Augmented Reality Development Cycle
Each software product, whether it is a game, time management system or big data analysis software, is a complicated system, where every mistake may cause devastating effects that may come to light at any moment. And, as it often happens, understanding of full-cycle development remains the same for many companies when they choose to switch to the arising technologies. Such approach, as every prejudice in favor of existing guidelines against better judgement, is a high risk for software development companies, their customers and actual users.
AR systems, also known as Augmented Reality, are products of a completely different level. Even if they seem to adapt features of well-known standard products that do not interact with actual reality, their main difference is exactly this – interaction with real world, it’s real time augmentation and automation.
Development process for augmented reality consists of key points, each having a deep impact on all aspects, with each sudden change to original plan causing development to last a lot longer.
The first stage is complex system description. The purpose of this stage is to formalise the task, create milestones for all specialists and evaluate required resources. One of the most important questions that arise during this stage is “how are users going to discover, see and interact with our system”.
Second stage is an extension of the first one, as to set up proper augmented reality system developers need to select one of existing technologies available on the market, or create a new one specifically for their system.
The next step is to make a prototype of future game, and often this stage takes a long time. Reason for this is obvious – at this stage developer receives first data, and management team is able to adapt plans based on results of previous stages. It is also good to understand that at this step the need to backtrack is almost guaranteed, as newfound information on software that is being created may increase amount of work needed in comparison to original expectations.
As soon as prototype of future system is matching all requirements, it needs to be scaled to fit the target audience. For example, appearance of company logo that is shown over a banner on a website may look different on a screen of mobile phone or tablet. At this stage existing system is already designed to be extendable, so developers make sure that is easy to adapt in future.
All stages that follow prototyping are iterative implementation of required visual, marketing and UX features, taking into account possible future evolutions of existing system.
Also, as each software product, AR software needs extensive testing of it’s applications with higher amount of possible risks.
Obviously, some of these stages match their counterparts of traditional software development strategies and lifecycles. At the same time we need to understand that augmented reality development is even more challenging task, that requires maximum compliance of AR system to its commercial purpose.