noun. (1) A rapid prototype designed to explore and share an AR Idea. (2) An ambitious startup trying to invent the tools and collaborative community for AR design.

In October 2017, I set out to build a tool for designers to effortlessly prototype AR. It was to be focussed on…

  1. Designer Experience — code free and built around existing paradigms
  2. AR First — keeping it simple by having an extremely narrow focus
  3. Learning — evolving with AR and the needs of the users

Ten months of intense development followed. Over 500 people joined the beta, including designers from the big companies you’ve heard of, through to students looking to get ahead of the curve, and even their professors. They believed in the vision and were excited by the promise.

I learnt a lot during the beta, and my biggest learning came from a question I was frequently asked… “what should I build?”

I tried to always give the truthful answer… “I don’t know”.

The problem is choice

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I said in my original post that we don’t have an established design language for AR but I now think the problem is even earlier in the process, we’re still missing the ideas.

As someone building an AR design tool, people often assume that I am an expert on AR Design, but the secret is that I’m not! The even bigger secret still is that there are no real experts yet. The teams inside Microsoft, Google, Apple, Adobe, are asking the same questions and going through the same challenges as you and I.

The solution is play

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Back to the question that plagued me… “what should I build?”. The answer is… build everything. To discover what great AR should be, we just need to play, we need to experiment like crazy, share our explorations and learn from each other.

Over the years, I’ve learnt so much from collaborative communities like Github and CodePen. Even, throughout development, Dribbble has served as my go to source for design inspiration. I’ve learnt on these platforms and now I’m learning from these platforms.

Not sure what to … browse the community first, experience the creations of other users (like this wiARframe from Will Duncan), learn from their stories and rewiar (fork/remix/rebound) their creations as the starting point for your own project.

wiARframe is no longer just a tool for AR prototyping, it’s a platform for discovery and co-design, a safe place to explore — I hope you’ll join me there.

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