What is old becomes new again. Fads come and go, but so do technologies. We have begun to be so immersed with digital ads that our brains have also begun tuning them out completely. In fact, about 77% of millennials pay attention to direct mail advertising with only 15% of them ignoring direct mail ads compared to 50% who ignore digital ads according to a study by USPS.
While the likelihood of reading something on paper is higher, it doesn’t have that same conversion factor one would find on an Instagram Ad that you need to tap on. We wanted to fix this and bridge the gap between the physical and the digital world.
Our general product development process at VisionX remains quite consistent for each project. Followed by the identification of a problem, we always begin with researching to understand the market. We then synthesize our results and carve out an action plan. Next, we prototype & design. There are times when everything seems to be clicking right away and we get to the final product quickly but many a time coming up with a solution takes several attempts as we never compromise on the quality and efficiency of our products. Lastly, we evaluate our prototypes with user tests.
Prototype & Design
We ended up not doing too much research for this project as the concept came out of our Design My Office project. We knew we wanted to be able to “grab” the item from a magazine and place it in AR, then include the standard checkout flow. Our initial and quick guess to make this work was a QR code that would allow this whole app to work, but we were not fond of the idea. Not only did it not seem “magical” but the printed material would always have those markings on it. Rather than adding unappealing QR codes to the pages, we actually made the individual furniture items on the pages themselves into tracker images, basically custom QR codes. With some machine learning, we could teach the app to recognize those images, “pull out” a 3D model onto the phone screen and allow for the user to continue to view the item in AR or checkout.
We do not yet have any quantifiable results for this project as it was still in beta as of this writing. Management and senior leadership are advocating the project and are certainly passionate about it.
Combining the magic and tactile feelings of the print world to the endless possibilities of the digital world just seemed like a perfect fusion. We were able to combine our machine learning, augmented reality, 3D modeling and ecommerce professionalism to create a truly one of a kind product.