Where it came from? / What drives it?
It was in the late 60’s that researchers started to describe how and where people interacted with technology. However, it was not until the early 90’s the term augmented reality (AR) was coined, when airplane manufacturer Boeing started using augmented reality goggles to assist engineers in the airplane assembling process.
Wearable tech and HUDs promise users access to online resources always and everywhere. This flexibility makes possible a new kind of application — one that exploits the user’s surrounding context. This type of location aware computing allows us to link the real world that you see with a layer of virtual information. This trend has literally allowed us to move towards annotating the user's view of the physical world. Through optical or video-mixed see-through displays (i.e. Google Glass), the user views the electronic information in situ, attached to the physical world.
What's the UX behind it?
As mentioned, real objects or physical space are the foundational canvas for these interfaces, and UI is incorporated that add contextual data to deepen a person’s understanding of the subject. One key factor is that these experiences exploit the power of human vision and spatial cognition. The overall user experience goal is to allow the interfaces to show support information based on your current visual context.
Complex tasks such as assembly, maintenance, and surgery can be simplified by inserting additional and useful information with AR technology. Some complicated repair work could depend entirely on AR information to support while the work is being done.
If they are HUD, shouldn't they be a bit opaque to clearly see them? Wouldn't lines be almost invisible in contrast to the real world imagery?
In regards to the in-place movie HUD's you showcased, those are largely eye candy. Keep in mind that these fantasy interfaces are usually viewed as a way to communicate to the viewer that the actor in question is interacting with some form of information. Showing a screenshot of the actor working on a computer, or a shot from their rear is not as visually arresting, nor as "fantastically technical" looking.
A proper execution of a HUD would integrate some form of opaque background while interacting with the interface. In instances where the user needs to interact with something in the real world, the opaque nature would drop out, showcasing the user's real world context.
In real world instances, the information provided from an AR interface is secondary and supplementary.
On Google Glass, UI screens that are managing the device have completely opaque, black backgrounds. Most interaction with the actual device itself is handled this way to increase readability and usability. When you are interacting with the real world, the UI is largely nonexistent except for a few small visual queues. Glass also supports what they call Immersions, but these are largely reserved for when you want to take precedence over the timeline and display a UI outside of its context.
Typography is executed in extremely light weight font. This is due to the distance from your eye (your retina needs less line weight and density at these resolutions). The primary characteristic controlling visibility is the light balance of an interface item.
• The Visual Web User Interface Design in Augmented
• Google Glass Design Principles
• I'm a Google Glass Explorer