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
Prototype testing is a vital step in the UX research process. However, for smart products that connect to the Internet, creating prototypes early in the product-development process can be a challenge. Simple wireframes often fail to convey their intended interaction models or how they’ll function within an ecosystem of devices. Building digital-physical prototypes for such products is often expensive and time consuming and can be fraught with inefficiencies.
For example, creating a new feature might require designing a new circuit board and necessitate completely rethinking the product’s enclosure. As a result, deadlines often get pushed back so, by the time a prototype is ready to put in front of users, it may no longer be relevant. When you do manage to get an early prototype into the hands of real users, it might be buggy and fragile, leaving you holding your breath and hoping that nothing fails during testing. Read More