Tip of the day: How to design effective Augmented Reality interfaces

Introduction to Augmented Reality Interfaces

Augmented Reality (AR) interfaces are a type of user interface that enhances the real-world environment through digital overlays, creating an interactive user experience. AR interfaces are becoming increasingly popular due to the advancements in AR technology and the growing demand for immersive user experiences.

What are Augmented Reality Interfaces?

Augmented Reality Interfaces are a type of interface that overlays digital information on the real-world environment. This digital information enhances the real-world objects and provides additional context, interactivity, and information for users.

Why are they important?

AR interfaces are important because they provide users with immersive, interactive experiences that were not previously possible with traditional interfaces. AR interfaces have a wide range of applications, including gaming, education, healthcare, and retail, among others.

Challenges in designing AR interfaces

Designing effective AR interfaces requires an understanding of the unique challenges associated with this type of interface. These include:

  • Integration with real-world objects
  • Designing for varying lighting conditions
  • User experience and usability
  • Adopting new interaction patterns
  • Developing for multiple devices with varying capabilities

Tips for Designing Effective AR Interfaces

Designing effective Augmented Reality (AR) interfaces is crucial for creating immersive experiences that users can easily engage with. Here are some tips to consider when designing AR interfaces:

1. Understand the User and Their Environment

Before designing an AR interface, it’s important to understand the user and their environment. Considering factors like the user’s skill level, age, and cultural background can help you design an interface that is intuitive and efficient for them to use. Understanding the environment in which the AR experience will take place can also help you design an interface that works optimally in that setting.

2. Keep the Interface Simple

AR experiences can easily become overwhelming, so keeping the interface simple is key to making it accessible and user-friendly. Design the interface to have a clear hierarchy of information, with the most important information presented clearly and prominently.

3. Use Familiar User Interface Patterns

Using familiar user interface patterns, such as buttons, sliders, and dropdown menus, can make the AR interface more intuitive for users. Users are more likely to engage with an interface that they are familiar with, so it’s important to consider these patterns when designing an AR interface.

4. Minimize Text and Use Visuals

AR experiences are inherently visual, so minimizing text and using visuals can help create an immersive experience for users. Use images and icons to convey information instead of long blocks of text, making it easier for users to quickly understand the interface.

5. Optimize for Mobile Devices

As AR becomes more accessible through mobile devices, designing interfaces optimized for these devices is crucial. Keep in mind the constraints of mobile devices, such as screen size, processing power, and battery life, when designing AR interfaces.

6. Consider the User’s Comfort

AR experiences are often immersive and intense, so it’s important to consider the user’s comfort when designing an interface. Consider factors such as eye strain, fatigue, and motion sickness, and design an interface that is comfortable for users to engage with for extended periods of time.

7. Provide Clear Feedback to the User

AR experiences often involve user input, so it’s important to provide clear feedback to the user when they interact with the interface. Feedback can take the form of visual cues or haptic feedback, helping users understand when they have successfully completed a task.

Tools and Resources for Designing AR Interfaces

1. AR Development Platforms

AR development platforms provide the framework for developing augmented reality experiences. They offer features such as 3D tracking, object recognition, and scene mapping to create immersive AR applications. Popular AR development platforms include:

  • Unity AR Foundation
  • Vuforia
  • ARKit (for iOS)
  • ARCore (for Android)

2. Prototyping Tools

Prototyping tools allow designers to quickly test and iterate on their AR interface designs. These tools offer features such as drag-and-drop interface creation, animation, and user testing. Popular AR prototyping tools include:

  • Figma
  • InVision Studio
  • Proto.io
  • Adobe XD

3. AR Design Guidelines and Best Practices

AR design guidelines and best practices provide designers with a framework for creating effective AR interfaces. These resources cover topics such as user experience, accessibility, and performance. Some popular AR design guidelines and best practices include:

  • The AR Design Handbook by Treyce Meredith
  • Google’s AR Design Guidelines
  • Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for AR
  • Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Design Guidelines

4. AR Asset Marketplaces

AR asset marketplaces provide designers with pre-made 3D models, textures, and other assets to use in their AR interfaces. These marketplaces offer both free and paid assets, and can be a valuable resource for designers looking to save time on asset creation. Some popular AR asset marketplaces include:

  • Sketchfab
  • Turbosquid
  • CGTrader
  • Unity Asset Store


Augmented Reality (AR) interfaces can be a highly effective tool for engaging with users and enhancing their experiences. However, designing AR interfaces can be challenging, and it requires careful consideration of the user, the environment, and the available tools and resources. In this article, we have examined some of the best practices for designing effective AR interfaces, including understanding the user and their environment, keeping the interface simple, using familiar user interface patterns, minimizing text and using visuals, optimizing for mobile devices, considering the user’s comfort, and providing clear feedback to the user. We have also explored some of the tools and resources available for designing AR interfaces, including AR development platforms, prototyping tools, AR design guidelines and best practices, and AR asset marketplaces. By following these tips and utilizing these tools, designers can create immersive and engaging AR interfaces that resonate with users and deliver meaningful experiences.

Summary of tips and tools

To summarize the tips and tools presented in this article:

  • First, it is important to understand the user and their environment when designing AR interfaces.
  • Keeping the interface simple and using familiar user interface patterns can help users understand how to interact with the AR application quickly.
  • Using visuals and minimizing text can make the AR experience more engaging and immersive for users.
  • Optimizing for mobile devices can make the AR experience more accessible to a wider audience.
  • Considering the user’s comfort can help ensure that the AR experience is enjoyable and not physically taxing.
  • Providing clear feedback to the user can help them understand how the AR application is responding to their actions.
  • There are many tools and resources available for designers, including AR development platforms, prototyping tools, AR design guidelines and best practices, and AR asset marketplaces.

Final thoughts on AR interfaces

Augmented Reality interfaces hold immense potential for delivering engaging and interactive experiences for users. Designing effective AR interfaces requires careful consideration of various factors such as user behavior, user experience, and available tools and resources. By utilizing the tips and tools covered in this article, designers can improve the quality of their AR interfaces, making it appealing to users while enabling them to interact with content in a more creative and immersive manner. As AR technology continues to advance, we can expect to see it making strides in various industries, creating new and unique opportunities for users seeking more dynamic experiences.