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All Aboard the Virtual Train: How to Improve UX with AR and VR

While augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology has been around for a while, the processing power required to create a great user experience (UX) meant limited availability to the average consumer. But now, with more powerful devices and technology like Apple’s ARKit, people are walking around with that power in their pocket.
The opportunities for augmented and virtual reality applications in user experience have improved significantly. Paired with the excitement surrounding some of the first movers (like IKEA and its AR app), means people are scrambling to make sure they’re not left behind by the virtual train.
Like any new trend, it’s important to not just take part in it. You can’t just do it — you have to do it well. So creating an AR or VR experience without a strategy, just to say you’ve done it, won’t improve your customer experience or your sales. The real challenge, now that the virtual and augmented reality technology can support it, is figuring out how to design your user experience. And not just the visual design.
How will you design the user experience to complement and add value to your existing customer journey? It can’t frustrate the user and it can’t distract the user from what they are trying to accomplish. Every step of the journey created for your customers needs to move them down the path to purchase. How can AR or VR help make that happen?
Let’s go back to the IKEA example. Using the IKEA Place AR app, shoppers can take pieces of furniture for a virtual test drive in their homes before they commit to purchasing and assembling them. With the true-to-scale, 3D images of IKEA products available in the app, customers use the devices they’re already carrying around with them to see how the products will look and fit in their homes, and then use that information to make more informed, confident purchase decisions.

What Should You Do?

You may already have ideas on how AR and VR can fit into your business. Or maybe you think it doesn’t have a place at all. Either way, it’s important to explore the possibilities, to make sure you’re not missing out.
Talk to someone with experience in this area to see what your options are; someone who understands the practicality and technological needs to pull it off. Just exploring concepts and best practices can help open doors and minds to what is possible.
To learn about other trends affecting commerce this year, download our guide below.

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Dan Thompson

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