Have you ever downloaded a mobile app that was difficult to navigate and use? Do you still use that app? Probably not. Similarly, the creation of simple and intuitive UX and interactivity in VR and AR is crucial to user retention and long term success. One of the main reasons why immersive experiences can be confusing is that users lack context and experience interacting in a 3D medium.
When users download a new iPhone app, they will usually have a general sense of the interaction options available to them: tap here, pinch this, swipe that, presto! Your Uber is on the way. However, there are currently no globally accepted “best practices” for UX design and interactivity for VR and AR. As such, in every new VR or AR app that comes out, users have to go through a steeper-than-average learning curve to gain a basic level of competence.
Sean (Yu-Hsiang) Chen is the UX Lead at Atheer, an AR platform for industrial enterprises. He elaborates on this point: “Right now, AR is similar to the smartphone business before the iPhone came along. There are no globally accepted interaction and UX standards, so we’re seeing a fragmentation of AR and VR implementations, which makes it challenging to provide a quality experience that can be scaled to a large audience.”
Chen continues: “Multimodal Interactions (gestures, voice, head motion, etc.) will be the key to creating a compelling user experience. Therefore, we as creators in the industry need to design highly intuitive interactions, utilize the right type of modality inputs at the right time, and create our applications on top of them to build the best synergy. This will substantially reduce the learning curve and resistance from the users, making it faster to actually take the technology and go complete their daily tasks, and resulting in higher ROIs for the companies that adopt the platform.”