“Imagine being able to interact with your newspaper, purchase what you want whenever you want it, investigate your interests, look past the surface,” the ad says. “Don’t just read your newspaper, experience it.”
It’s a really well-made ad and it perfectly explains the core benefits of interactive print - being able to bring the digital interactivity we know and love from the web to print materials.
Today we’ve added some great new features to the Layar Creator which now make it easier for developers to quickly implement engaging augmented reality experiences with Layar Vision.
In addition to making the uploading of page files easier and adding a social Share Page button (see our blog on these items here), we’ve added a pair of advanced features that make the Creator more powerful than ever. With the new Custom URI Scheme button and JSON Hotspot widget, developers can now add hooks to third-party applications and drop Layar Vision code directly into the Layar Creator.
Custom URI Scheme Button
Some third-party apps use a custom URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) scheme to allow deep linking to actions within the app. For example, a link from any application on iOS or Android to “layar://layarname” will open a layer in the Layar App (granted the user has Layar installed on their device).
With this technique and depending on the schemes provided by various apps, you can add interactive print links to perform various functions on a user’s device, including view a map or directions, play a song or other media and much more! It’s especially useful to direct a user to an action within your own app from the Layar App.
JSON Hotspot Widget
Many developers have already used the Layar API to create Vision layers, and now you can simply drop your JSON code into the Creator to make publishing this content much easier! The advantage is that it supports more features than the Creator does natively, including 3D models and animation.
Anyone with knowledge of JSON and 3D modelling can easily create and publish a 3D augmented reality experience within the Layar Creator. A majority of hotspot-level features of the Layar API are supported with the exception of any feature that requires communication with a dynamic back-end (e.g. asynchronous actions).
As we continue our commitment to providing the best interactive print tools and services, today we’ve made some improvements to the Layar Creator that should make a big difference in your experience.
Now Users Can Share Pages
Firstly, we’re making things a bit more social. We already allow users to share items on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but previously they were limited to sharing just the digital content. We found that users are often looking to share the print content they are scanning with their social networks, so now they can do just that!
As a publisher, you can now add a Share Page button, which lets users easily share the original print content they are scanning. This way, others can see these pages and even scan them themselves to join in the interactive print experience.
You can add a caption to the page that appears on Facebook and on a landing page for the image hosted on Layar.com. It’s a great way to help spread your print content the way users are used to sharing digital content already.
Unified Page Uploader
But that’s not all. We’ve also made your lives easier as well with a small change to the page upload process. Previously, to upload a ZIP or PDF file to the Creator, you had to click a separate link within the normal image upload screen.
Now, we’ve unified these two functions, allowing you to use one upload mechanism for all interactive print content. Now JPG, PNG, PDF and ZIP files can all be uploaded from one window. It’s a small change but it should go a long way to making your experience with the Creator a smoother, more user-friendly one.
Not long ago we added a new dynamic widget to the Layar Creator: the Clickable Carousel. Basically, it works just like the existing Image Carousel widget, but offers the ability to add links to each image so users can tap them to visit various links.
There are several cases in which this widget is very useful and fun for the user, including the example in the video tutorial above which we created. We added various dresses and hats to a model that you can swipe through to mix and match styles, and clicking on the images takes you to the mobile shopping pages for those items. You can try it by scanning the image below.
This gift guide shows users different colors and styles for a bag by letting users slide through and click the one they like! Scan them with Layar to see how Clickable Carousels can add interactivity to your print content.
To make your own Clickable Carousel, just follow these steps:
Drag the widget onto your page
Click “+” to upload the first image
Add the URL it should link to
Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all images are added, then click “Apply Changes”
Recently, Belgian creative agency Think Yellow teamed up with Layar partner agency Limebizz to create a truly engaging augmented reality experience for a special mystery client that drew an incredible amount of attention in Antwerp’s central train station.
The project, called “What’s In the Container,” centered around a mysterious bright orange cargo container assembled in the station’s main atrium. Around it, instructions were placed to attract passers by to scan the box with Layar for a hint about the container’s contents. If, on the day the container is to be opened, they could “crack the code,” they could win whatever was inside the box.
With tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people passing through the station, the project garnered quite a bit of attention. Social media was a powerful driver of this, as people were encouraged to use YouTube and Facebook to participate in the campaign.
They could step into the “Babble Box” and leave a video comment about what they thought was inside. Over 1,000 videos were recorded and automatically uploaded to YouTube, as people of all ages left their guesses about the contents. As more people “Liked” the container on Facebook, more hints were revealed about what was inside, encouraging sharing and spreading the message.
Scanning the side of the container with Layar displayed an AR video that let users “look inside” the container to see even more hints. The combination of social media and augmented reality from Layar made for a very engaging and attractive experience for visitors to the station.
Just recently, the code was cracked and the mystery was solved. The mystery client was Belgian cava maker Grand Baron and the container was packed with the bubbly stuff! Check out the video below to see the opening, which featured musicians and dancers choreographed in a beautiful ceremony.
This campaign is a perfect example of the extensibility of Layar’s interactive print! It’s great not just for individual experiences on the pages of a magazine, but – as we’ve seen with the great success of projects from CBS Outdoor – it also works great with large-form advertising in public, like billboards, posters or big bright orange containers full of champagne.
“The Layar App gave our static container a dynamic feature that has caught the imagination of many visitors,” said Think Yellow. “It really came to life and distinguished our project from many other projects in Antwerp Central Station.”