Placement Zones

I have divided the user’s view into three regions based on the distance and priority of information that can be displayed in these regions.

The distances are approximations made based on different studies and guidelines for AR displays and ongoing testing by me.

Heads-up Display (HUD) Region

This region is reserved for UI elements that are anchored to the head of the user and stay in the user’s view no matter where the user is looking (figure 1). It can be used for showing essential information like time, user-controlled notifications etc. similar to the status bar in smartphones. However, I recommend using this space sparingly for absolutely necessary elements based on the use case. It is recommended not to place objects too close to the user as it results in the accommodation-vergence conflict which causes visual fatigue.

The placement in this region which closer to the eyes enables the user to quickly see the essential info by shifting the focus from the real world and fixating on the information in the HUD region. As opposed to head movement if you place the same info below or sides of the main view.

User Interface/ Interaction (UI) Region

The ideal region where all the main experiences are to be placed for the most comfortable viewing experience. In the UI region, the virtual objects like a browser window can be anchored to both head or space around the user. This is the most interactive of all three regions where user can manipulate and play around with the virtual objects.

Environment (World) region

It houses all the elements that are anchored to space on objects which are out of the user’s control. Like virtual signages/billboards or location markers that give you info about real-world objects. The augmented information in this region can extend to infinity but it is totally up to the experience designers to take a call on how far they want to extend the experience. What I mean by that if you are walking wearing AR glasses you can see the info of a few blocks in front of you versus how far you can see. This is an interesting challenge because the information density increases with distance in the situation discussed above.