AR Testing – The Wood for the Trees

We've developed strong proprietary scripts for AR testing & VR testing. Key to testing Augmented Reality is understanding requirements.

Zoonou is fortunate to work with the producers of some of the most innovative digital projects that you will find anywhere.  Our recent work with Nexus Interactive Arts has brought us closer to testing augmented reality (AR) with some interesting results and very interesting projects.

Earlier in 2017, we supported Nexus Interactive Arts to test a new AR app for the Forestry Commission. The Gruffalo Spotter is an app designed to be enjoyed by families as they visit woods and forests around England and to bring a rewarding, educational and digital experience, from one of the biggest children’s character books of all time.

The idea behind the app was for little outside adventurers to enjoy more interactive walks by taking their tablet/mobile devices to particular forest/wood locations across England.  At points throughout the walk, the user’s spot footprint markers from the characters of The Gruffalo. Whilst in the application, when pointing the camera at the footprint markers, the character will come to life within the forest around you.

Understanding requirements

Even before testing began, Zoonou was able to understand the scoping requirements better because Nexus had supplied a very good storyboard.  It was impressive to see something in that much detail and great that it explained the scenario of how you would use the app, rather than just receiving the wireframes.  Designing an AR test plan is certainly more straightforward when clients can provide clear visual information.  In Nexus’ case, it certainly helps when they have a background in film and animation production.

One of the considerations that needed to be made was the age of the users and how that would affect the list of devices we would test.  After careful review, Kindle devices were added alongside iOS and Android systems in the belief that Christmas sales of Kindle would see them in the hands of more children.

It was important to see how the app would perform when accessed by devices with lower system specifications and to note how this affected non-functional issues such as device temperature and also whether lower camera quality affected the ability of the device to recognise the AR markers.

In some cases, the specification of devices caused blocking issues.  The absence of a rear-camera meant the app, not surprisingly, was unsupported.

Gruffalo App Storyboard

Finding the right test approach

All tests were conducted in laboratory conditions using an exploratory method. Exploratory testing allows us to reproduce the experience of the end user, focusing on key journeys as well as edge cases and negative scenarios to try and uncover some of the deeper issues within a system.

In order to replicate actual usage as much as possible, markers were scanned from various angles to see how this affected marker recognition.  In most cases, the app performed very well here, which may say something about the excellent development testing processes that Nexus have in place before they release for external independent testing.

Zoonou has developed very strong proprietary test scripts for AR and VR and some unique issue reporting methods.  As we continue to test projects involving exciting uses of new technology our test framework increases to the benefit of all our clients.

More information:

Nexus is an Oscar and Grammy-nominated production company with multiple awards behind them for innovative and cutting edge work.  Some of their other high profile projects that Zoonou has provided AR test support for include:

The Gruffalo is part of Magic Light Pictures.

Test Environments:

  • iPad Air – iOS 9.3.5
  • iPad Air 2 – iOS 10 latest
  • iPhone 5 – iOS 9.3.5
  • iPhone 6 – iOS 10 latest
  • Google Pixel – Android 7 latest
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 – Android 6.0.1
  • Kindle Fire HD 7” (2nd Generation) – Android 4.0 (Customized as Kindle OS Ver 7.2.1)
  • Kindle Fire 7” (5th Generation) – Android 5.1.1 (Customized as Kindle OS Ver 7.2.1)
  • Kindle Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (4th Generation) – Android 4.2.2 (Customized as Kindle OS Ver
  • Kindle Fire HDX 7” (3rd Generation) – Android 4.2.2 (Customized as Kindle OS Ver

Check out our Case Study on the Gruffalo Spotter AR app project.

You can find out more about our Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality services on our VR and AR Testing page.

To find out more about how Zoonou can help to advise on your device testing strategy, please see our QA Advisory and Consultancy page. To request a list of all the mobile and tablet devices we have here in our test lab, please see our Device Lab page. For more details on our compatibility testing service please contact us at and one of our team will get back to you. If you’d like to get in touch about anything else, please head over to our Contact page.

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