Takondi is positioning TARTT as an enterprise AR CMS. They warned me in advance that there is very little documentation available, as customers are usually expected to have a training session prior to using the tool. In spite of this, I had no difficulties using the tool. Takondi did inform me that they plan on implementing online documentation, “tips and tricks”, and the integration of a help-desk with ticketing system in the near future. Takondi does a very good job of keeping the interface light and easy to use.
TARTT starts with the concept of Channels, each of which can contain any number of Campaigns, each of which can contain any number of Pages. Each Page can have any number of AR Objects. The Objects are either Images, Videos or 3D Models. Text and basic HTML are planned for implementation in 2017.
TARTT is the only tool reviewed that required an explicit export of the finished work before it could be scanned. While this wasn’t a big deal, it became quite annoying when I was testing various settings and options. Make a change, export, scan channel code, test. Make a change, export, scan channel code, test. Ugh. All other tools allowed scanning immediately upon completion of changes. One advantage of this approach, however, is that TARTT has the unique ability to store various versions of a Page and allows you to activate an earlier version should you find problems in the currently released version.
One very nice feature of the TARTT interface that I discovered accidentally while moving back and forth between Mac and Windows tools was that TARTT will allow you to login simultaneously from separate systems, but will lock a Campaign as soon as you start editing it. Why does this matter? Because sometimes there are teams working on projects and you want to protect against simultaneous editing. TARTT is the only application in this review that has such an advanced feature.
Channels & Campaigns
The creation of Channels and Campaigns is quite simple – enter a name and away you go.
Adding Pages to a Campaign is quite easy – simply drag and drop or upload your images. TARTT evaluates the images and provides a rating of one to three stars on the Pages appropriateness for scanning. Pages can be either JPG or PDF.
Similar to other tools in this review, TARTT inexplicably rotated several images from Portrait to Landscape. While TARTT’s positioning tools made this problem less severe, it is an annoyance that I don’t quite understand the need for. Takondi indicated that this is an issue of an orientation tag not being adhered to, which they will correct in an upcoming release. Additionally, it would be desirable to zoom in and out on the Page view if it is too large to fit into the screen. Scrolling within the Page view was cumbersome. Takondi has indicated that in the future the view will automatically scroll when you move an Object to the edge of the work-space.
One nice feature that TARTT implements, which I’ve not found to be all that common, is the ability to replace the Page. Many other tools reviewed require a complete rebuild of a Page if you want to exchange or correct the underlying image.
Additionally, unique to TARTT is the ability to localize content based upon the language of the user’s OS. If you have an Enterprise account, when you create your Campaign you will be given a choice of languages for the initial Page.
Once the initial Page is created, you can create additional Pages for other languages. When you select this option, a totally new Page set is created under the same Campaign, which gives the impression of a completely separate Campaign. While this offers 100% flexibility, it also adds a burden if the underlying Campaign should keep similar imagery for the different languages supported.
Personally, I would like to see this done a bit differently. It would be a nice feature to allow the users to define which Pages and Objects are to be common between the languages. That way, if the campaigns are required to be highly similar, then there is less work required to keep them all looking the same. Yes, this would be quite a challenge to develop, but I also think it would be worth the effort.
Once a Page is created, the interface to add AR Objects is very clean. Simply drag a button from the AR Objects Library onto your Page.
Like many of the tools in this review, TARTT also has the ability to change the display order of the Objects. I did not find this initially because it is not controlled by an Object data element, rather you can drag-and-drop the Object profiles once you collapse them.
Collapsed Object Profile
If you don’t like the default name of an object, you can double click the name to rename it.
Once an image is placed, you will see a small box asking you to supply an image or video. Double clicking on this box bring up an interface to the TARTT Media Library.
If you’ve already uploaded other images, they’ll be presented for selection, in addition to a section allowing you to upload files via drag and drop or file selection.
What is interesting is that the Media Library allows you to upload both JPG and PNG files, whereas the Pages could only be JPG or PDF. According to Takondi the reason for this is that PNG is not a good choice for images having lots of colors (which normally goes for pages). As for Buttons / Images used as objects, normally people have them as JPG / PNG. Takondi indicated to me that they plan on supporting GIF, TIF, BMP and PDF in the future. One annoyance that I experienced is that there isn’t any other interface into the Media Library. Ideally, a Media Library should be able to be accessed and managed at the top layer of a tool’s interface.
Once selected, Objects are displayed on top of the Page in their full size.
Objects can easily be resized and re-positioned anywhere on top of the Page. Resizing, however, is typically through the icon at the bottom right hand side of the image and the icon is only visible when your cursor is nearby. However, if you carefully place your cursor on the edge of the Object’s bottom left corner and wait for the I-beam to appear, this will also allow you to resize. Size and position may also be manually entered into the Object properties.
Resizing is intuitive and automatically maintains the Object’s aspect ratio.
In addition to the ability to resize and re position the image, you can enable / disable the Object, change its opacity and rotate it. One improvement that would be nice to see, however, would be the ability to put a numeric value into a field instead of just using the sliding bar.
Media, such as Images, Videos and 3D models, also have the option of being stored in what is called “World” and “Cloud”. Objects stored in the World will be downloaded to the device directly after loading the channel. Cloud objects will be downloaded/streamed only when needed.
Additionally, TARTT has implemented a stacked Undo function, as well as the ability to duplicate, copy and delete Objects. And yes, TARTT confirms deletions.
If you create a Video Object, the Video is stored on the TARTT site and you are restricted to the MP4 format. There are currently no size limitations for videos. A Video Object has all the same control options as an Image with the exception that a video can also have an alpha mask.
Additionally, the Video image has to be less than 1280 pixels and the error message about this overlaps the button to remove the Video.
If you want to create a 3D-Model, once you drag the button to the Page you will see something like the following. The only format supported is WT3.
Double clicking on this box will open a dialog allowing you to upload a model file.
Because of my difficulties in creating a usable 3D model, Vidinoti was kind enough to supply a 3D model that I could use for the purpose of this review. Unfortunately, once the 3D model is loaded it is not rendered in the editor, so any size and position verification has to take place in the AR Scanner.
There are currently no size limitations for 3D models.
Events and Actions
Once the Object is defined, it can have Actions which are triggered by Events. The events are:
- On Click
- On Loaded
- On Show
- On Hide
- On Destroy
- On Enter Field of Vision
- On Exit Field of Vision
Additionally, for video Objects
- On Playback Started
- On Playback Finished
- On Play
- On Stop
- On Pause
- On Resume
The available Actions, which are tied either to the Object or the World, are a bit more complex. If you tie the Action to an Object, you can:
For all Objects:
- Toggle Visibility
Additionally, for Video Objects:
- Toggle Play/Pause
Additionally, for 3D Objects:
- Start Animation
- Stop Animation
- Pause Animation
- Resume Animation
For Enterprise accounts:
- Open HTML Content Layer
- Run Custom Code
- Send Request To The App
What is interesting, and also unique to TARTT, is that you don’t necessarily have to tie the action to the Object that received the Event. This allows you to have Objects that influence other Objects on the same page. Examples would be showing a button after a video has finished playing or Starting / Stopping / Pausing a video with the click of a button.
If you tie the Action to the World, you can:
- Open a URL in a Browser
- Open a Video in a Video Player
- Open an HTML Content Layer
If you decide to open a URL in a Browser, TARTT is kind enough to check the URL format, however, the error message isn’t very indicative of what the problem is. In the example below, the system could just as easily have indicated that the URL isn’t valid – or better yet – automatically prefixed the URL with the needed text.
Each Event can have any number of Actions, however, you will need to rely on your own logic to ensure that what you do makes sense. For example, the system will allow me to destroy an Object and then show it, which I anticipate would eventually throw an error upon execution.
Once you have completed designing all of the Pages in your Campaign, you can publish your work by clicking on “Export to TARTT app” and selecting “testing” or “production”.
TARTT will then create a World for the Campaign. When testing, be sure to scan the QR – Code. There is an option to do this in the World later on, however this only works when you are exporting for Production, not for Testing.
TARTT is unique in that it implements the concept of Worlds. What this is, is a tool to take a snapshot of each export that you make of the Campaign. If you determine that you’ve made an error on the most currently exported Campaign, you can activate the previous Campaign, fix your errors, and then export the corrected Campaign. This also provides an audit trail, which is helpful if you’re working in an environment where keeping track of changes is important. This is perhaps one of the best examples of why Takondi considers TARTT to be an Enterprise class application. Let’s see how long it takes for the competition to wise up.
TARTT does not have an on-line Preview function. You will need to either print your Pages or scan on-line while they are displayed using a different tool.
The TARTT Scanner is available for both iOS and Android platforms. Unfortunately, the Android version did not support my phone, so I was only able to test the iOS Scanner.
When starting the Scanner, you are requested to scan a channel code, which ties the Scanner to the Campaign. Although you can go to the World and have it show the channel code, there is a minor issue when exporting for testing that doesn’t allow this to work. Instead, you need to scan the channel code while you are exporting the Campaign. This is annoying if you start the Scanner after the Campaign is already exported, because you need to re-export the Campaign to display the channel code. When exported for Production, this issue does not exist.
Once you scan a Page, if you move away from the Page there is no mechanism to keep the scanned Page and Objects in the display.
The Scanner worked quickly and reliably, even when images were partially occluded. The TARTT Scanner was also one of the very few that was not confused by the tree images. I very much liked that the scanning never timed out.
TARTT has some basic usage reporting available on the Dashboard. Campaigns are color coded to help differentiate.
Additionally, Google Analytics are available for TARTT Plus and Enterprise customers. As I was using a Starter account for testing purposes, I was not able to review this capability. Takondi has indicated, however, that Analytics covers:
- Overlay statistics (how many times specific buttons were pressed, etc.)
- Average scan times
- Time of Day, Day of Week
- Geographic location of scan
- Scanner OS details
- Language details
- Analytics separated by channels / campaigns
- Analytics separated by pages
Audience specific information
- Users (number)
- Sessions (number)
- Sessions per user
- Average Session Duration
- Pages / Session
- % New / Returning Visitors
- Language / Country / City
- Browser / Operating System / Service Provider / Screen Resolution
- Active Users
- Cohort Analysis
- Users Flow
- Behavior Flow
- Scanned Pages
- First Page
- Exit Page
- Page Loading Speed
- All Events
- All Actions
TARTT has reasonable error handling. It detected a URL that was missing a prefix, even when the error message was not very precise.
Demo Account Limitations
For demonstration purposes, TARTT has Starter Accounts which are almost fully functional accounts that are valid for 30 days. For additional information on the account types, please see TARTT’s pricing page.
What’s to like
- The TARTT interface is quick, clean and intuitive
- Recognizes and protects against simultaneous editing
- Import / Export for Plus & Enterprise accounts
- Localization for Enterprise accounts
- Allows Object rotation
- Good error handling and edit checking
- Scan quality indicators
- Excellent image recognition. Was not confused by Tree images
What’s not to like
- No On-line help, however, wasn’t really needed
- Cumbersome procedure for testing
- Limited format support for Images, Videos and 3D models
- No Media Library access
- No way to keep Target and Objects on screen if you point away from the Target
- Converted City and Tree images from Portrait to Landscape