If you're sick of guessing or measuring dimensions to see whether a fancy new couch will fit into a room in your tiny apartment, Target has just introduced a novel way to shop: through an AR feature on its mobile website. The See It In Your Space feature is similar in concept to Ikea's AR app. It's supposed to let customers use their smartphone camera to virtually map out how furniture will look in their rooms.
But it doesn’t work like all those other fancy AR apps. You have to twist and position items manually. In our testing, the buttons to control the rotation and moving the piece of furniture were clunky. The worst aspect is that it doesn't render the item to scale like the Ikea app does, so you're left fiddling around with size and angles.
There are measurements that pop up, but you're still effectively estimating the size of something which may or may not be too big for your room.
Each item that works with the feature has a button users can tap to start the simulation. Then, by taking a photo of the room, users can place the item anywhere. While the concept sounds good in theory, it’s not nearly that helpful in practice because of the poor controls and scaling. The only somewhat useful aspect is that it lets you see what the item looks like in your room.
The feature currently works on iOS and Android and with Target's Project 62 brand, which has 200 items, but the company said it will extend the feature to thousands of more products by next year. It was developed internally over the past six months but hopefully substantial improvements to the user experience will roll out soon. The company's push into AR is part of a trend that's seen this technology become more popular of late, thanks in part to iOS 11's ARKit feature that was released a few months ago.