Even though Augmented Reality may seem like some far-fetched niche for some end-users, it is a source of competitive advantage and a marketing tool for big businesses and corporations.
It has begun to redefine user experiences, whether in online gaming, commerce, or even learning and development. Given its quick success in the global business ecosystem, an increasing number of entrepreneurs and tech persons are exhibiting a strong interest in investing in this technology, particularly through AR app development.
Are you hit by the AR revolution too? Have you come here looking for an overview of the AR app in 2023? We explain these 10 steps to follow on how to develop an augmented reality app.
Types of AR Apps
Before we get into the process of how to make an augmented reality app, we explain to you in brief, the different types of AR apps that you may choose to invest in.
Marker-based AR apps use triggers like icons, QR codes, or images to create AR scenes when captured by the device camera. These triggers prompt the app to display relevant AR content. For example, the AR Zone application on Samsung phones brings features like AR emojis, AR faces GIFs, etc. based on the user’s facial metrics.
This approach is cost-effective and simpler to develop, making it suitable for various business applications.
Frameworks like Vuforia and Wikitude support marker-based development, though it’s advisable to choose open-source SDKs that align with your project needs.
In location-based AR apps, 3D objects are placed in the real environment using the device’s camera and backend programming. Pokémon Go is a prime example of this type, leveraging GPS, compass, and AI for object recognition.
Due to their complex architecture and AI integration, these apps demand more time and investment. Expect development to take at least 5 months. The AR Toolkit stands out as an excellent choice for crafting top-notch location-based AR apps.
10 Steps to Build an AR App
Creating an AR app sounds both profitable and inventive for any business. When seen as a project, however, it necessitates extensive preparations, decision-making, and the purchase of technological instruments. And everything is taken care of with thorough market research, competitor analysis, and a solid business plan.
If your mind is made up, we show you how to build an augmented reality (AR) app for your business. Here are 10 steps to guide you through the process:
1. Idea and Conceptualization
Define the purpose and goals of your AR app. Determine what kind of augmented experience you want to provide to users. This could range from educational tools to entertainment or practical applications.
- Define the purpose of your AR app. Identify its target audience and what unique value it will offer.
- Decide whether your app will be marker-based or location-based, considering the complexity and features you want to include.
2. Market Research
Research existing AR apps in your chosen domain, and closely examine the kind of features that others in your domain offer. This also involves enquiring about the prevalent practices, the goal is to come up with unique ideas for your app.
- Analyze existing AR apps in your chosen domain to understand trends, user preferences, and potential gaps you can fill.
- Identify the competition and determine how your app can stand out.
3. Choose a Platform
Choose whether you want to develop your app for the Android platform, iOS, or both. You can use different platforms and frameworks depending on your market research and app conceptualization.
- Use ARCore for development on Android Systems
- Use ARKit to create an AR app for iOS platform devices.
4. Design User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)
Sketch wireframes and design the app’s interface. Consider how users will interact with AR elements and the overall app flow. Ensure a seamless and intuitive user experience, taking into account both AR and non-AR components.
5. Gather Resources and Hire Developers
Collect the necessary tools and resources for development, such as development environments (Xcode for iOS, Android Studio for Android), 3D modeling software (Blender, Maya), and any libraries or frameworks for AR development.
You will also need to look at the developers that you need to get your app developed. Optimizing project costs hinges on developers’ choices and operational considerations. Options include:
- In-house Team: Expensive due to full-time wages and benefits.
- Hourly Development Team (Staff Augmentation): Offers flexibility and control over project timelines.
- Outsourcing: Common approach for overall app development. Monitored remotely for timely completion, testing, and launch.
Alternatively, you may choose to build the app on your own, for which you will most likely have to learn AR development as well, but more on that in the next step.
6. Learn AR Development
Familiarize yourself with AR development tools and technologies such as object tracking, gesture recognition, and 3D object placement.
Learn the specific development environment, API calls, and libraries for your chosen platform.
7. Create 3D Models and Assets
Design and create the 3D models, animations, and other assets that will be used in your AR app. Make sure these assets are optimized for real-time rendering on mobile devices.
8. Coding and Development
Start coding your AR app using the chosen development environment and AR frameworks. Implement features like object tracking, gestures, and interactions.
It is also important to keep testing every element that will be implemented in your app. Before the final testing, we recommend that you keep testing the app elements in a controlled environment for smoother development.
AR app developers employ three key testing standards:
- Technical Performance: QA experts evaluate backend and frontend strength, identifying bugs, viruses, and potential crashes across varied platforms and screen sizes.
- Navigation and User Experience: Testers ensure an app boasts intuitive user journeys, swift loading times, seamless sign-up/sign-in processes, end-user features, and graphic stability.
- Data Accuracy and Security: Testers employ ethical hacking to fortify an app’s security against breaches and data leaks. Accuracy testing assesses the app’s precision in recognizing texts, images, locations, and environments.
These testing types are referred to as functional testing, instrument testing, and unit testing in technical terms.
10. Deployment and Launch
Once the app is stable and functional, submit it to the respective app stores (App Store for iOS, Google Play Store for Android).
- Adhere to the app store guidelines and ensure all legal and privacy requirements are met.
- Promote your app through marketing and social media to attract users.
We have tried to break down the steps to create your AR app. All market data and user approval indicate that we will see augmented reality in almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives, from healthcare to real estate to retail and gaming.
Remember that creating an AR app is a dynamic process that might involve iteration and refinement based on user feedback and changing technologies. Stay open to learning and adapting as you work through each step of the process.