3D Design – where to start?

I am by no means an expert in design.  However, that doesn’t stop me from being curious about how the immersive world will be designed in ways that are both a) similar to known principals and b) entirely different from the way things were done before.

An example of a) is buttons and levers.  People will already know what action to take in VR/AR when presented with these objects.  Anyone who remembers KISS (Keep It Simple St*pid), will know something about the concept of cognitive load.  i.e., the less effort we have to do on established behaviors from working memory, the more time/attention we can spend focusing on novel content.

But what is the point of a new medium, if things are done exactly the same way as the previous one?  A flat video screen ported into a VR headset isn’t exciting, nor is it worth the cost of the equipment.  In order for VR/AR to reach its full potential, one must use the medium in ways that can’t be done in 2D.  So ask yourself, why does this experience have to be in VR/AR?  Some credible reasons include achieving the impossible: traveling through time and space.  Great educational experiences, for example, can take you back to Ancient Rome or transport you through Outer Space. Another good reason is cost savings and reach.  In enterprise, this can be seen in training simulations for multi-million dollar pieces of equipment.

So back to b) designing differently for this new medium, what will be the so-to-speak “swipe” gesture in immersive media?  Swiping right and left is not a behavior that existed when we only used computers.  It was invented and adapted because it was intuitive.  It’s confusing when the controls in VR vary experience to experience. How you move around the space, bring up menus, etc. are unique every time, so there is a significant amount of energy spent learning the basics of each piece.

Only time will tell which controls will become the standard in the future.  But there are a number of people who are thoughtfully working on 3D design principles, that will make it easier for everyone– more to come in future posts as I discover them.

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