Most of us hesitate to buy anything before reading online reviews, but with a reported rise in fake reviews it’s hard to know who to trust. In response, design agency Uniform has created Rugu, a prototype product review app using augmented reality. Designed and built in-house, with the intention of inviting brands and tech companies to take it on for mainstream development, the app allows users to pick up a product they’re using in real life and quickly record and share their reaction to it by “throwing” poo and heart emojis at it, in-app. It works by recognising products by their shape, colour and pattern, and showing users’ impressions in augmented reality, through any smart device. Users can also film their own experiences, leave comments, take photos and create memes.
The intention is to reconnect brands with the consumers; Uniform particularly had beauty brands in mind when creating the app. “You can’t know what’s being said about your brand when you’re not there,” explains Uniform’s Tim Sharp. “You get a distorted version, out of the moment and strained through social filters: the type of person that reviews, the limited places they engage and how you’ve chosen to let them, for example comment boxes and stars. These filters throw suspicion over the usefulness of those conversation.”
Rugu aims to remove these barriers, so users can react quickly and truthfully, and share their honest, real-time reviews with other users and brands alike. Its design also aims to appeal to how younger consumers are using social platforms now. “Young consumers are hungry for a way to immediately engage,” Tim says, “share stories they produce, and tap into content from peers, with a sense of humour.” This, the studio hopes, will prompt users to not only review products they’ve just bought, but react to packaging design in store, or after they’ve been using the product for a while, so online reviews cover a far broader spectrum of the product’s life.
Rugu was developed as part of the Trust Pursuit, a 12-month research project by Uniform looking at trust in business today, how it is built and sustained, and how it shifts as consumer behaviour, technology and innovation develops.