Applying Tangible Augmented Reality for Usability Assessment

Date of Publication: 
2019 August

When developing a new product, it is common for designers to feel that they do not have enough information about users’ needs. This is especially true at the front end of a new product design process. An important component of this process is testing and validating potential design concepts. The aim of this study was to explore the validity of augmented reality (AR) and tangible augmented reality (TAR) as tools for evaluating the usability of a product. For this study, 70 college students were recruited to perform a usability evaluation of a space heater product and equivalent AR and TAR representations of it. The results indicate that overall TAR can be a reliable method for evaluating the usability of a fully realized product, especially for products with physical interface controls. However, TAR was not found to be reliable with respect to Ease of Use. Overall, AR was not found to be as reliable as TAR or with respect to any specific aspect of usability that was measured. Applications, limitations, and areas for further study are discussed in this article as well.


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