Advantages and Drawbacks of using Augmented Reality

I don’t seem to be able to get away from reading posts and websites on Augmented Reality at the moment (it’s no bad thing) and this post from Frank Spillers at Demystifying Usability called What’s next in mobile user experience? Augmented Reality listed the following advantages and drawbacks;

Drawbacks of Augmented Reality

  • Current performance levels (speed) on today’s [2009] iPhone or similar touch devices like the Google G1 will take a few generations to make Augmented Reality feasible as a general interface technique accessible to the general public.
  • Content may obscure or narrow a users interests or tastes. For example, knowing where McDonald’s or Starbucks is in Paris or Rome might not interest users as much as “off the beaten track information” that you might seek out in travel experiences.
  • Privacy control will become a bigger issue than with today’s information saturation levels. Walking up to a stranger or a group of people might reveal status, thoughts (Tweets), or other information that usually comes with an introduction, might cause unwarranted breaches of privacy.

Benefits of Augmented Reality

  • Augmented Reality is set to revolutionize the mobile user experience as did gesture and touch (multi-modal interaction) in mobile phones. This will redefine the mobile user experience for the next generation making mobile search invisible and reduce search effort for users.
  • Augmented Reality, like multi-modal interaction (gestural interfaces) has a long history of usability research, analysis and experimentation and therefore has a solid history as an interface technique.
  • Augmented Reality improves mobile usability by acting as the interface itself, requiring little interaction (this Interaction Design technique is known as Direct Manipulation). Imagine turning on your phone or pressing a button where the space, people, objects around you are “sensed” by your mobile device- giving you location based or context sensitive information on the fly.

Frank closes his post with the following;

“Augmented Reality for mobile phones is an exciting development and has the power to take the mobile user experience to the next level, offering users the value proposition they have long been waiting for on mobile phones and devices: helpful, simple, convenient just-in-time information and services.”

As I’ve said before (check the related post links below) the implications on learning and teaching are only just being considered. What we need now is a defined and structured approach to fully investigate the possibilities. Anyone interested in taking the up challenge?

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