Beyond the Desktop and Tablet:
Opportunities and Challenges of Creating Effective Augmented Reality User Experiences
February 11, 2019
As we see augmented reality (AR) applications move from research labs to commercial applications, the need for usable AR-based systems has become more and more evident. Despite the fact that AR technology fundamentally changes the way we visualize, use, and interact with computer-based information, only a modest amount of human-computer interaction (HCI) work, especially user-centered design or usability evaluations, has been done. Encouragingly, traditional HCI methods can be applied to determine what information should be presented to users. However, these approaches do not tell us, and what has to date has not been adequately explored, is how information should be presented to the user and the impacts of interface design on user performance and behavior. In this talk, I discuss the nascent design opportunities afforded by augmented and mixed reality technologies. I present a sample of recent research that illustrate the challenges associated with designing and evaluating effective AR user interfaces. I conclude with an argument that traditional HCI measures of effectiveness, such as time-on-task and errors alone, are insufficient in understanding the impact of AR on human performance.
Dr. Joseph L. Gabbard is an Associate Professor of Human Factors at Virginia Tech. He holds Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. degrees in Computer Science (HCI) and a B.A. in Sociology from Virginia Tech. Dr. Gabbard’s work centers on human-computer interaction in augmented and virtual reality. For over 20 years, Gabbard has been a pioneer in creating new methods of design and evaluation for emerging interactive systems. Currently, Dr. Gabbard directs the COGnitive Engineering for Novel Technologies (COGENT) Lab, conducting basic and applied HCI and human factors research on perception and cognition. The research emphasizes the application of principles and theories from several disciplines to the design of augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality user interfaces, information presentation and user interaction. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Facebook, Honda Research Institute, Jaguar Land Rover, the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Naval Research.