Interactive AR experience for retail stores
Building a MVP for users to find products in a retail store using an Augmented Reality map-based navigator.
To come up with an AR map-based navigator to help customers find products in retail stores.
A technology services company came over with the requirement to design an MVP for an Augmented Reality Shopping Experience application. The main aim of the mobile app was to help users to be able to easily find for products in a store using an AR based navigator along with providing an easier way for users to check out within the app itself after finding their products.
First things first ... research
Getting into new territory is always exciting and when the concept of AR was brought by the client, I was brought on board immediately. In the initial calls with the stakeholders, I immersed myself in understanding the vision and requirements of the client.
With the tone set on the direction of the project, I kickstarted the process by doing an initial research to understand how much AR had transformed the retail industry, how we could effectively craft stories in AR and how well one could build the best possible experience in AR. And yes, keeping in mind how users would work with advanced technology like AR and making the experience as seamless as possible for them.
More Research, Framing the Story and Iterations
Based on the research and the inputs the business had received from their users, we figured the target base of the app to be people between the ages of 25-40, decently tech-savvy, and someone who made a defined lists when shopping. With that in mind, I started drafting the initial storyline that users would go through when using the application.
The initial storyline follows the journey of the user from the moment he enters the store. He scans a QR code on entering the store, which will would open the web app.
On signing up/logging in, the user will be taken to the landing page of store from where he can start searching for his products. We came up with 2 use cases at this point which needed clarification from the client:
Case 1: Could the user search for and make the list of products to find and then start the search for each of them?
Case 2: Would there be a possibility where they search for one item, find it on the map and then go on to the second product and so on?
The client confirmed that use case no. 1 was the one we needed to go with.
Post this, it was all about how interactive the AR experience could be made. A lot of questions were posed to the clients during the process. For some we got the answers and for the others, it was a matter of assuming – we put ourselves in the place of the user and built all the possible scenarios that could happen pre-AR experience, during the finding and post-AR experience. Since this area was relatively new to all of us, a lot of time went into the research and understanding of the process.
With our assumptions in place, I drafted in a more elaborate story along with the multiple scenarios that a user might go through in the process of finding the product.
There was a constant back and forth on the story direction. Post all these iterations, we zeroed in on a story direction which would act as the based for building the prototypes and process flows. We proceeded with the happy path assumption for the moment, but did mention to the client of the number of issues that might pop up once we test it out with the user.
Building the Prototypes
Once the story direction was finalised, I took up building a low fidelity prototype as per the story drafted. The prototypes went through multiple levels of feedback from the team and the stakeholders till it took a reasonable shape. While working on it we gave importance to the story/conversational style of the content. This went through multiple iterations with the team until we were convinced on the writing across the prototype.
The story and the flow is currently being tested with a sample set of users. We are also waiting in on the technology side of the team on their views of how to implement the AR side of things. The project is ever evolving and I am preparing myself for the next steps in case any edits to stories/process flows happens.