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Augmented Reality (AR) in Web Development

augmented reality in web development

Augmented Reality (AR) – is the technology that allows adding non-existent elements to the surrounding reality. One of the examples may be the broadcasting of sports matches, when the video that comes with certain coordinates in the air is supplied with the flight trajectory of a ball, bootheel or a line that serves as a certain starting point. In other words, the conjunction of real and imaginary objects takes place. This effect is also frequently used in movies and advertising.

Actually, the notion of the Augmented Reality was introduced quite long ago, namely in 1990. It was offered by the Boeing Corporation researcher. That is, the very idea of using augmented things that actually take place and those that are unreal to create images in the real-time mode or during cross-cutting is not new. It’s difficult to call the technology in such a format an “applied” one: an ordinary person once used the ready-made content it was applied in. That person could not affect anything or change the means or other ways of using the technology. From now on, the situation has changed forever.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Due to the development of connectionist networks, mobile devices, cameras and software, the Augmented Reality has become an indispensable part of lives of ordinary people. What’s more, it is now widely selected as the available and widespread technology to use for the completion of the applied tasks. You don’t have to be just a user without any freedom of choice anymore. Instead, you can personally decide on whether you wish to use the AR for the completion of your everyday tasks or not. What matters most is that the number of application spheres is quite extensive and it keeps growing (entertainment, construction, design, architecture, automobile industry, education, logistics, mapping, eCommerce and what not).

Well-known companies like Apple or Google extensively implement and popularize the Augmented Reality technology in their eco-systems. For example, the Safari mobile version supports the preview of the AR-based content without the need to install extra applications (it functions on the basis of the iOS12 – integrated AR Quick Look tool). ARCore and ARKit provide the environment for the development of applications and content of the Augmented Reality. Google has announced the I/O-based Android Q, which can transfer 3D objects into a user’s environment directly from the browser search field by using the mobile camera only. Anyway, the tendency is clear. In just a couple of years, the Augmented Reality will become a mainstream. The future has already come.

How Augmented Reality Works

The essence is clear: instead of watching flat images, a user gets an opportunity to try on a product or an interior object in the real-time mode. 3D models of clothes, shoes, furniture, technical appliances, flowers, decorative items and other elements can be applied by means of of your mobile device camera on real objects in the real-time full-scale regime to see how exactly they fit you.

The fact that the coordinates and the width or scale are considered and calculated in details makes the information quite valid and trusted. Anyway, it is very close to the result you will avail, when placing an order.

The prevailing amount of people now have smartphones, which makes the technology extremely available for large audiences. It’s all about its realization as the AR integration into eCommerce is quite an expensive process, which can be practiced by rich and profitable companies only.

Augmented reality in eCommerce

The development of AR applications is mainly the prerogative of niche studios with complex equipment and software. The process is focused on the creation of 3D models and their further use. The cost of the technology integration will further gradually decrease. This is the major reason of why eCommerce website builders tend to integrate the Augmented Reality technology into the development of their products.

Contemporary web design niche currently features many website builders that can afford AR introduction in their projects. This is quite beneficial for ordinary users as they avail an opportunity to use the above listed advantages without investing anything into the process. The first platform that introduced the advanced technology was Shopify – the globally known eCommerce software. It’s high time to find out more about the systems, which apply the AR technology these days and about the impact it has on website/business promotion.

AR Realization in Shopify

With the realization of the Augmented Reality approach, Shopify has made it possible for web store owners to increase their sales volume, while their customers have become more confident to buy the things they really need. This innovation does not only increase the conversion rate, but it also decreases the number of products returned to the web store as well as boosts customer satisfaction rate. Their expectations regarding the product choice are justified to a great extent. AR integration is the revolution in the eCommerce niche.

Shopify supports the presentation of 3D models to clients, but you have to get them before. To do that, you’ll need to complete several steps:

  1. Install the 3D Warehouse app into your web store.
  2. Access the web store management dashboard, choose the account menu and the «Hire a Shopify Expert» option.
  3. Pick the “Add New Functionality” option.
  4. Select the “Create 3D Product Models for AR”. The cost of the service starts with $100.
  5. Answer all the required questions and send the inquiry.

As soon as you inquiry is reviewed, you will get an offer from the expert with all the project completion terms. You should also provide the photos required for the creation of 3D product models. Each of them requires photos made from different angles (front, both sides, back, upper and lower parts).

Shopify AR Source:

To create quality photos of large objects, the 50 mm camera lens will be enough. For mid-sized and small products, it makes sense to use 70 mm and 100 mm lenses. If an object has a complex and unsymmetrical texture, you may also require more photos. Obviously, the quality of images has direct impact upon the quality of 3D models. Having a professional camera is a must in this respect.

To create the exact models of objects, specification of their sizes in millimeters will be required. If you have the drafts or sketches of products with the specification of their dimensions, they will certainly come in handy.

As soon as you are done with this complex of measures, you just send the photos and get the ready-made 3D model soon. You have to thoroughly check their quality – realistic view, proportions, accuracy of joints, textures, signs or signatures and what not. These models are designed with regard to certain quality standards that are specified here.

Wix Augmented Reality

Creating augmented reality experience with Wix has now become possible, which unveils multiple opportunities for web developers. By means of embedding interactive 2D and 3D elements into your blog or website, you can now ensure superior web browsing performance, adding the required functionality to your project and letting users visualize the details they are interested in.

When working with Wix, you have the only opportunity of AR integration. It currently implies the need to use third-party Augmented Reality creation services with further code integration into your project. The process requires at least baseline programming proficiency along with web design background, effort and time investment.

Among the external services you can use for this purpose, it makes sense to mention Vectary, Glitch, ViewAR and more. These systems generate pieces of code you should further integrate into your Wix website editor to get the result.

wix editor

Apart from direct code integration, Wix allows using its high end VELO tool – the open development platform, which speeds up the process of app creation and integration. Wix VELO makes the procedure of app development hassle-free, simple and understandable even for non-coders. This also tackles the issue of AR app development. It generates step-by-step guidelines on how to smoothly integrate codes to your Wix project and how to work with the system APIs to add the required AR functionality and enhanced visual interaction to your website. The tool also adds a built-in IDE to your Wix project to let you code directly in the system editor without reaching for third-party services.

WordPress Augmented Reality

As a leading CMS that has gained global popularity, WordPress does not lag behind in terms of Augmented Reality application. The system allows starting web stores with the opportunity of product visualization in the customer’s environment as well as other types of websites that ensure a truly exciting and realistic presentation of 3D models.

To implement the feature, WordPress allows using its Augmented Reality themes and plugins. The themes are created by third-party developers and can be purchased on the web. A truly remarkable multi-concept WordPress template with integrated AR technology specially developed for WooCommerce is Ozisti. It lets you start high end web stores with the unsurpassed shopping experience for the potential buyers. The theme will work great for any type of a digital store, be it a furniture shop, an interior/exterior design agency, a fashion clothes boutique, a gadget store and what not. You can have a look at some demo versions of such web stores to see the result you will avail in the long run.

shop demo

When starting a web store with WooCommerce, you may also appreciate the opportunity to integrate special AR plugins like CartMagician or advanced AR for WooCommerce Premium Plugin that unveil the ability to add the required number of 3D models/variations to the items you plan to offer for sale. These items will be viewable in the AR mode on tablets and mobile devices, while desktop visitors will have the possibility to view each 3D model in their browsers.

Apart from launching web stores, WordPress also allows creating business projects and other web resources with AR features. This is achieved by the integration of the corresponding plugin specially developed for the CMS, namely AR for WordPress plugin. This is the all-in-one solution that lets you present the items/products to the target audience in the interactive way. Just integrate the plugin into your WordPress website, upload the 3D photos or images of items you wish to display and follow the steps the system generates afterwards. Anyone can handle the process even without any specific coding skills or technology-related knowledge.

Is AR the Future of Web Design?

The AR trends become a notable part of life for web developers and ordinary users. Previously, only a small category of users had access to the the application of this technology. Today, even a small business can afford presentation of their products in the 3D mode. The cost of the service is not high, while the majority of clients have the required technical basis for the preview of such content type – these are iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets.

Shopify has become the first full-scale platform that has integrated eCommerce AR. Obviously, web store owners find the process of AR set up a bit challenging, but it’s definitely worth that, considering the potential effect they might avail in the long run (the conversion rates may increase twice). The availability of specialized skills and software makes it quite possible to create 3D models independently. However, the prevailing amount of users will find it simpler to pay for the ready made quality result.

You can order the development of individual AR programmed solutions from web studios, but this is not beneficial at all – that’s quite expensive. It is more reasonable to use ready-made solutions, many of which are going to appear in the nearest future. Shopify was the pathfinder and it has recently been followed by the renowned niche leaders – Wix and WordPress.

Wix website builder makes it possible to integrate the Augmented Reality technology into web stores and other types of websites it powers. The system implies the need to use third-party services to create AR apps with the opportunity of their further integration into Wix websites through direct code injection or via the use of Wix VELO tool.

WordPress also supports AR integration. There is currently access to Augmented Reality themes like Ozisti designed for WP websites by third-party developers. Likewise, the system allows integrating special plugins (AR for WordPress, CartMagician or advanced AR for WooCommerce) to give your website impressive visual presentation and to enhance customer web browsing experience.

Many large IT companies are exploring the AR technology, which is a worthy continuation of VR ideas (virtual reality), having become its separate branch. The technology will surely become the major future trend as it’s getting a more extensive applied meaning. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and other reputable companies are working on the development and promotion of standards and means of application of the AR in real life. This is the cornerstone of its success and extensive development. In just around 2-3 years, everyone will use the technology for multiple purposes. Why don’t you start now?


About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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