Using AR to enhance user experiences

Using AR to enhance user experiences - a speaker's experience of ILI 2018

Bruce Massis is the Director of Libraries for Columbus State Community College (Columbus, Ohio), and the college Accreditation Liaison Officer. Here, he gives his experience of this year's ILI in London.

For the second year running, I was extremely gratified to have been selected to present a session at the Internet Librarian International (ILI). This year the conference was celebrating its 20th anniversary.

This year my presentation was entitled, "Using Augmented Reality (AR) to Enhance User Experiences". There appeared to be quite a lot of interest in the session as the room was filled with conference participants.  The content of the session focused on the Columbus State Community College (Columbus, Ohio, USA) experience in using AR to enhance its special exhibits and art exhibitions in its campus library.

My presentation offered slides of various AR examples where static images such as posters and notecards were enhanced through the use of multimedia "auras", that is, film, music and photographic images brought to life through the use of a downloadable app to one's handheld device. Filmed ARs of news events and speeches, musical selections, animation and poetry readings were all presented as enhancements that could be created to generate greater interest in a static object. The music and poetry readings appeared to have been especially well-received by the audience.

The discussion of the use of AR in libraries went beyond special exhibitions and gallery shows and extended into considerations around other possibilities for AR in libraries including highlighting certain areas of the collections or using AR to create wayfinding tools to assist library visitors in navigating their way throughout the building.

Questions from the audience centred around the number of hours it might take to create "auras" of AR attached to static images to a question regarding the Columbus State experience with 3D AR images.  There were additional questions after the close of the formal session, thus extending interest in the topic to discussions outside the session presentation room.

Overall, the experience was an entirely productive and satisfying one in a professional and welcoming environment.  Kudos to the conference organisers and to an audience of library professionals eager to learn and participate.

ILI 2019 takes place in London on 15 & 16 October 2019 - save the dates.

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