Design for immersion
Designing user experiences for extra dimensions
Traditionally UX designers had a clear separation of realities to design for: real life, and the experience delivered on screen by the person’s device. Now the lines have been well and truly blurred with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) entering into mainstream use. It’s not enough to design for screens, pages and offline touchpoints anymore, now the concept of multiple dimensions opens up a plethora of ways to enhance the experience.
A whole host of interactions can be incorporated into designs, such as picking up, pinching, pushing and pulling, facial expressions, and even air tapping for Microsoft’s Hololens. To get them to do this you must also think about the cues you will give users that are used to interacting with flat screens, how will you encourage them to look around in the space? With new immersive technologies you can now use audio to grab attention, or display elements just off screen to prompt them to move left and right. This new technology also gives you the opportunity to play around with objects in a 3D space, so it’s important that designers become comfortable in how shadow and light can be used to create the illusion of depth and mass for objects in the interface.
Designers also need to be conscious of the right context to use these interactions. As a user interacting with an Augmented Reality App whilst driving would be entirely inappropriate, and it might be that a voice interaction is more suitable in this type of scenario. Thorough research and testing is required of the UX practitioner to find and understand these contexts and user goals.
Overall, expect the prevalence of AR and VR to increase rapidly over the next few years as businesses and organisations find ways for this technology to fit their business models.
“It’s natural to be excited by the possibilities of immersive UX. But we must be careful not to let technology distract us from the human that needs to use it” Damian Rees Director and Founder of Experience UX