Major Project Proposal

The project that I have decided to work on is a prototype application that will help improve an amateur Pool player’s performance through the use of an integrated AR system designed to help with aiming and techniques. AR is not to be confused with VR, AR stands for augmented reality whereas VR stands for virtual reality. VR involves the user fully immersing themselves in a digital environment in which everything is digital and no aspects of real life are included. AR however is what my application will use. This is adding virtual assets to the real world usually through a camera screen which is how my application will work. The application will apply digital guidelines and advice in the real world by interacting with the user’s camera. There are two main aspects of the application that I intend to create. The first is an AR controlled system that will help the user to choose not only the next possible best shot but a series of shots by scanning the current balls on the table and planning a path to eventually potting the black ball and winning the game. It will do this by keeping track of all of the balls on the table and predicting where the white ball will roll to after each shot.  The second aspect I plan to include is professional standard help with each shot, not by simply telling the user what to do but rather by showing them through their camera. The user will point their camera at the table and select the target ball they wish to pot then they will move behind the white ball from the position where they would rest their cue. The AR system will then plan the best possible outcome for the shot and show the user how to achieve this with guidelines placed on the camera screen, these guidelines will show exactly which point to strike the white ball, what angle to take the shot from and with an on screen indicator it will also show the amount of force the user should use by calculating how far back they pull their cue. This application will be aimed at anyone with an interest in pool mainly focusing on those new to the game. Based on my own research and knowledge of going to local pool halls I think this app would be most popular with teenage males as they are usually of amateur’s level and would be more interested in using a smartphone application to better their game than an older demographic.

Research of Similar Products

After doing a lot of research I have found that there is currently no app or product on the market that is an exact replica of what I intend to create. However there are a lot of similar products and applications but none of them, in my opinion, can offer what my project has to offer. There are two separate areas of the pool training market and I will talk about the products from both. There are physical pool trainers that integrate digital technology with a real life game, which is more of the market that I would like this product to get into. The second area of the market are pool applications that do not necessarily help much with training but integrate AR playing pool. My project will tap into both of these areas as it will teach people from a physical pool table but integrate AR to do so.

This product is called Pool Live Aid, it does exactly what my application will do but it uses a projector. It projects guidelines onto the pool table from an overhead projector and using a camera that follows the cue. This is exactly what I want my application to do however there are quite a few shortcomings of this project that would make it not much of a threat to the market I am trying to break into. The product is still in development and is not currently for sale, it would require the pool hall to buy all of the necessary equipment for each table costing a lot of money and it cannot tell players how much power to put into each shot meaning even if they follow the guidelines they can still miss.

This is another major competitor in the market of pool and technology however from personal hands-on experience with the app, I can say that there are not many skills it teaches that can be brought across onto a real life pool table. This essentially is a normal pool playing game intended to play other people online in tournaments however what makes it different is its use of AR. In this app users can play on a virtual table using their phone to control a virtual cue. The user has to find a flat surface and point their camera app at it within the app, a virtual life size pool table will appear on the floor and allow users to walk around and take shots. Although this is not necessarily in the same category as my application as there is almost no educational side to the playing of this game, it is still a big competitor as it currently has around 20 thousand reviews on the app store.

Market Research

The Market for this project is quite difficult to navigate, this is because there is no official market for this as of yet as there is nothing exactly like it. There are three markets that it currently falls into; Pool players, online Pool application players and people seeking professional training for Pool. However they all have one thing in common and that is that they are interested in Pool. I decided to get a better overall view at the market I was trying to break into, I would contact my local Pool hall. I asked them if I could carry out a survey on their customers if they gave my permission. This survey would contain the following questions.

The Pool hall accepted my request to do the survey as long as I did not interrupt any customers whilst they were in the middle of a game and I only surveyed those that were happy to help. After agreeing to a day on which I would start handing out my survey, the COVID-19 restrictions that had previously been eased, forced the business back into lockdown and they are currently closed. However after contacting the owner again recently they stated that they would be happy to help with my research once they reopen even though this is likely to be past the time that the research aspect of this project is likely to be handed in. I will still carry out and complete the survey when I can for my own personal use in the production stage to help me with thinking about the audience that I am designing for. Although I can not find any trusted resources on the market for Pool playing in the UK and I am yet to gain an insight through my survey, I can research the market for Pool based applications. The current most popular Pool based app is a game created by Miniclip(2013) called 8 Ball Pool. According to Oliver Yeh(2018)..

“Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool, has pocketed an estimated $400 million in worldwide player spending since launching in 2013”

Yeh, O. (2018) Miniclip Racks Up $400 Million in 8 Ball Pool Revenue. Available Online:,games%20last%20month%20and%20No. [Accessed 14/11/2020]  

“Total downloads of the game exceed 460 million globally”. 

Yeh, O. (2018) Miniclip Racks Up $400 Million in 8 Ball Pool Revenue. Available Online:,games%20last%20month%20and%20No. [Accessed 14/11/2020]  

This means that if even 10% of their global market plays pool on a real table and not just through their app and if 10% of the people who play pool are interested in my application. There is a possible market of around £345,000. This is not unlikely as the users of their application are no strangers to spending money on applications as previously stated they have made $400 million just in in app purchases.

Designing for User Experience – Research

This stage of planning is possibly the most important throughout this project as the look and ease of use is detrimental to the likability of an application. The application’s stand out points are that it is a trainer in your pocket that should be ready to be used at a moment’s notice. Although I have more experience designing applications for a personal computer style interface it is of great importance that this is created with mobile users in mind. As stated by Barbara Ballard(2007) when comparing mobile design to a Swiss Army knife..

 “ Designing applications or web sites for mobile phones is in many ways the same as designing the best possible screwdriver or fishing rod for a Swiss Army knife.”

Ballard, B. (2007) Designing the Mobile User Experience. New Jersey: Wiley. 

This therefore implies that a modern day mobile phone is no longer just for contacting people but it is now used as a tool to carry out a limitless amount of tasks to help with everyday life and my design should be aligned perfectly with the sole function of my application. 

The first step in planning to design for user experience is research. I have looked at similar applications and how the user interface is tailor made for the use. The screenshots below show me interacting with the AR pool game Kings of Pool that I have previously mentioned.

This is the UI that inspired me to come up with my own designs as there are many aspects that would transfer perfectly to my similar project. The focal point of the game, the cue ball, must be at the centre of the screen to take a shot and other less important aspects are on the sides of the screen. However this is not designed in such a way simply for the look or pleasing aesthetic. Each button or control that has to be engaged with via physical touch is no more than a few millimetres from the sides of the screen, where the user’s hands will be. This ensures that the user can hold their phone as they would normally and still have ease of access to the controls.

Although this application was very helpful in imagining my product in use and understanding how I could use my product at a pool table, it was useless for applying these tools across to the physical world on a physical pool table in which the user would have to take their shot with a cue they would be holding. Due to COVID-19 restrictions I was unable to go to my local pool hall and test my theories of application, I therefore decided to purchase my own pool table as it will come in use throughout the planning and production of this project.

Designing for User Experience – Planning

After setting up my own Pool table I was able to grasp a better understanding of how a mobile phone application could seamlessly engage with this game. However this was a long thought out process and I made some big errors at the start of this design planning stage which I then changed and rectified.

These are the very first mockups that I created for my application showing the AR user interface. The two steps of the trainer are to scan the balls on the table  and find out which colour you are and to calculate what shots to advise you to go for next, the second stage is assisting the user in taking the shot. The drawing on the left shows a mock up of the scanning process on the table. The user will line their camera up with the table ensuring that every ball on the table is visible. At the bottom of the screen a question appears prompting the user to select what colour balls they are aiming to pot. After selecting a colour the balls of that colour will be highlighted with a light blue ring showing their locations on the table. This interface works because it is so simple the user only has to touch the screen once for results and the application does the rest of the work. The drawing on the right shows the design I intend to implement to the aim assist screen. The fundamentals of the screen remain the same as the Kings of Pool AR game as the main focus is always the cue ball in the centre of the screen. I intend to use no touch screen controls on this page as to make it as easy as possible for the user to switch from real life to AR and even combine the two. The target on the cue ball shows the user exactly where to hit and the lines leading towards the ball of choice shows the exact path the struck ball should travel. The outlined red cue on the left of the screen shows how much power they should use for each shot. If a pot is possible the determined pocket will glow bright blue so that it stands out from the rest of the table ensuring the user knows this shot is intended to create a potted ball without displaying a message that will interfere with the guidelines.

I then created a more useful mockup displaying what the application would actually look like when being used. I used my planning image to create this mockup and was very happy with it until I realised I had encountered an error. I had done all of my research and planning on the English Pool system in which the player has either yellow or red balls and the table that I had bought came with the American version of spots or stripes, so I have used these for the mockup but ordered yellow and red balls ready for use in the production stage of my project.

This mockup design is the same as the previous drawing however made with images of my own table to get a clearer view and understanding of what the application will look like when working. I have included all of the previous features that I spoke about in the drawing stage. It was then in the next stage I realised an error in terms of the user interface and human interaction with the application. I decided to use the mockups on and around my Pool table to get a greater understanding of how this application would be used in real life when taking a shot. I decided that there would be two options in which the user can interact with this training. Either through looking at the shot with the camera and memorising the angles and using it as a reference to take their shot or by placing their phone on the edge of the table in front of them so that they can see the shot on the screen and the physical shot in front of them. After trying to achieve this with the design above I realised it was very hard to balance my phone in front of the shot with a vertical view, therefore I designed the horizontal version of aim assist.

I also made a very brief mockup of how I expect my project to look at the most basic level, the menu and assets are just rough prototypes. The main goal of creating this very short video was for a speed test. When using other AR applications it took me at least 34 seconds on average to load the app go through the menu and get to the screen I wanted to get to therefore I wanted to ensure there was a speedy but useful aspect to my design so that the user can just grab their phone from their pocket and be using the app within seconds. In this very first rough design it takes me 11 seconds to get to the screen that will help aim assist. Obviously in the future versions this may take longer depending on the time it takes for the balls on the table to be scanned and calculated.

How I Intend to Create my Prototype

As I have previously mentioned I will be creating a prototype version of this application due to the complexity of AR and my limited knowledge. Meaning my main focus of the project will go into the design, interface and the ease of use. I will create my prototype using three main different pieces of software. The main screen, menu and other aspects not featuring AR will be created using Adobe XD. I have chosen this software not only because I have a lot of previous experience with it but because I believe it is the best for me to carry out every aspect of my planned design exactly as I want. I will be able to easily create functioning buttons and controls for the application that can be used on the mobile Adobe XD app. This means that I can easily test my progress on the hardware that I intend the application to be used for. The second piece of software I will be using will be Adobe After Effects, I will be using After Effects to create short videos of a pool table environment which I can later edit to give the effect that the AR aspects of the application are working. For example I can display the aiming guidelines quite easily through the video editing software. Although this software is new to me I am very confident that I have the capabilities to use this software to achieve the exact effects that I want. Unfortunately Adobe XD does not support the use of video files in any format therefore I will use the video editing software premiere pro to take a video of my application running XD and insert the edited videos from After Effects merging them together to give a fully created prototype.

To summarise I will be creating a prototype of an augmented reality pool trainer in which the user uses their own camera to scan a game of pool and constantly win following the guides set out by the application. The final prototype will be a video file of the application working on a real pool table and being used to win a game of pool.


Ballard, B. (2007) Designing the Mobile User Experience. New Jersey: Wiley. 

Kings of Pool AR(2020) Kings of Pool AR Application Screenshots [Photograph]. [Accessed 26/11/2020].

Stickpng(2020) Iphone X Screen Mockup Transparent [Photograph]. Available Online: [Accessed 26/11/2020].

UploadVR (2017) Kings of Pool AR (Uken Studios) ARKit iOS [Video]. Available Online: [Accessed 10/11/2020] 

Wonder World (2018) Pool Live Aid – From Cue Noob to Pool Shark [Video]. Available online: [Accessed 10/11/2020]

Yeh, O. (2018) Miniclip Racks Up $400 Million in 8 Ball Pool Revenue. Available Online:,games%20last%20month%20and%20No. [Accessed 14/11/2020]