Design patterns for Immersive Tech

Augmented Reality patterns

Interactive hotspots: halo hoops

User goals

The user needs to know if something in their visual field is interactive or has hidden information


There are many ways to indicate something is interactive. In this pattern we’ll look at one of the simplest ways, which involves showing the outline of a circle. This is a useful option to use with gaze based pointers.

  • The user looks around the environment
  • Objects that are interactive have a permanently visible circle outline
  • The circle needs to be placed at the appropriate z-depth to match the object, and part of the object it refers to
  • The user must move the cursor inside the circle
  • Once the cursor is in the circle, the hotspot can be activated (e.g. via fusing)
  • If fusing the circle can start to fill or change size until the fusing is completed


  • It’s very simple
  • The hotspot target is just a circle outline so it does not really obscure the object


  • It can be hard to see when the circle is facing the user and can be triggered vs when it’s on the other side of the object.  For example when holding or approaching an object, the circle can be visible even if the hotspot is actually on the other side of the object, particularly in the object is small or translucent and the standard size of the circle means it’s visible from various angles.  The user does not always realise they need to rotate the object. Instead they try to activate the hotspot right away. The circle should not appear until the item is rotated to the correct position and can be activated.

Linked to: Interactive hotspots: coloured dots


Sky Hold the World