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Apple releases design guidelines for ARKit apps

New design and development tips for all developers working on augment reality apps

Paul Hudson       @twostraws

Apple has released a comprehensive set of guidelines to help developers make better ARKit apps, including thinking about safety, handling tracking problems, and some language suggestions to make technology seem less intimidating.

The highlights are:

  • Make your AR assets look convincing by using high-res models that are appropriately scaled, and try to use realistic lighting.
  • Remember that users may be in a constrained space, and too much movement may be impossible or even dangerous.
  • Don’t ask users to use AR for extended periods of time if it requires uncomfortable positions.
  • Remember to use audio and haptic feedback to make the experience more immersive.
  • Avoid saying things like “Insufficient features”, or “Excessive motion detected”, preferring “Try turning on more lights and moving around” and Try moving your phone slower” instead.
  • Don’t try to precisely align virtual objects with the edges of real objects, because surface boundaries are approximations that get refined as detection continues.
  • Allow users to reset the experience if they hit trouble.

Apple also provided some AR glyphs – an example of which can be seen at the top of this article – that can be used to trigger your AR experience. Using this icon is probably a good idea, at least in the early days of AR when both users and developers are still figuring out what works well.

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About the author

Paul Hudson is the creator of Hacking with Swift, the most comprehensive series of Swift books in the world. He's also the editor of Swift Developer News, the maintainer of the Swift Knowledge Base, and a speaker at Swift events around the world. If you're curious you can learn more here.

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