IKEA brings augmented reality to the masses with IKEA Place, a mobile app allowing everyone to virtually experience how furniture can transform their homes. We partnered with innovation lab SPACE10 and IKEA to conceptualize the digital experience and bring it to market across the globe.
The idea of placing virtual objects in the real world had been around for sometime and experiments were seen in early ad campaigns or from smaller, independent brands. But for this to truly become a mainstream benefit, the technology had to be better, and the really big brands had to bring this to the masses. With the launch of Apple’s ARKit in mid 2017, the technology finally entered a scalable platform and with a quality worth pursuing. Who better to bring this to market than IKEA? A globally known company caring for ‘the many people.
With IKEA Place there was a chance to bridge ‘the imagination gap’ sometimes refraining people from taking bold or more considered decisions with their home decoration. But more than being a handy tool for people, IKEA Place would enable IKEA to “open” millions of new showrooms globally through people’s smartphones – a business opportunity that could play into future ecommerce experiences for the IKEA brand.
We were approached by SPACE10 to help conceptualize and design a mobile app that would let people confidently experience how good design transforms any space. Without any guidelines or best practices to rely on, we worked as an extension of the IKEA digital team and led the design strategy across all experience and interaction elements of the app.
With a 2-months window to get ready for the ARKit debut, the approach was locked down quickly in collaboration with both IKEA and Apple’s team: how could we use the camera as the base for all interaction, using people’s own homes as the canvas on which all interaction would sit. This was a challenge for UI design which traditionally exists in a controlled environment, but it was the feature that ended up making the app as intuitive as possible. Because if there’s one thing ‘the many people’ know how to use in a phone, it’s the camera.
Apple called IKEA Place the best AR app outside the gaming industry, setting a standard for many AR apps that followed.
Working better together
Better than before