Deskplanation Ep. 1: Augmented Reality

Pat Bowen
Pat Bowenposted on on January 18, 2016

Extending Print

What is augmented reality? The quick answer is that augmented reality is simply augmenting, or adding to, real world objects with the help of technology. There are a variety of ways to do this, but the overall goal should be to increase engagement and value for your intended audience.

In our first Deskplanation video we walk through how we implemented augmented reality (using a platform called Layar) on the Pageworks launch brochure. We had two goals:

  1. Showcase a few simple ways augmented reality can be used.
  2. Make the transition from our old name and contact information to our new information.

We accomplished this by adding buttons to import contact information, call the sales rep, email the sales rep, or visit the Pageworks websites. Additionally we added buttons to the portfolio section of the brochure that allowed a user to view additional information about the project. This implementation helped us extend print by putting details in a digital format while the printed material contained photos in a beautiful layout. Finally we added a video to the last page of the brochure allowing the user to quickly watch it and learn about our transition from our old name to our new name and brand.

Other uses

The truth of the matter is that our implementation of augmented reality was simple and straightforward. The options for implementation and the capabilities of augmented reality are growing every day. Augmented reality can be used to launch way on screen way finding information, such as a guided campus tour for a college, or points of interest in a museum. Some of these guided tours or advanced implementations could take a significant amount of custom development, but depending on the purpose and scope of the project may be beneficial as recruitment or training tools.


One example that could be beneficial is using a similar implementation to ours to add e-commerce to your printed catalog. Consider these facts:

That tells us that people like receiving communication through the mail, but that e-commerce is shifting towards mobile devices. There are numerous reasons for that, such as the fact that if you receive a print catalog in the mail and want to purchase something online you need to type in the website, search for the product, customize it, and then go through the check out process. The transition isn't as seamless as it could be.

Enter AR

If your company sends out a catalog with purchasable products you could add augmented reality to it allowing the user to scan the pages and simply click a button to jump right to the customization portion of the purchase. This could reduce the frustration of needing to search for the product on your site. The benefit is that you allow the user to browse the product in a printed medium and easily complete the transaction on their mobile device all while reducing searching and typing on their mobile device.


Augmented reality isn't a magic bullet. In fact, in many cases it can still present itself as gimmicky, BUT there are numerous places it is starting to serve a real and useful purpose. Our team at Pageworks has been working with clients to find these uses and help them implement AR in useful and beneficial ways. If you'd like to discuss these options, brainstorm new ones, or just see a demo feel free to contact us.

Tagged with Print, Web Development