On January 21, Microsoft introduced a new augmented-reality (AR) headgear concept called the “HoloLens” at the Windows 10 event. This is yet another exciting entry into the Virtual Reality (VR) trend that has grown exponentially since Facebook purchased Oculus Rift. Other companies such as Sony, Google, Samsung, Carl-Zeiss, and startups like Sulon and Magic Leap have introduced working prototypes, filed unique patents and/or released inexpensive VR gadgets that are enticing consumers to jump into the virtual world now. As VR and AR adoption rate grows, we need to develop new design strategies now to adapt to the virtual platforms and stay ahead of this impending technological revolution.New User Experience Design ThinkingAs user experience (UX) practitioners, we are constantly transforming design thinking and methods for new technological platforms. For example, in the last several years, we saw the massive increase of mobile platforms such as smart phones and tablets beyond traditional desktops/laptops. This led us to create new interaction design patterns and user interfaces to work with touch screens and move past the conventional mouse-to-computer interactions. We also deployed mobile-first and responsive design methodologies in order to adapt our user experiences seamlessly across the digital ecosystem. We continue to expand our UX design thinking with the introductions of wearables, smart watches, heads-up displays, and now VR and AR technologies.VR and AR technologies open up new user experience frontiers for businesses and consumers to interact with content and connect with one another in brand new ways. There are several exciting UX possibilities that we are beginning to explore:
Looking Toward the FutureVirtual Reality is finally shaping up to be an eventual reality for consumers and businesses in the not-so-distant future. We recommend exploring and planning a sound user experience design strategy to look ahead to how the new VR/AR platforms can be leveraged to build next-generation user engagements and activate unprecedented excitement for your brand.