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Virtuart: AR Social App

Virtuart is a for-fun concept that explores bridging the digital and physical, utilizing 3D space mapping technology that supports fun social experiences.

Introduction

I've always been fascinated with the lengths AR and VR can go and the uses they could have, both practical and impractical, as well as their potential to bridge reality and, well, anything fictional. Being a designer means pushing the boundaries of technology. Today, design is happening on mobile, desktop, and a plethora of physical products. Tomorrow (or today, if you're a designer at the cutting-edge), we could be designing HUDs for spaceships and holographic voice assistants!

This project is an exploration (albeit, limited in scope) of giving people an easy and delightful way to, essentially, draw on the world around them. By utilizing a phone camera and augmented reality technology, this app would operate in real-time and allow people to interact with their environment on-the-spot.

WHEN WAS THIS?
Spring 2018
WHAT'D I DO?
Researched and designed the end-to-end experience
WHAT'D I WORK IN?
Sketch
Principle
Adobe Suite (PS, AI, AE)
Lucidchart

Research

Currently, one of the most common devices for digital art seems to be the smartphone, and their mixed reality technologies have been advancing at an unprecedented rate. Google has been a pioneer in mobile VR, first with Cardboard and now with Daydream. These efforts alone are leading to a myriad of mobile AR and VR apps. The enhancement of software and smartphones are also paving the way for more progress in this new, fascinating field. Here’s a look at some existing products that use augmented reality.

Here are images of Color & Play (Disney), 1600 (White House Historical Association), Reality Editor AR (Valentin Heun), and View in My Room 3D (Houzz).

I spoke to twenty individuals from the ages 18–25 for their thoughts and predictions on mixed reality. Most expressed mixed sentiments, though almost all predicted that there would be a resurgence of AR/VR into mainstream media in the future.

AR is the future. It’s not commercially viable in its current form, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot of potential.

I’m totally on this bandwagon. This will be integrated in my life as soon as I can afford it.

After AR and VR, I would love to have dream reality.

I’d use AR to put virtual memes everywhere.

GPS augmented reality built into my car’s windshield would be helpful.

An AR drawing app would be cool. Like Snapchat filters but with 3D space mapping.

Shut up and take my money already.

VR and AR aren’t a passing fad. They’re just still being developed. The two will probably become integrated over time. 

I think that VR will probably thrive as a gaming platform. Though, as a gamer, I can say that it’s not too popular with the majority of us. 

There’s an app called Magic Leap that creates mixed reality and your brain won't be able to tell the difference between real and fake. It sounds both amazing and creepy… that might be what we’re gearing towards with this new technology. 

I'm just waiting for the day Microsoft Hololens becomes about the size of normal glasses and is affordable.

I don’t see a lot of productive uses of VR/AR, outside of gaming. 

Mixed reality will be like 3D. Companies think its the future, but consumers don’t give a crap. 

In what mainstream environment can VR or AR really outperform the desktop or phone? 

I’m not sure what the market would be.  

I’m more concerned about privacy. 

VR and AR are dead. Consumers have been over-promised and under-delivered. 

VR/AR won’t ever be truly useful. 

It seems years after this technology has been on the market — in each form, one struggles to justify its use. 

Potential for a lot of bad (Read: Black Mirror).

Gartner Hype Cycle

According to Gartner hype cycle, experts predict that AR and VR sit around the disillusionment trough of the hype cycle and thus, estimate that there will be at least five more years before mixed reality finds renewed interest.

According to the 2016 AR/VR Survey Report conducted among 650 AR/VR startup founders, the two greatest challenges facing mixed reality is lack of content and the public being slow to embrace mixed reality.

Greatest Challenges Facing AR/VR

Keeping these survey responses in mind, I worked to circumvent common AR/VR roadblocks in my own project.

Ideation

Currently, one of the most common devices for digital art seems to be the smartphone, and their mixed reality technologies have been advancing at an unprecedented rate.

User Persona - Jade

Getting started

When the user starts the app, they will be led through a Sign In or Sign Up and onboarding process before proceeding to their default screen, the Home Feed, which houses a footer navbar. The navbar has five tab options:

  1. Feed & Search — where users go to see their friends' and community's activity
  2. Map & Nearby Posts — where users go to see geographically nearby posts
  3. Camera — where users go to interact with AR and prepare posts for sharing
  4. Alerts & Messages — where users go to view notifications and private messages
  5. Profile & Settings — where users go to view their public profile and settings
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Nearby feed and search

In the Home tab, users will need to authorize location tracking before being shown the Feed. Much like Instagram's feed interface, users have the option to scroll through one post at a time, each containing a link to the creator's profile.

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Camera Use

When the user starts the app, they will be led through a Sign In or Sign Up and onboarding process before proceeding to their default screen, the Home Feed, which houses a footer navbar. The navbar has five tab options.

AR brush drawings

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