UX Guidelines for Augmented-Reality Shopping Tools

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Summary: Ecommerce AR tools are relatively new, so must be highly discoverable and easy to learn. Calibration issues run rampant, and users must dedicate focused attention to interact with this unfamiliar feature.

Augmented reality (AR) is slowly yet surely becoming mainstream as a wide range of companies incorporate AR features into their websites and apps. Once you’ve decided that an AR tool would be useful , you must thoughtfully design it to ensure that it can be used successfully.

To uncover usability issues surrounding augmented-reality shopping features, we conducted a mobile remote moderated study with 10 participants. For this study, we looked specifically at ecommerce AR features geared toward informing purchase decisions. The study included a variety of mobile websites and apps, including virtual try-on AR tools that augment the user’s appearance (typically using the device’s forward-facing camera or a webcam) and ‘view in room’ AR tools that augment the user’s surroundings to place items within their environment. While these features are slightly different use cases, the majority of our findings apply to both types of AR tools.

AR Discoverability

Because AR is a relatively new technology (and was initially used in gaming), most users don’t think to actively look for it when they browse products online. Thus, if an AR tool exists, it must be very discoverable for users to notice it; it should also clearly communicate what it is and why users should interact with it.

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