Apple today has updated its Human Interface Guidelines for augmented reality to reflect the new features introduced in ARKit 1.5, which comes as part of iOS 11.3. The new guidelines cover things such as support for vertical surfaces, objects that are placed offscreen, and more.

First off, Apple encourages developers to “guide people towards offscreen virtual objects.” The company explains that it can be difficult for users to locate an object that’s not position onscreen, and thus indicators could help users navigate to those objects easier:

Consider guiding people toward offscreen virtual objects. It can sometimes be hard to locate an object that’s positioned offscreen. If it seems like the user is having trouble finding an offscreen object, consider offering visual or audible cues. For example, if an object is offscreen to the left, you could show an indicator along the left edge of the screen so the user knows to aim the camera in that direction.

Apple’s updated Human Interface Guidelines include a host new details for “Reacting to Imagery in the User’s Environment.” This section helps developers enhance their augmented reality experiences by using “known imagery in the user’s environment to trigger the appearance of virtual content.”

For instance, Apple says an app could recognize posters for a sci-fi film and “then have virtual spaceships emerge from the posters and fly around the environment.” It’s certainly sounds like a pretty cool feature, but Apple is sure to note that there are downfalls.

The updated guidelines also include new suggestions for handling interruptions. Apple explains that developers should avoid updating the AR experience if possible because AR must remain active to track device position and orientation:

ARKit can’t track device position and orientation when AR isn’t active. One way to avoid interruptions is to let people adjust objects and settings within the experience. For example, if a user places a chair they’re considering purchasing into their living room and that chair is available in different fabrics, you should allow them to change the fabric without exiting AR.

You can read Apple’s full breakdown of the augmented reality Human Interface Guidelines right here.


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