and niche. There’s no denying that augmented reality is the next big thing for app development, but creating an AR app isn’t as cookie-cutter as some other kinds of mobile apps. Knowing how to incorporate AR using XR app development will make your AR app more effective.
Understanding Augmented Reality
Time and time again, we hear amateur app developers refer to augmented reality as a feature, and that’s where things start to go wrong. Augmented reality is not a feature – it’s a technology. When developing an AR app, you can approach it as a feature, but not in a traditional way.
If you choose to incorporate it in an app, but it’s not the star of the show, it is an element. That being said, how you incorporate this element into your app depends on your intended use, so now you have to ask yourself a few questions to nail it down.
What Is this AR App For?
There are two main kinds of uses for augmented reality, as discussed above. The app developer will typically use AR either to enhance an app or as the primary focus of the app. When you think of augmented reality as the core of the app, think back to the app that made it mainstream, Pokémon GO. The whole excitement surrounding the game was how users used AR to interact. This is common across gaming, music, and art AR apps, but it’s not the only way to use the technology.
Adding AR as a layer is a great way to enhance the user experience of existing apps or apps that don’t need to have AR as the focus. For example, Amazon has added AR View to its main shopping app that allows customers to place an object, such as a piece of furniture, in a location around them. Now customers can see how something would actually fit into their lives. This is an example of adding it as a very smart element, without making shoppers use it.
2019 will be a year where retailers will amp up their AR game in order to create an immersive shopping experience for users. If your app is focused on clothing, you may want to keep an eye out for how these retailers implement AR on phones and in their stores.
XR App Development and Augmented Reality Integration
Regardless of which direction you are taking your app in terms of AR app development, XR, or extended reality, is the practice that will help you create a great final product. XR is basically a blanket term for the use of VR, AR and MR. Using all these technologies, XR enables developers to create a rich user experience. It focuses on interface, movement, interaction, graphics, and sounds that are specific to AR apps. This is important for apps that are rooted in entertainment, education, and gaming, where the app is focused almost solely on AR technology, but also has a great amount of utility when it comes to adding AR as a layer.
Deciding how and when to include AR in your apps depends greatly on what you intend users to do with the app. Once you determine if AR will be a layer or the sole focus of the app, you can plan how to make it effective from there. Using XR app development pulls all of your planning together for a seamless user experience.
Do not see AR as something you can just stamp on your app or brand for popularity’s sake. Be sure the AR tech has a meaningful purpose that your consumers will enjoys whether that be a fun game, an immersive shopping experience or a cool way to visualize art.
About the Author
Michael Kelley is the Director of Communications at Fueled, an app developer based in New York and London.