Rationale & Final Design

Week 14 & 15 : July 30th - August 12th

Rationale & Final Design

Additional Video Prototypes

Following the feedback from the video, paper and experience prototypes, additional videos were made to develop on what was learned. Below is a prototype showing how frames would automatically scale to the surface.

User Flows & Journeys

The user experience map of a typical user "Eric" was created to highlight his experience throughout the various use cases and how he used AR in his daily life. The experience map outlines when mobile, AR or a combination of both technologies are being used. This experience map provided a deeper understanding into how each of the use cases could be linked together, and provided a solid foundation for how the final video prototype would be represented.

User flows which took the mobile applications into consideration were created to provide users with more clarity of the paradigms functionality. Handles would be cast from mobile applications and placed gesturally. Content is brought out of the screen and into the environment of the user, to be used in the way they see fit.

Final Design

Frames and Handles is a mobile and gestural interaction paradigm for consumer level augmented reality experiences.


This paradigm forms a conceptual foundation for developing useful, calm and enjoyable experiences for AR glasses.


This project sought to understand how and what an AR platform should be used for when designing for long term consumer level experiences. The AR platform design manifesto is the culmination of design principles and rules derived from the research to support the design of calm AR that users want to live with. This project establishes rules for an AR platform through a conceptual proof of concept display and interaction paradigm, creating a foundation for which additional functionality could be imagined or created.

The platform proposes a new paradigm for AR interfaces through frames, handles, gesture & mobile. Combining these concepts ensures an AR platform which adheres to the manifesto principles and provides a unique digital and physical experience, supporting useful and enjoyable contextual AR interactions. A hand tracking wearable and AR glasses provide the input modalities.

The output is a calm AR platform integrated with mobile devices, specialised in placing, viewing and sharing contextually relevant content. The platform provides users with a new way of experiencing web content and celebrates the physical world by seamlessly integrating it with digital content.

Hero Images

Below are visualisations of how the AR paradigm would function across the use cases:

  1. Dublin Bus App Content
  2. Viewing Media
  3. Following a Recipe
  4. World Content

Design Limitations

At this stage in the technology, AR is extremely hard to design for. Some design decisions and assumptions were made based on research, user testing and prototyping which may require further exploration over a longer period of time.

Technology Assumptions

A number of technological assumptions are made throughout this project. A platform like this would require AR glasses to be lightweight, have a very wide field of view, awareness of the environment and surfaces, function in bright environments and interpret gestural interactions accurately.

These assumptions were made to allow for a design which isn’t constrained by current technology in order to define a proof of concept AR platform which is both useful and enjoyable.


Mobile Integration

Integrating mobile devices vastly reduces the complexity of the AR system, increases user familiarity and ensures AR isn’t being used in situations where it is inefficient or difficult. Mobile integration would require buy in from web and app developers to ensure that they create content which is AR friendly.

It would be interesting to carry out further exploration into standalone AR platforms which adhere to the Calm AR Design Manifesto.

Colour & Simplicity

AR interface elements in this platform are intentionally simple with a colour choice which contrasts with the environment without being overwhelming. Real time contextual information should be quick and recognisable at a glance. Further work should be carried out in parsing and displaying digital content in a compelling, simple and low density way, perhaps in a more aesthetically pleasing way than these examples.

When playing media content it is assumed that it can be displayed as it would on a standard screen using the AR glasses. Currently AR displays are additive and cannot display blacks or block light.


3D Content

Further exploration into useful 3D content is necessary. This platform isn’t used for content creation and the majority of web and mobile content is 2D. The use cases examine the placement and use of this content in 3D space as this form of content is what users are familiar with and using currently.

The platform and the frames and handles paradigm would not be limited to 2D content. 3D content would be use case dependent and should not be used in situations which would confuse the user or make the task more difficult.


No Branding

No attempt was made to brand the AR output as a marketable product. The purpose of the project was to gain a deeper understanding of how AR should be implemented to provide useful and enjoyable experiences in a calm context.

The Frames & Handles paradigm and Calm AR Design Manifesto are intended to act as a platform for further AR development and app integration, rather than be sold as a standalone AR product. This allows users to imagine other ways that this platform could function for them. Branding the learnings as a product may undermine the openness and scope of the outcome.


No Glasses / Wearables in Videos

The choice was made to not show AR glasses or wearables being worn in the videos or images for this project. The reasoning behind this was that this project was about designing the experiences AR could provide, not designing hardware aesthetics.

Early prototypes which used fake AR glasses proved to be distracting to the viewers, shifting the focus from the AR to the physical hardware. Perhaps bringing a consistent style of AR glasses would’ve added to the believability of the project, however it is doubtful that it would’ve provided greater understanding or benefit to the viewers.


Prototyping AR

Extensive prototyping and testing of concepts was carried out throughout this project, however AR is currently very restrictive to design interactive experiences for. A huge limitation of this project is that no actual AR was created for and tested with an actual AR headset. There are multiple reasons for this limitation:

Lack of Experience: AR is a complex medium to work with. Time limitations, limited knowledge of software and lack of experience with the functional intricacies of AR were all factors which limited the potential of functional AR prototypes.

Access to Hardware: AR HMDs are expensive, and there was no free access to a HMD for testing AR applications.

Limitations of Existing Hardware: This project was focused on AR software design and experiences. The initial assumptions allowed for design beyond the scope of modern hardware.