As for many UX professionals, my career so far has centered largely around performing UX research and design for Web and mobile applications. However, for the past year or two, I’ve been increasingly excited by virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications and their potential to positively impact our lives. My excitement stems from reimagining existing use cases in spaces such as education, workplace productivity, and entertainment, as well as from recognizing the potential for VR and AR to introduce entirely new digital experiences that go beyond what we’ve so far envisioned. The capabilities of the technology are quickly getting to where they need to be. The primary question people are asking now is: will the content be there?
Experience designers must rise to the challenge. Of course, transitioning from traditional digital platforms to the wild west of extended reality (XR)—a blanket term that encompasses VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR)—requires some prep work. While I’m by no means claiming to be an expert experience designer for XR quite yet, I want to share my journey as an XR fan-boy. I’ve been absorbing the relatively small amount of information that is currently available on designing VR and AR experiences—reading every article and watching every video—and tinkering first hand with my beloved head-mounted display (HMD). Read More
“You manifest your own reality.” You’ve probably heard some version of this message before. It’s almost become a cliché. But what does it really mean? Can you literally create your own reality? Well, no. You can’t simply change the physical world in which you live at the snap of your fingers. But what you can change is your mental state—and that just might impact the world around you over time. For example, people’s interactions with digital products influence their mental state. So, as more and more customer experiences become digital experiences, UX designers have the opportunity to design experiences that can be a catalyst for emotionally positive chain reactions among customers.
Finding ways to positively influence your mental state has always been a worthy pursuit. So I have put a lot of thought into my self-improvement philosophy—and to tell you the truth—it feels very secondary to me whether the world around me changes to reflect my internal changes. I want positivity, and I want it now! The most instantaneous way to feel actual positive change is to double or triple up your internal response to the positive moments that either have occurred or could occur. Read More
Good design patterns require a foundation of thorough user research, usability testing, and iterative design refinements. Fortunately, other companies—particularly early promoters of particular design patterns—have sometimes laid the groundwork for us. Depending on the perceived level of risk in implementing a new design pattern, it could be advantageous to simply sit back and see what happens when the developer of a competitive product tries something new. The efficacy of waiting and following, however, is highly dependent on the number of competitors within a product space and how much influence they have over society.
For example, take Apple’s launch of the iPhone 7. Their removal of the headphone jack in combination with the release of wireless earbuds constitutes an industrial design pattern whose intent is to encourage new physical interactions. Yes, you can still plug in your old earbuds, using a different type of connector. But, considering the inconvenience of lost compatibility for the vast majority of users, the excitement around this new AirPod movement—that Apple has tried very hard to instill in its customers—makes a strong statement: Apple is gambling on the wider adoption of a nascent design pattern that had already existed to a much smaller extent in other products, but is entirely new to most users of their product ecosystem. Read More