AR Bookmarks - Dev Notes #6 - Changing how links are placed

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In my previous dev notes I mentioned that the app was feeling more robust but felt weird with links floating all over the place. Since then I’ve made some small changes and gone down lots of wild goose chases.

Placing links

One of the things I attempted to do but fail was to be able to pin the links to the wall. The closest I got was making a black box fill part of a wall where it has been detected, but that was as the camera saw the wall not on click. So I imagine to put the links on the wall I would need to remember where the detected parts of the wall was and compare to the direction the user is looking. This sounds possible but seemed like it would be a lot of hoops to jump through to get to something that may not feel brilliant anyway as it hardly ever detected the walls completely.

So I went a different route, which was to simply reduce the distance in front of you that you place the link. Beforehand it would go a couple of feet in front, which worked fine but meant it wasn’t very obvious where it would land. Now it simply puts it a very small distance in front of the camera, so it feels like dropping a link just in front of you.

I looked into making it so you could use a slider or something to change the distance in front of you, to position in the world but that didn’t work very well and I wanted it to be as simple as possible. These changes can come over time if anyone finds the app useful.

Favicons

The other thing about placing links in the world that felt odd was that they all looked the same. If you clicked on one it would tell you the URL but otherwise it was guesswork. So now I’ve got it so it places the favicon of the website instead of the link icon. This is a simple and quite obvious change but adds another layer of robustness feeling to the app as it feels like you are now placing the sites. For example if you place a link to Google then it will show Google’s G icon where you leave it. Can’t get much simpler than that. Of course lots of sites don’t have a favicon and even if they do you can’t tell the difference between pages (ie. two Twitter profiles would still show the same bird icon). However, it is definitely good progress.

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