Web design never stands still - especially as the use of mobile devices and notebooks continues to grow. While the latest trend isn't really all that new - augmented reality (AR) has been tipped as the next big thing for at least five years - with Apple packing it into its upcoming iOS 11, tens of millions of existing and new iPhone owners will soon be expecting to see augmented reality in apps, websites and online stores.
Augmented reality allows highly visual sites to move beyond a simple website image or on-screen 3D model. Instead, for example, clothes shoppers can use their phone's camera to 'try' the items on themselves to see how they would look. Or, instead of browsing through photos in an online brochure, a car buyer can look in and around a fully realised model of the car using their camera. Smart coding enables the buyer to customise the car with paint, trim package and interior styling choices, so they can see and explore 'their car'.
The rise of AR will also help businesses that have large products that are hard to demonstrate on a single page. Pop-up furniture shops could provide a QR code to a website link for each product and people could see it in-situ, in their choice of colour, or take the link home and view a couch or wall unit as it would look once installed, to get a better idea of whether they like it.
Facebook, Snapchat and other social media sites are also pushing augmented reality, which will help get people better acquainted with the technology. While there has been some limited success with AR smartphone helmets, designers have still been waiting for a major push with AR, and Apple's introduction of its ARKit in iOS11 could drive coders to introduce plenty of web-based AR features to support one of the iPhone's most exciting new features in the last few years.
Modern AR doesn't require any of the tracking cards that previous generations needed, and the level of 3D-visual is on a par with what we see in the latest games. Expect plenty of interest in added AR features to website designs to help make products more appealing to visitors.