Designing an interactive AR experience for users to easily find products in retail stores

An exciting project from the start where I worked with the team to come up with an interactive AR experiences for making shopping quick and intuitive for users.

Driving Requirements

Getting into new territory is always exciting and when the concept of AR was brought by the client, I was duly interested.

There wasn’t much clarity on the requirements of the application – hence the need came to set up multiple sessions with the client and stakeholders to get a deeper understanding of what exactly was needed. We also had knowledge sessions with the client on the technologies that would be used to bring this experience to life.

In the discovery calls with the stakeholders and client, the team and I gathered as much information as needed to start building the storyline.

With the tone set on the direction of the project, I kickstarted the process by doing initial research on:

  • The potential users
  • How AR has transformed retail shopping
  • How to build stories in AR

The preliminary research and requirements formed the base for the initial storyline. Before even jumping into wireframing, we had multiple collaborative sessions with the client and our team to work on the storyline. Every draft of the story went through numerous iterations until we agreed upon a flow that could work for the MVP.

Responsibilities

  • Stakeholder meetings
  • Research
  • User Stories
  • Scenarios
  • Prototypes
  • Process Flows

Forming the Storyline

The initial storyline follows the journey of the user from the moment he enters the store. He scans a QR code on entering the store, which will either open a web app or prompt the user to download the app. On signing up/ logging in, the user is taken to the landing page of the store from where he can start searching for his products. There were multiple questions at this point that needed clarification from the business:

  1. Could the user select all the items and then start the search? 
  2. Can the user search for one item, find it and then go on to the second product and so on? 

Post this, it was all about how interactive the AR experience could be made. On the completion of the process of finding the products we had another fresh set of questions: 

  1. Could the user complete the whole transaction online? Did he need to go to the POS counters to check out? 
  2. What about offers and discounts? 
  3. In case the user picked products off the shelf without searching on the app, how would those products be checked out in case of a digital transaction? 

The building of the storyline stage had a lot of questions from both ends.

For some there were answers and for the others, it was a matter of assuming – I put myself in the place of the user and built all the possible scenarios that could happen pre-AR experience, during the finding and post-AR experience. Since this area was relatively new to all of us, a lot of time went into the research and understanding of the process.

Post all these iterations, we zeroed in on a story direction that would act as the base for building the process flows. We proceeded with the happy path assumption for the moment but did mention to the client the number of issues that might pop up once we test it out with the user. 

Building the Wireframes and High Fidelity Prototype

The next step was to build a low fidelity prototype first to iron out the story. This went through a few more iterations within the team and the stakeholders to ensure we were all on the same page on the direction of the app. 

This wireframe was later converted into a high fidelity prototype. While working on the screens we also gave importance to the story/conversational style of conversation. This went through multiple iterations with the team until we were convinced about writing across the prototype. 

Project Status

The screens along with the wireframes and user stories have been shared with the client.

The story and the flow are currently being tested with a sample set of users. We are also waiting on the technology side of the team on their views of how to implement the AR side of things. The project is ever-evolving and I am preparing myself for the next steps in case any edits to stories/process flows happen. 

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