Interior designing and buying furniture have been a struggle for a lot of people due to measurements issue and whether the product will actually fit in their place. It would be too much of a hassle for us when we have to go and return a large furniture just because it does not fit in our room. With the advanced development of technology, especially in the XR world, some companies, IKEA being one of them, start to see the opportunities on how this technology can solve their problems and benefit their business.
What is IKEA Place?
In 2017, the mega furniture company IKEA, published IKEA Place is an AR application which let users to test their desired furniture/products virtually in their own rooms/house. This application allow users to browse IKEA’s catalogue from their remotely and immediately try them out in their room by pointing their camera to the room. Immediately during the first year of its launch, IKEA Place gain their high popularity and become one of the most popular AR apps for non-gaming category.
What makes it so successful?
Simple and Straightforward
When using it for the first time, users are presented with an onboarding process on the available features and how to use the technology. This feature is extremely useful for those who have no prior experience in using XR applications. Moreover, with the classic and simple UI, it is relatively easy for users to navigate through the features in the app.
Although some AR applications still seem ‘unreal’ in a sense that it does not blend really well with the physical world, the IKEA Place is not one of them. This app claims to have 98% scaling accuracy which is truly reflected when using the app. After selecting the item that you want to place, it will automatically adjust the size and dimension of the room and surroundings, even when you try to move the camera and the object around. Therefore, you don’t have to worry of the product not being able to fit your room!
Save Place Feature
One of the design principles in UX design of an application is related to memory, how to make user able to recognize something instead of having to recall some information. With the “Save Place” feature, users are able to save their room design after placing all their desired products. Hence, when users want to go for a purchase, they do not need to remember all the products that they have put, instead, they can go to the “Saved Place” and see what products are used.
Find Similar Product Feature
IKEA has more than 10.000 catalogues which can be overwhelming for users to scroll through and search for a product that they want. With this feature, users are able to take a picture of their desired looking product, and the app will search similar products and present it to the users. This enhance the users’ experience since they do not need to spend so much time in browsing the catalogue.
Possible Future Developments
Despite all the benefits of the application mentioned above, surely there are still room for improvement that can be done to further improve the user experience.
As of the current features, after users plan out their desired room settings using the IKEA products’ catalogue, users will still need to go to their website or the physical store to purchase the items. This can be quite a hassle since users will then search for the products again in another platform. Therefore, it will be helpful if users can directly purchase all the products after saving a design into a saved place.
Another possible future implementation is a product recommendation that can suggest additional furniture that can enhance the room. One of the example is by recognizing the type of available furniture, color scheme, and the dimension of the room.
Room Design Template/Recommendation
For some people, it might be difficult to design a room from scratch and they would need some inspiration. Therefore, it would useful if there are collections of room design templates that users can refer to based on the dimension of the room. This feature can also involve IKEA interior designers/consultants that can assist users in designing their room, whether it is by sending their scanned room, or via live call.
IKEA Place is one of the technological breakthrough in the shopping world by being one of the first companies that uses AR technology for users to ‘Try before Buy’. Overall, the user experience of the app is relatively simple and easy to grasp even for beginners. Also, there are some interesting features that are very useful in assisting users in choosing their desired product. Although there are still room for improvement to better streamline the user experience, this app still gives a pleasant experience for the users.