An Evaluation of Augmented Reality X-Ray Vision for Outdoor Navigation

During the last decade, pedestrian navigation applications on mobile phones have become commonplace; most of them provide a birds-eye view of the environment. Recently, mobile Augmented Reality (AR) browsers have become popular, providing a complementary, egocentric view of where points of interest are located in the environment. As points of interest are often occluded by real-world objects, we previously developed a mobile AR X-ray system, which enables users to look through occluders.

We present an evaluation that compares it with two standard pedestrian navigation applications (North-up and View-up map). Participants had to walk a 900 meter route with three checkpoints along the path. Our main findings are based on the analysis of recorded videos. We could show that the number of context switches is significantly lowest in the AR X-ray condition.

We believe that this finding provides useful design constraints for any developer of mobile navigation applications.