Designing User Experience for the Metaverse
UX design is all about providing digital experiences that are holistic and immersive. Metaverse, on the other hand, is an evolving and shared virtual space that is immersive, interactive, and hyper-realistic. So, when design and metaverse blend, the end experience becomes different and unique.
In the Metaverse, a good design depicts an entirely immersive experience, while good UX can merge the gap that exists between the user and technology. The changing dynamics of the digital world have managed to bring forth the rise of cutting-edge technology and developments that have managed to set a new path for design, through the rise of AR and VR; both of which thrive in the Metaverse.
With the help of UX design, the Metaverse is slowly moving towards the creation of realistic virtual experiences. While UX is going to focus on the experience as a whole, Metaverse will be the digital platform that’ll enhance the virtual realm’s very existence into something never before experienced.
How UX Design will benefit the Metaverse
UX is an influential tool. It possesses the ability to create satisfying user journeys and experiences that leave an everlasting impact. Good UX design assures Metaverse users of a satisfying start. UX designers ensure the familiarity of icons and elements in their designs so that users can relate to and recognise the objects and facilities in the real world. This would ensure they spend a lesser amount of time trying to accustom themselves to the comparatively unknown realm of the Metaverse.
Good user experience is also humane. UX designers create designs that are for people and not robots. The Metaverse will have a representation of real people. So, by incorporating a good and strong UX in the Metaverse, the interaction within the virtual realm can seem a lot more realistic. It will help enhance the immersive experience.
Accessible and Inclusive
One of the key functions of good UX in the metaverse is its ability to enhance accessibility. It ensures every user irrespective of any form of disability can enjoy a similar experience. For example - for users with visual impairments, UX designers can enhance accessibility with color and typography. By increasing or decreasing color contrast, changing font size, and improving the layout.
Even though these experiences might seem expensive, UX designers can find alternatives too. Opting to build user personas through research, will help close the gap of an accessible Metaverse experience. As the Metaverse is completely virtual, the immersive design will aid with accessibility.
Privacy and Ethics
Privacy is always a key concern when it comes to the web and good UX is one of the key ways of cushioning it. Information sharing systems can aid with this. This will help users effortlessly choose which information and document they’d want to share and with whom.
Guiding principles for UX designers in the Metaverse
Designing for the Metaverse will require a mental shift of their methods, experiences, and skills, as the medium too will change. This shift will require UX designers to stop thinking about people who interact with their designs as ‘users’ and instead be considered as ‘players’ that occupy and exist within a virtual realm. They’ll have to work around active design for passive consumption. One that would encourage people to blur the line between real and virtual.
Designing great experiences will require the creation of an entirely immersive design. One that would enable people to exist within the virtual world instead of simply experiencing it. The experience of immersion should be such that it’ll make people want to pursue even the simplest of goals instead of abandoning it after accomplishment.
Importance of storytelling
Designing for the Metaverse will require a good understanding of storytelling and the ability to implement it, end-to-end. As the Metaverse will be an amalgamation of multiple experiences, UX designers will have to work their way around connecting them. Storytelling and user journeys are anyway integral to authentic and good design but it’ll be much more crucial in regards to the Metaverse.
Use of 3D tools
Metaverse being a completely virtual world, UX designers will have to move from 2D sketching tools such as Figma and Sketch to 3D modeling tools such as Gravity Sketch and Tvori. These will help with 3D designing, prototyping, and modeling, as will be necessary when creating design elements for the Metaverse.
Focussing on field research
On-field observation will be an important skill to design an excellent immersive realm. To provide a satisfying user experience designers will have to draw insights into whether the physical space in which the person will interact with the product affects its usability. It will help designers to have a good understanding of how different elements behave in different surroundings. Thus, the observational skills of UX designers will hold immense value.
The rise of Metaverse and immersive design, albeit slow and gradual is here to stay. UX designers can best have themselves ready for it, by tapping into their expertise and skills learned from the digital world such as accessibility, inclusivity, humanity, and ethical design. Leveraging pre-existing knowledge of the past decade, where user experience design too has seen massive growth will lead to enhanced empathy, collaboration as well as user advocacy. Even though the future of the Metaverse is still unclear, one thing is for sure, the scope for UX design is aplenty.