Techniques for concept generation in Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
In my experience, clients very often have wonderful ideas that they would like to see in Augmented Reality. However, an AR solution may not always be the answer and several questions need to be answered at this stage : what is the goal, who is the customer, is it the same as the user; what will be the added value to user and the business etc.
Concept and development Strategy
A practical methodology to develop AR solutions requires stages of discovery & assessment leading to an MVP which would then be improved, scaled and launched.
Let us deep dive into Discovery & Assessment phase, the focus of this article
Going through the Discovery & Assessment phase will help you analyse & align concepts to a campaign/product feature which meets a target market. A strong discovery and assessment phase will help create clear requirements for your soft launch and eventual product/campaign launch. This phase helps eliminate risks such as poor fit (product-market), unexpected costs, unavailable resources, unmatched technology expectations and many more. However, in order to have an effective discovery stage, it is important to define business goals & objectives, identify a cross-functional team and train them with fundamentals of AR &VR.
Define business goals & success factors with the project sponsor. An example of defining a clear & measurable goal ‘How May We’ create awareness about our product ‘XYZ’ amongst a new target segment ‘young adults’. Stick to the goal throughout the discovery phase. The success of this phase depends upon the participants & stakeholders. Typically, Marketing, Product, Innovation & Technology teams can provide valuable insights in these sessions.
Moreover at this stage, it is quite beneficial to bring an AR/VR expert for stakeholders to understand the technology, landscape so that they can validate their ideas through early concepts.
So how do we realistically conduct a discovery ?I will provide here a few suggestion for discovery workshops that I use and have found them quite easy to understand for the participants.
Before kicking off an AR/VR workshop, remember the key is “Sensible UX” : The user is key and so are your goals for this user and the business. Technology for being #cool is not a great investment. We need to take a strategic outlook and derive actionable outcomes beneficial to the business.Below, the infographic explains it in further detail
Exercise one:Persona mapping
All goes down to knowing your user well, their behaviour, digital presence etc. A Digital Marketeer or a Product Manager would be very valuable in this exercise. Here is a template for you to use.
Exercise two : Customer journey map & Brainstorm storyboards
A customer journey map helps put ideas into perspective of opportunities at different touch points & empathise with the user. A storyboard takes into account the actual play out of your idea including location, touch points, activation points, clear call to action, message. The facilitator can help classify and group ideas together as often there will be many overlaps. Be creative, use many types of resources such as the good old post-its & pens, paper, even Lego, playdough, whatever inspires your imagination. It is important to have initial messaging with stakeholders & CTA, this can be refined later. It is however, not expected of the stakeholders to define touch points, activation etc, that is where AR consultants/UX designers would play a role in guiding.
Exercise three: Bringing it all together in a business canvas
I like to run this exercise especially so as to give an overall picture of the final Go-to-market of the AR/VR experience. This exercise highlights risks, dependencies, costs, revenues, and go-to-market channels . A simplified business canvas can help structure this. Some of the key questions to ask are shown below in the template.
The result of such discovery workshops result:
This exercise provides a concise, well thought through briefing for tech teams or agencies who will eventually produce the experience and content. The outcome of the exercise could also be that an AR experience is not necessary, which is also very useful.