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Interactive Print and User Experience

Chris Cameron May 14, 2013

As augmented reality and interactive print continue to grow, it is becoming clear that many more people now understand that a whole new world is emerging. We now have designers and engineers specifically working on AR projects, and with that comes and increasing amount of theory and best practices for AR user experience.

We recently saw this article by UX Magazine about augmented reality and user experience and we noticed how it related to interactive print in some places. In the article, authors Olli Siebelt and Michael Marina provide some starting guidelines for thinking about user experience when developing augmented reality experiences.

Consider Context
They mention first to categorize and plan your project based on the intended use case, and the same can be said for developing an interactive print campaign with Layar. 

It is important to consider differences in context when enhancing a magazine page versus and billboard ad or product packaging. The experience needs to feel natural to users, and what feels natural will vary between these different scenarios.

Real World Testing
Another tip – to go out and test in the real world before creating your project – can also be translated to interactive print campaigns. It was important for Layar Partner Limebizz to know the environment in which one of its latest campaigns would be displayed.

The bright orange mystery crate displayed in Antwerp’s central station was a very unique use of interactive print for users. Instead of holding a magazine in their hand, they were standing amidst a busy train station with varying lighting throughout the day. The results were terrific!

Design for Mobile
And finally, having a eye for design for the small screen is one of the big points made in the AR UX article. This also applies to interactive print. It’s very important that visual assets are easy to view and read on a mobile device, and that any web-based content linked to from your print is mobile-friendly.

See More In Our Guide!
These are just a few of the great tips we provide in our comprehensive Best Practices Guide! Have a look at the steps you can take toward more effective interactive print campaign creation, including:

  • Getting started with interactive print
  • Best practices for the Layar Creator
  • Concepting your campaign
  • “Dos and Don’ts” for instruction pages, calls-to-action and more
  • Testing your campaign
  • Integrating interactive print into your workflow
  • And more!


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Glacier Media’s Interactive Print TV Ad

Chris Cameron May 13, 2013

Back in February we told you about our exciting partnership with Canada’s Glacier Media, which is using Layar in over a dozen local newspapers on a regular basis. To help promote this partnership, Glacier has produced a 30-second television ad to show off the power of interactive print.

“Imagine being able to interact with your newspaper, purchase what you want whenever you want it, investigate your interests, look past the surface,” the ad says. “Don’t just read your newspaper, experience it.”

It’s a really well-made ad and it perfectly explains the core benefits of interactive print - being able to bring the digital interactivity we know and love from the web to print materials.


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Under the Hood with New Advanced Creator Features

Chris Cameron May 8, 2013

Today we’ve added some great new features to the Layar Creator which now make it easier for developers to quickly implement engaging augmented reality experiences with Layar Vision.

In addition to making the uploading of page files easier and adding a social Share Page button (see our blog on these items here), we’ve added a pair of advanced features that make the Creator more powerful than ever. With the new Custom URI Scheme button and JSON Hotspot widget, developers can now add hooks to third-party applications and drop Layar Vision code directly into the Layar Creator.

Custom URI Scheme Button
Some third-party apps use a custom URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) scheme to allow deep linking to actions within the app. For example, a link from any application on iOS or Android to “layar://layarname” will open a layer in the Layar App (granted the user has Layar installed on their device).

With this technique and depending on the schemes provided by various apps, you can add interactive print links to perform various functions on a user’s device, including view a map or directions, play a song or other media and much more! It’s especially useful to direct a user to an action within your own app from the Layar App.

Check out our Custom URI Scheme Button Tutorial to learn more!

JSON Hotspot Widget
Many developers have already used the Layar API to create Vision layers, and now you can simply drop your JSON code into the Creator to make publishing this content much easier! The advantage is that it supports more features than the Creator does natively, including 3D models and animation.

Anyone with knowledge of JSON and 3D modelling can easily create and publish a 3D augmented reality experience within the Layar Creator. A majority of hotspot-level features of the Layar API are supported with the exception of any feature that requires communication with a dynamic back-end (e.g. asynchronous actions).

Check out our JSON Hotspot Widget Tutorial to learn more!

These improvements are all part of our commitment to providing the best augmented reality and interactive print solutions for both publishers and developers alike.

Log in to the Layar Creator today to get started with these new features!


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New “Share Page” Button Lets Users Share Your Content

Chris Cameron May 7, 2013

As we continue our commitment to providing the best interactive print tools and services, today we’ve made some improvements to the Layar Creator that should make a big difference in your experience.

Now Users Can Share Pages
Firstly, we’re making things a bit more social. We already allow users to share items on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but previously they were limited to sharing just the digital content. We found that users are often looking to share the print content they are scanning with their social networks, so now they can do just that!

As a publisher, you can now add a Share Page button, which lets users easily share the original print content they are scanning. This way, others can see these pages and even scan them themselves to join in the interactive print experience.

You can add a caption to the page that appears on Facebook and on a landing page for the image hosted on It’s a great way to help spread your print content the way users are used to sharing digital content already.

Unified Page Uploader
But that’s not all. We’ve also made your lives easier as well with a small change to the page upload process. Previously, to upload a ZIP or PDF file to the Creator, you had to click a separate link within the normal image upload screen.

Now, we’ve unified these two functions, allowing you to use one upload mechanism for all interactive print content. Now JPG, PNG, PDF and ZIP files can all be uploaded from one window. It’s a small change but it should go a long way to making your experience with the Creator a smoother, more user-friendly one.

You can find these new features in the Creator today. Log in now to get started!

We’ve also added some more advanced buttons to the Creator, including a JSON Hotspot Widget and a Custom URI Button. We’ll go into more detail on those here on the blog soon.


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Add Fun Interactivity with Clickable Image Carousels

Chris Cameron May 6, 2013

Not long ago we added a new dynamic widget to the Layar Creator: the Clickable Carousel. Basically, it works just like the existing Image Carousel widget, but offers the ability to add links to each image so users can tap them to visit various links.

There are several cases in which this widget is very useful and fun for the user, including the example in the video tutorial above which we created. We added various dresses and hats to a model that you can swipe through to mix and match styles, and clicking on the images takes you to the mobile shopping pages for those items. You can try it by scanning the image below.

Other great examples have emerged from the community already! One user added the various body systems (muscles, organs, nerves, etc.) as slides on top of a skeleton image. Click here to view this example and scan with Layar!

This gift guide shows users different colors and styles for a bag by letting users slide through and click the one they like! Scan them with Layar to see how Clickable Carousels can add interactivity to your print content.

To make your own Clickable Carousel, just follow these steps:

  1. Drag the widget onto your page
  2. Click “+” to upload the first image
  3. Add the URL it should link to
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all images are added, then click “Apply Changes”
  5. Resize and reposition the widget
  6. Test and publish!

Check out the video above or scan the image below to see how it works, and log in to the Layar Creator today to get started making your own! 


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