Disclaimer: I could not get all the models to show up that were present in the documentation so I will be reviewing this based on both the above project and the demo I saw in class.
The one thing that struck me about this project was how visually appealing it is. I thought the way the forest emerges from a tiny book gave one of those “awe” moments. I am imagining if this was in a bookstore and I, as a user, just saw a tree shoot up over the aisles. Another one of these moments was seeing Gandalf’s staff glow as the voiceover for the book played. It was a good choice to not have that light constantly on and be an “opt-in” feature as that intense of light constantly may bother someone looking at hundreds of books at a time. Along these lines, I really enjoyed the Smaug surprise when I turned the book over, and a dragon murdered a minotaur.
I thought the voice acting was surprisingly good and would have caught my attention had I heard it in that hypothetical bookstore.
The placement of the reviews was interesting. I had to look around the dragon to read them. While this may not be the best for some users, I thought it was entertaining. It forces the user to notice the scene that the programmer placed on the book. It also provides a good backdrop with which to read the reviews, as there was a lot of light coming in from the window.
Some things that I thought could be improved were the scale of the objects. Looking at the image above, Gandalf is about as tall as a butterfly, which is half as tall as a tree. In VR this would have been fine, but since AR is limited to the real world, the scale of objects should be preserved. The book title was hard to read, as can be seen in the above image. Providing a backdrop or dynamically changing the color to a contrasting color would have helped.
The thing that stood out about this book during presentations was how well the augmentations stayed within the confines of the book. While I do enjoy the extravagant showings, the way that Michael implemented the augmentations was much more realistic. If someone was wearing AR glasses, they would not be able to both look at the book and see the entire scene that some projects worked to achieve. With this project, I can see the entire scene on the front cover and read the reviews on the back cover without averting my eyes from the physical book. If I was browsing through books, this is how it would have to be done as there cannot be thousands of flashy scenes overlapping with each other. Additionally, on both sides of the book, there are placeholders for the ground plane. This is great because if the author wanted to change the cover of the book, he could do so without reprinting it (just update the augmentation). Adding that plane to the back of the book also provides a good backdrop with which to read the reviews and watch the video review.
The idea of holding the button to here the tagline for the book is also an idea I liked. It allows the user to be in complete control over when they are hearing the spokesperson. It also gets around the hassle of having a play/pause button or the someone unclear gesture of pressing the button again.
The augmented scene on the front cover is also well thought out. Rather than there just being models placed everywhere, there is intent in the way the models are placed. All the models are facing the front of the book and are of appropriate size in relation to each other.
The one thing that I think could be improved on is the rating system. Normally I would associate tomatoes with a percentage score. If the book is to be scored one out of five, stars are typically used. This would make the user more familiar with the rating system “at-a-glance”. I also thought it would have helped to separate the video and textual reviews. It might be hard to read text when there is an unmuted video playing right above it that has nothing to do with what is being read.