Keep your users aware while they are out on the streets.

Augmented reality has allowed us to create engaging experiences overlaid on the real world, wherever we go. Even when we venture out into public spaces, we can pull up public art, reenact historic scenes, watch educational clips, or play immersive games layered onto our environment.

This ubiquity of AR has come at a cost. AR-related public incidents have risen sharply, especially personal injury incidents related to distracted users. It is time for AR creators to find ways to look out for our users as we push the boundaries of immersion.

This manual offers strategies to embed street smartness into the AR applications developed for the streets of New York City. We see this as a guide, not a standard. It is not the last word but instead an evolving document, open to suggestions and feedback. The patterns and principles included within this manual should be subject to testing and iteration.

We specifically address pedestrian safety here: safety of AR users themselves, but also safety of everyone around them. Other aspects to public-friendly AR usage - respectful behavior, social interactions - should be addressed in other initiatives.

This manual is intended to help:

The Augmented Reality Designer

How might you incorporate street-smart patterns into the experiences you are designing?

The Augmented Reality Developer

What are the tools available for you to easily embed street-smartness into what you are building?

The Advocate/Public Policy Maker

This manual provides a framework to critique AR experiences that are applied to the public sphere, and a yardstick against which to measure existing apps.