If you have been to your local mall recently, you have probably noticed that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products and services are now hitting the market in much greater numbers than last year. These digital experiences mix with or even completely replace physical reality, letting users get out from behind their devices’ screens.
From sports to retail, entertainment, and medicine, there are clear signs that we are approaching a tipping point with immersive technology. These signs are similar to those we experienced before other major platforms—such as the Web and smartphones—exploded on the scene. Businesses are investing strategically in what will be the biggest platform introduction since mobile. For example, Mark Zuckerberg offered a strong business rationale for Facebook’s decision to pay $2 billion for Oculus Rift: “Strategically, we want to start building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile. … Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s everyday [lives].” Read More
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