It’s a sci-fi scene in 2021 – an everyday crowd of citizens wearing augmented reality (AR) smartglasses that do everything from tell the time, give directions, or play YouTube videos.
Major tech companies (Facebook, Apple) strongly believe in AR as an essential tool of future user interfaces.
Arguably, the biggest reason to invest in AR is the immediate interaction between the real world and your digital interface. Currently, you stare at a little rectangle in your hands. It’s a constant choice between interacting with reality and the digital display.
With AR it’s not an either-or. You don’t have to appear rude staring at your phone. A text simply appears in your field of view while you’re out with your friends. You don’t have to keep looking down at your phone to navigate. A digital arrow could simply point you in the right direction while you look out at your environment.
AR allows for the URL and IRL experience to exist in a more cohesive manner. eCommerce often deals with high return rates and lower consumer confidence when compared with in-store shopping. AR is currently the cheapest and easiest “try before you buy” marketing strategy tool. People are already using AR apps on their phone to see how furniture looks in their home before they buy it, or how accessories look on themselves before committing to a purchase. It would be even easier on a pair of glasses.
User experience (UX) design often prioritizes reducing user activity in obtaining information. AR significantly reduces friction to get information. Right now, you have to turn on your phone and go to an app. With glasses, a QR code in your field of view might already display website information without any effort on your part.
There’s something called “The MAYA Principle” which is a term that succinctly describes an idea that every trendsetter utilizes whether consciously or not. MAYA stands for “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable”. Essentially, it means when you build something new or more advanced than what’s currently available, still understand where society is at.
In other words, don’t be so far out there that the consumer finds what you’ve made too weird or complicated.
The strategy then would make smartglasses resemble ordinary glasses, while holding extraordinary capabilities. Learning from the mistakes of Google Glass (released in 2013). They would reduce friction by letting the digital user interface meld with your real world situations. It would adapt and display relevant information without any effort on your part.
Zuckerberg said about Facebook’s smartglasses, “Ray-Ban Stories are an important step toward a future when phones are no longer a central part of our lives, and you won’t have to choose between interacting with a device or interacting with the world around you.”