Designing for Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) allows users to imagine and interact with things in the world using immersive technology. It is predicted that by the year 2022, the VR/AR/MR market will reach $220 billion dollars with a high adoption rate. As of today, an Augmented Reality application currently holds the throne as the highest paid application on the iOS market. The question is- what's next?

Designing for AR requires a specific attention to the goals and context of the application's use. For example, if we're designing for medical, all attention should be given to guiding the doctors or nurses with accurate medical information or tools necessary to help them accomplish their goals. If we're designing for entertainment and promotion, then designing emotionally engaging experiences can allow a user to engage with a brand like they never have before. For this reason, all the user experience design principles and research methods that Balance practices can be extended into designing for augmented reality.

Augmented Heart.png



Upon the release of Apple AR Kit, Balance decided to run a design and development sprint to create an easy-to-use AR game. The game, called Balance AR, was focused on three main aspects: engagement, ease-of-use, and enjoyment. We kept constraints around the concept tight in order to get a minimum viable product on the market in the week AR Kit was launched. The entire project was completed in two weeks. Our intern, Kendall Toerner, was able to program the game and push it onto the app store. Though Balance does not typically engage in development, this was the fastest project we had ever designed, developed, and released.

Goal: Release an Augmented Reality app along with iOS 11

Approach: Create an AR game

From low to high fidelity

We started testing potential opportunities by first understanding the constraints of AR Kit. At that point, the system could only detect planes. We decided upon a concept that would work as a sling-shot simulator with a timed-trial approach- this way, it could run infinitely as long as the user could advance from level to level, increasing in difficulty. We started with sketches and wireframes and improv to act out the game in space. Afterwards, we got the game onto iOS and ran some usability tests. Our early findings informed us that the menu was being blocked by the users fingers while playing, and that the app was too heavily branded. After applying the fixes, we pushed the app onto the app store.

Result: A branded AR experience with over 10,000 downloads


Balance continues to invest in the VR/AR/MR movement and can incorporated these skills and tools into your design and innovation programs


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