“There is no way around it, UX will cause radical change across almost all industries and sectors in a short period of time. Overall, user experience will grow exponentially and impact society on a global basis.”
CEO, youspi & organiser the WUC
As part of the World Usability Congress' UX Trend Report, our co-founder Christophe Mallet was interviewed to discuss the role of immersive technologies in this revolution to come.
What will future developments look like for UX and UX designers? Can you identify some trends?
» Immersive Technologies, and more specifically Mixed Reality (MR) are ushering in a new era for UX: designing for Spatial Computing devices. Simply put, we will soon be able to use the three-dimensional space around us, not screens, to interact with technologies. As we get used to wearing Mixed Reality glasses, future versions of Magic Leap or the rumored Apple headset, for example, the world will become the display of the information we consume.
MR is likely to impact the ways in which we learn, play, shop, work and communicate with each other. Information today is displayed on 2D screens, not necessarily because it’s the optimal way for the brain to process it but simply because that’s the affordable tech we have at our disposal. Tomorrow’s UX designers will have to understand whether information and interaction should exist in 3D or 2D and how to display it to optimize cognitive ease and memorability. Tomorrow’s designers will have to rethink user experiences in relation to whatever spaces users exist in during a scripted activity or interaction. And it’s likely to borrow a lot from architecture and ergonomics. «
How will this translate with regard to retail and shopping, especially stores?
» I don’t believe that stores will cease to exist. Stores, to an extent, will adapt to the Age of Experience and transform from point of sale to Brand Experience centers. The research, consideration and desire for a product will still largely happen in brick-and-mortar locations.
I don’t see immersive tech disrupting the store experience. By-and-large, it will remain what it has been for centuries now, an analog one: enjoying the layout and atmosphere of a space and browsing real tangible products. The act of buying will increasingly happen online though, mostly for convenience reasons. Immersive Technologies, specifically Mixed Reality, will facilitate that by allowing shoppers to sample three-dimensional products at home. The IKEA AR app is a great early example: It lets you bring a holographic version of the sofa to your living room. It’s unlikely to replace a trip to the store (you’ve got to actually try and sit on that sofa) but your IKEA shopping day might become an IKEA hour. «
IKEA Place App, 2017.
What can you tell us about UX with regard to remote working?
» The Holy Grail of remote working is to enable “collaboration without collocation”. Today we have reached the limits of what teleconferencing can do. With VR, we can bring multiple users in the same virtual space. With MR, we can bring any virtual object, including people’s avatars, into anyone’s real working environment. Social VR/MR is a relatively new space, one in which tech giants like Facebook, Apple or Magic Leap are investing heavily. For designers it’s filled with opportunities. Have fun! «