Augmented Reality Won't Make your App Cooler

Augmented Traffic Views is a pretty cool app that links your Android phone to Toronto's traffic cameras to help you make better decisions for your daily commute. Alas, I don't understand what the augmented reality part contributes to the application.
As a matter of fact, it seems to only hurt usability. Would you rather physically turn around yourself every time you want to see the video input coming from some traffic camera, or would you prefer a scrollable list of cameras and their locations? I would go with the second option. Moreover, you can't really use it in AR mode while driving, unless I'm mistaken and you can do u-turns in the middle of the road in Canada.

Once again, it's a useful application, and they have done a right choice giving it text to speech capabilities, but having an augmented reality interface seems to me contrived. True, AR has a natural appeal when it comes to house listing, as can be seen by the end of the video, but then again, house listing is not really about traffic views. I hope the guys behind this app (who are you?) will reconsider their use-cases before releasing it to the Android's app store.


Ron Edwards said...

Good point. Let's hope AR adds value. This example while cool is a bit like the IBM one at Wimbledon - cool, but near useless (one doesn't need AR text overlays on top of the already present signage!)

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