We are experiencing a veritable technological turn. We are now entering the era of immersive reality that mixes digital and physical and creates mixed reality experiences.
The internet giants like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google are betting now on this type of experience and the market is growing at a steady pace. Obviously, this trend creates a climate of trust because many of our customers want to be the first to use this technology. Objective: to anticipate competition and anticipate future changes in their sector.
The mixed reality refers to experiences that combine digital and physical with Virtual Reality (VR) helmets or type of glasses and smartphone. Here we highlight five aspects to consider when designing ergonomic applications in mixed reality.
1. Why is this technology the most suitable for solving problems?
This question actually applies to any solution created, regardless of the type of application (web, mobile or mixed reality). Even before the design phase, care must be taken to choose the best tool for the project by answering these two questions:
- What features will help solve the problem in the best possible way?
- Which technology meets this requirement?
VR headsets will allow you to transport the user to a totally virtual place. They are therefore particularly suitable for simulations or games. Glasses are used to display digital objects in two or three dimensions in a real environment. They will therefore facilitate training by displaying contextual information directly in the real world. Make sure to define the features that meet your needs and to be able to defend your choice.
2. What are the design skills needed for mixed reality?
As in other projects, different skills are needed to create a pleasant user experience:
- service designers who can think about the whole user journey, such as how users who put on a helmet feel for the first time,
- interaction designers, who can find ergonomic and intuitive solutions to interact with the system,
- graphic designers who are able to solve visual problems and create an ergonomic interface, are also invited.
However, all of these designers need to know the possibilities and limitations of technology, which involves investing in developing their skills for your project.
In addition, you will also need skills from other industries, similar to those used in game development and the film industry (3D and animation designers, sound designers, interior designers, etc…). Since the technology is new, it is unlikely that you will find qualified people. No need to look for what does not exist: it is better to find a cross-skills profile that can become the designer you would like to have today.
3. How many design proposals do you have available?
When we create a website or mobile application, we have libraries and style guides that we can use to design our systems. They tell us what a button should look like and how it should react, or how to send and view alerts. However, mixed reality is still in its infancy, so we do not yet have specific guidelines to follow. In other words, the design phase has few constraints.
It is essential to develop different proposals early in the process, experimenting with both creative and innovative designs, while testing how more classic and recognizable courses work in mixed reality. It is illusory to think that the designs usually used for on-screen solutions can be transferred as they are in mixed reality, just as it is difficult to innovate completely. It is therefore better to think outside the box while taking advantage of knowledge from previous experiences.
4. Has the design been tested on users?
This question is closely related to the previous one, because you have to test the designs that really work for the project. User testing is one of the most important tools we have to create fun and easy-to-use systems. It is even more so for this type of application as it is a novelty.
Thus, the different possible designs must be tested on the actual users. Remember that limited testing is better than no test at all. Similarly, upstream testing will avoid costly changes during the development phase.
5. How to make sure the user feels comfortable with the technology?
One of the arguments for using this type of technology is its more intuitive and natural use of a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. However, today these types of glasses are considered futuristic and avant-garde. It is important to help the users achieve a sense of trust and control of the tool.
Training in the use of glasses and their control mechanisms is an essential step to achieve this goal and ensure future enjoyment. So be sure to have studied the entire user journey, from the first contact with technology to the control of the tool.
More than ever, this type of technology offers opportunities to discover and we hope that these questions can be useful to other actors already considering or working with mixed reality.