Last week we were invited to speak at ADDConf in Barcelona, Spain. ADDC, the App Design and Development Conference, aims to create an opportunity for mobile designers and developers to meet, find new ways to work together and get inspired in an open, inclusive and collaborative space.
At Novoda we strongly believe in collaboration between product design and development. Having a team with good communication between both disciplines improves the product development process and leads to a better result. So when we heard about a conference that tackles both, it seemed like the perfect place to present our experiences with Augmented Reality.
During the two days of ADDC, there were talks aimed at designers and talks aimed more at developers, but there were no separate tracks for the talks, designers listened to developers and developers learned from designers. This was a very interesting format because it puts people in the position to learn new things from completely different perspectives. One of the talks about designing experiences for women without using the colour pink was received very well especially by developers who had never really thought about colour theories and adaptable design.
This created a unique challenge for us: Creating a talk that could benefit everyone in the room, designers, product people and developers, with the aim of bringing them forward on their understanding of Augmented Reality. Since we had been working on an AR investigation together, we were well prepared to talk about both sides: Chris had paired with Berta on the ARKit code and Berta had helped Chris with designs constraints for the experience. We wanted to say so much about the topic, but this was a introduction talk on Augmented Reality that did not allow enough time to go really deep on either design or development.
The biggest challenge when preparing this talk was making sure that we gave the same amount of importance and time to each subject, to make a compelling and interesting talk whilst striving for as little technical or design specific points as possible. Another challenge was the fact that Chris is based in Novoda’s London office and Berta is based in the Barcelona office.
We do a lot of remote work at Novoda, but creating a conference talk remotely was a very new experience to both of us.
Putting together a talk and a slidedeck while working from two separate countries was a unique challenge, but because both of us had participated in the investigation on Augmented Reality, we were confident in our knowledge and the content we wanted to talk about.
We started out with a rudimentary skeleton of the talk. The basic idea was that we were going to split it into two main parts: designing the experience and then building the app. The roles were clear since the beginning.
After laying out the skeleton, we continued by adding more detail to our topics and targeting specific areas that would benefit the attendees of the conference, designers and developers alike.
We ended with a simple format: an introduction to AR technology, followed by a walkthrough of creating 3D models for the experience, building the AR app, ending the technicalities with a few UX practices, and finishing up with an encouraging message to get the audience started.
Having all our topics figured out, we started drawing out the slides. We tried to keep the slides as concise as possible, but at the same time very descriptive of what we were saying on stage, with supporting points and imagery.
Check out the full slides from the talk on Slideshare
To get ourselves ready and familiarised with the talk, we rehearsed our parts alone. The first time we rehearsed together was when we met up in Barcelona. Before we went on stage we had rehearsed together about 3-4 times, and we felt very confident with our talk. Turns out, we did great!
Augmented Reality has been a hot topic for a couple of years, but with the introduction of new APIs by both Google and Apple we can now place an AR experience in every user hands, allowing your users to interact with your app or data in a complete new way, augmenting their reality and, with it, what they can do with apps and how much time they spend on them.
For the talk we prepared a presentation with some of the knowledge and experience from these past 6 months of investigation into AR technology and design.
Berta started the talk by explaining what AR is and what types of experiences you can build and how important is to choose and narrow down your purposes and types to be able to build a cohesive AR experience.
Chris took over the talk explaining how to design models and assets for AR experiences and how different it is from designing common 2D screens.
Berta then went over a little bit about the technology behind AR SDKs from both Google and Apple smartphones, what they had in common, where they differ and which one to use depending on the project.
Finally, Chris finished the session talking about how to design AR experience from a UX perspective: besides the model, you need to think of the experience with a complete different type of design process than for normal apps. He gave a few good UX tips and tricks for fluid interactions.
If you want to know more about Augmented Reality and what we have been working on at Novoda check out Augmented Reality: From Design to Development, where Berta and Chris will walk you through their AR talk and explain a bit how to build for AR technologies.
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