Human-Centered Design for AR & VR

Human Centered Design for AR & VR

Date: TBD

Spatial computing is a rapidly advancing wave of new technologies that mix the digital and physical worlds to enable all-new experiences – and present an all-new set of challenges to designers and creators. Designing for this emerging medium can be daunting, as the process of creating spatial experiences like augmented and virtual reality forces designers to literally face new dimensions in their work.

A human-centered design approach offers a useful framework for understanding the spatial medium. This online course teaches a human-centered design process for AR and VR that can be used to create experiences across the mixed reality spectrum, and establish a grounding practice that will continue to serve even as spatial computing evolves into new platforms and modes of interaction.

Led by Sam Brewton (Wayfair AR Design Manager, former R/GA), this flexible two-week intensive combines learn-at-your-own-pace video lectures with virtual workshops focused on creating AR and VR. There are also live (optional) office hours and group webinar engagements to allow for questions and deeper discussion as participants work through the assignments.

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Key Takeaways

Methods for identifying XR opportunities - Learn to find use cases for XR (AR/VR/3D). From cross-platform to form-factor-specific, learn how to choose the right medium and device for the right context, and discover strategies for XR distribution.

Design and prototyping process - Learn to ideate and validate your concepts by using prototyping platforms that fit XR pipelines for real-time computing.

UX in XR - Learn about interface design guidelines for mobile and HMD (digital eyewear). Understand the emerging interaction patterns per platform.

Design systems for XR - Learn to adapt your brand’s design language to support XR experiences with 3D elements.

Asset creation - Understand 3D pipelines, both for working with teams in the creation of new assets, and leveraging existing assets.

Designing for everyone - Architect XR scenes that can be experienced through different platforms and input methods, for accessibility and broader distribution.

Create XR - Create your own WebVR, WebAR, social AR and spatial computing experiences.

Who Should Attend

Agency - designers, art directors, and UX & interaction designers

Brand - in-house product designers and marketing designers

Digital Artists - illustrators and 3D artists who want to create for AR and VR

Educators - who want to learn and share new technology

Creative Technologists - who are excited about the next computing platforms

Schedule/ Components


Week 1

Intro to Human-Centered XR Design Process

  • Mixed Reality Spectrum - grounding ourselves to understand the spatial medium and form factors

  • Human factors - zones of interaction, fields of view, established and upcoming interactions and input methods

  • Iterative pipeline and process for VR and AR design

  • Understanding the spatial context - seeing from your users’ point of view


  • Introduction to the medium and opportunity 

  • Introduction to game engines and what we can learn from them 

  • Scene-based architecture - architecting your scenes and the objects in them

  • Designing your first scene 

  • Introduction to A-Frame and Web VR


  • AR Targets - anchoring your experience markers & image-based anchors 

  • WebAR on the horizon - 8th Wall, Apple QuickLook & Google Scene Viewer

  • WebAR with A-Frame & Glitch

  • Image marker activity for web AR

3D Asset Creation

  • Intro to Asset Creation - Extruding Your Design Language, Scanning Places & People

  • 3D Asset Creation tools and methods

  • Adding Custom Material in Blender & Adobe Dimension

  • Editing (Blender), Rigging (Mixamo), and Launching your 3D model in AR (via Adobe Aero)

Week 2

Foundations of Augmented Reality

  • Waves of computing and Scales of AR

  • AR Tech Stack

  • SLAM

  • AR distribution strategies - selecting a platform depending on your use case or target audience

  • AR targets - anchoring your experience, and opening the AR canvas to multiple anchor types and triggers

Social AR & 3D Asset Creation 

  • Social AR camera effects (from social good to social media for brands)

  • Recent case studies and Spark AR pipeline demo from designer Steven Guas of The Mill

  • UI screen space vs world space guidelines

  • Asset creation part 1: creating original assets by adding depth to your 2D UI elements

  • Asset creation part 2: low-lift methods on capturing spaces and people. Introduction to rigging and animating humanoid models.

Spatial AR - Creating for the AR Cloud

  • Design and prototype a true spatial computing experience

  • Asset conversion methods

  • Exporting, sharing, testing, and documenting - tips for simulating multi-user experiences, usability testing, and recording.

  • Demo of Reality Composer or Adobe Aero

Key Dates

TBD- Week 1 Live Session, 6-8 PM ET

TBD- Week 2 Live Session, 6-8 PM ET

Hands-On Projects

Your work will not be graded but you will receive feedback from the instructors if work is submitted by the respective due dates.

  • UX Design - Craft your VR scene’s IA, design Spatial Wireframes.

  • Prototype - Create your own Web VR launch scene in A-Frame with 2D interface elements, 3D objects, animations, and interactions that link out to another Web VR scene. 

  • Web AR - Create a Web AR marker-based prototype to augment a physical item with virtual elements (like an AR business card or a packaged item).

  • Social AR - Create, test, and share a social AR Effect in Spark AR that can be viewed on Instagram or Facebook.

  • Spatial AR - Create a Spatial AR prototype (in Reality Composer or Adobe Aero), document, and share it.


  • Digital design experience.

  • Comfortable with a fast-paced learning environment.

  • Desire to explore the new frontiers of virtual and augmented reality as it applies to brand marketing and enterprise applications.

  • WiFi ready laptop (Mac OS Catalina 10.15 preferred, but PCs accommodated).

  • ARCore / ARKit (iOS 13) supported mobile device (iOS required for final demo).

  • Knowledge of HTML is a plus.