The task of producing an Augmented Reality app goes far beyond the question of what’s going to magically pop up where. It’s as much about design as it is about technology, if not more so.
Surrounding your content is an app – your app – that not only displays your Augmented Reality content, but represents your organization. We at WORKSHOP 3D believe that an app creates an opportunity to provide sustaining value to your widest possible audience.
Rather than being downloaded once to view your content one time, and then deleting it when the user is done, a well-design app can have lasting value that allows you to maintain a relationship with your audience that goes beyond the initial Augmented Reality experience, creating a pipeline for you to deliver new and timely information and content on a repeating basis.
For us of course, Augmented Reality is at the core. But for you, it may only be part of a larger strategy toward audience engagement. Therefore, we prefer to think of the app wholistically, as a tool for you and/or your organization that is supported by Augmented Reality, but may include much more.
An Augmented Reality app presents two opportunities: In a physical setting such as a museum, gallery, theater, or even a shop, your app should have the ability to enhance the user’s on-site experience. After all, your goal is to give your user the best possible experience, and that may be the primary function. But the second opportunity is to give users who have not yet visited a taste of what your facility has to offer. This can be thought of as marketing, outreach, or just an extension of your mission – allowing you to spread your content beyond the confines of your own space.
One way to think about this outreach opportunity is to imagine that you were creating an app that had no Augmented Reality at all. What would be in it? What kind of an app would be useful in developing and strengthening that important audience connection? A schedule of upcoming events? Product lines or current exhibits? Hours of operation? User feedback opportunities? Interactive maps? Current organization news? Additional background information about your organization and educational information about your content? These and more can all be included in your app, under your branding, that gives your users a reason to keep your app on their device and refer to it from time to time.
Having identified these other uses, we can then consider how any of these might benefit from the Augmented Reality technology already inherent in the app. We can we make your maps more interesting. If there’s a new item in your collection or product line, we can use Augmented Reality to preview it. Your news can be beefed up with some 3D imagery and animation.
Additionally, we encourage you to look at how your existing engagement mechanisms might benefit from the features in the app. If you send out a physical newsletter, we can attach Augmented Reality objects, videos, or other media to the images in the newsletter, literally bringing it to life. Augmented Reality can also be triggered by images on a screen or monitor, so we can add a new dynamic component to your website and/or social media pages. Once the app is in place, perhaps even scanning your business card or logo brings up new imagery and information from time to time.
Beyond what’s in the app and possible enhancements to what you are already doing, is there anything new that you could do to engage the user that would utilize Augmented Reality technology? If you sell products, can they be enhanced by the app? If you run a gift shop, we can tie some Augmented Reality content to the products that you sell there. We can add Augmented Reality content to post cards, refrigerator magnets, even mugs and other objects. We can help you create a book based on your content that allows the user to take some of your content home with them, and interact with it on their own devices in Augmented Reality.
“I didn’t have a great idea when they started, but they were very helpful with that. They helped innovate and brainstorm what this could look like for us. Because they were a startup, they were willing to think outside-the-box for us. It was very much a creative process, and they were with me every step of the way.”
“They’re focused on being able to listen to you and helping you figure out what’s going to advance your project. Their creativity and ability to innovate are very much strengths. Their technical ability is great, but you still need to listen to a customer and innovate. They go a lot further.”
– Harriet Weber, Director of Operations, QVHSM
The goal is to maximize the utility and ongoing usefulness of the app, and to keep it in front of your users, reminding them of your presence and your mission or products, and keep them coming back. The well-designed app will be used more than once to do just one thing. Rather, it will create a connection between you and your user which can be updated, expanded, and enriched over time.