When organizations consider their own metaverse, there are 10 principles they should keep in mind, according to Forrester.
David Truog, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, details 10 principles that XR design organizations should focus on now when imagining human-centered design experiences for their clients in the metaverse.
The principles are:
- The design of virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality experiences spans a continuum.
- Designing 3D experiences can target many devices, from smartphones to headsets.
- Not all XR experiences have to be immersive; many should instead be ambient.
- The XR design requires an extension of two degrees of user movement to six.
- XR requires an architecture of how users will move from place to place.
- Designing XR user interfaces requires complex decisions about ever-changing mechanisms.
- The XR design requires moving from users as cursors to users as avatars.
- Access control to private spaces is essential to the design of the XR experience.
- XR allows designers to equip users with virtual superpowers.
- Designing XR experiences requires experimenting with XR.
Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR) trick the human brain into merging stimuli from the physical environment with artificially generated stimuli. Truog said that when designers create metaverses, this needs to be in mind to have the right mix of VR, AR, and MR experiences.
Truog explained that designing XR experiences requires mastering perspective and occlusion for 3D visuals. The same goes for the auditory aspects of the experience, which can also be spatialized.
He uses an example: “If a user listens to a presenter facing them at an event in AltspaceVR, but then turns their head to the left, the presenter’s voice will instantly seem to be coming from their right rather than in front of them.”
When planning a metaverse or XR, designers need to be intentional about how much attention users want or need to devote to what they’re designing – don’t assume it has to be immersive.
Truog said: “Unfortunately, many XR technology and service providers use the words ‘immersive’ and ‘immersive’ interchangeably, as if every XR experience should involve a sense of being completely absorbed in the virtual – despite the many cons -examples.”
XR experiences provide users with six degrees of freedom: both along three axes (left/right, forward/backward, and up/down) and around those axes (changing their gaze direction). Truog said XR experiences require designing spaces and objects that take into account how users move around and look virtually.
XR experiences also allow users to instantly move from place to place, such as when a Spatial user moves from their “home space” to one of the platform’s many art gallery spaces ( such as when you click on a link on a web page to go to another page).
Truog said: “In XR lingo it’s called portaling. Designers’ expertise in information architecture helps them decide where and how to build portals, but they must also borrow design principles from the physical architecture for progressive locomotion.
“Currently, no XR experience allows you to do this between spaces created by separate organizations (like when you’re on a website and click a link to a page in a different domain). In XR lingo, this is called metatraverse – and there will be no metaverse until metatraverse is possible.
XR experiences, navigating spaces, and manipulating objects require new behaviors like swiping, raycasting, gazing and dwelling, pinching to select, and using wrist rotation to invoke a menu , these are not familiar to users and furthermore may differ depending on the XR experience.
Truog said that eventually one of the leading XR platform vendors will exercise thought leadership in the industry by implementing a set of well-designed interaction mechanisms.
“Some developers will protest as some did back then, but the resulting influx of users will grow the market for everyone involved. Until one of the major vendors takes up this challenge, you’ll have to make educated guesses about interaction mechanics that will become established and widely familiar — and test with users more than ever,” he said.
In XR, position and movement are in virtual spaces instead of virtual documents, and presence is often indicated by an animated character – or avatar. The use of animated characters is skeuomorphic and, according to Jared Ficklin, partner and chief creative technologist at argodesign, “skeuomorphism is not the way”.
Ficklin stressed the importance of critical reflection not only on ergonomics and technical capabilities, but also on the metaphors we use as systems for organizing experiences. XR design involves deciding how well users will perceive themselves and others virtually – and how.
XR Spaces can be private or entirely public.
Truog said: “When deciding on the XR information architecture of a space – what portals it should contain and where they should lead – you should decide if any user can access the portal or if they have need a specific authorization profile or credentials for access. ”
When designing XR experiences, designers usually have to strike a balance when deciding on physics.
“Increase the credibility of the illusion while choosing when to deviate from how the physical world behaves – giving users what are sometimes called ‘superpowers’ – to make the experience more useful,” said said Truog.
XR experiences are very different from familiar digital experiences. Truog said, “Don’t trust your own enthusiasm or skepticism about XR unless you’ve experienced it enough to form an opinion based on observation, not speculation. Apply the same filter to the enthusiasm or skepticism of colleagues, customers, partners, analysts, journalists, survey respondents and research study participants.
“Gather strong evidence about the XR experiences you design by testing them with real users — you don’t need to bring people into a lab to do it,” he added.