On Thursday last week, we teamed up with UX New Zealand to bring a new type of experience to their conference attendees, one that most of them might not have seen before.
The day started with a typical flight into the Capital, strong winds swaying the plane from left to right; it may as well have been cardboard. Our destination for the day, UX New Zealand 2016. Organised and hosted annually by Optimal Workshop, the event is a 3 day experience of talks and insight into the world of user experience design. We were visiting to hear about how the world of UX is going to change and influence the VR industry and vice versa. We also happened to team up with them to create some awesome custom headsets for their goodie bags.
To bring a tech element to this year’s event, the team wanted to give every visitor a chance to experience something new that aligned with the theme, "Tomorrow, today", and Cardboard headsets were the perfect option. We worked with UX to design a headset that spoke their brand and delivered a unique experience: an entry level look into a future tech.
That afternoon, speaker Shane Goodwin used the headsets in his talk on "Virtual Reality: More real than Virtual". Shane covered how the UX industry is already designing for VR/AR whether they realise it or not. Saying that "most of the platforms we are designing on today will be translated into VR/AR within the next couple of years". UX design is crucial to the success of VR because at the moment, its largest weakness is usability. To make the experience more enjoyable for people, we need to improve the level of interaction, feeling and user experience. It is the likes of UX research and design that will shape the future VR products that we use and the experiences we interact with.
And the attendees loved the cardboard too:
What did we learn from UX? User experience is all about creating experiences based on thorough research about the user, which is fundamentally us, the human. The relevance to VR is massive - with a technology that can be clunky and hard to understand, we need to design experiences that feel as close to reality as we can. That starts by using the techniques and processes of UX to help influence the decisions we make when creating a VR experience.