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UX Design

Beyond Reality: UX Design in the Metaverse Era

Authored by Alex Isitt
by Alex Isitt

In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing and website development, a new frontier is having a dramatic impact on the ways in which we engage with digital content—the metaverse. Indeed, this emerging technology is likely to set in motion a transformation that will span the breadth of human activity both on and offline. This immersive, digital realm is set to revolutionise how we build and engage with websites and will undoubtedly have a profound impact on website development and how digital marketing agencies can harness its potential.

The metaverse is not just a virtual playground for gamers; it’s a paradigm shift with far-reaching implications for digital marketers and website developers alike. As we enter this era, it is essential to understand how the metaverse will reshape the foundations of website development and how UX and UI designers may have to adapt to the new challenges and opportunities that it presents.

Previously, the process of creating digital user experiences has been constrained by the fact that the digital world exists in a different physical dimension and as such, allowing users to engage with websites and apps has always been facilitated by the use of two-dimensional interfaces. With the dawn of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and MR (mixed reality), this limitation has been altogether removed, introducing the need for a design approach that deals with three-dimensional design systems.

From the perspective of a client, the potential for users to “step into” their website, to explore, and interact with it as if it were a physical space, opens the door for numerous new ways to market products, services, and solutions. Online retailers and eCommerce platforms can use VR to allow users to test products in a virtual environment; a buyer can “wear” a new pair of trainers without ever stepping foot in a physical store. Property developers or consultants will be able to take prospective partners to visit a construction site and observe development plans in real-time.

The opportunities are endless.

But with these opportunities come a number of challenges for UX and UI designers alike. Designing interfaces that work within a 3-D space is no small feat. Widely recognised design languages will become obsolete, which means that designers will need to find new ways to communicate to users how to interact and navigate these spaces.

Not only is this true when considering the development of websites, but also when looking at how agencies will plan and execute marketing campaigns. With VR and the rest of the Web3 toolkit, they will be able to create involved, interactive, and immersive brand experiences within the metaverse that allow users to become vastly more acquainted with the product and the brand as a whole. For UX designers, the challenge here will be to articulate this transition from more passive forms of advertising (viewing a two-dimensional ad on a screen) to an active user experience, where the potential to turn a viewer into a customer hinges not only on what they see but what they feel, touch, and even taste.

Another change that is likely to be brought about by the introduction of the metaverse is the proliferation of new types of user data. Greater understanding of movement patterns and physical behaviour characteristics will leave both designers and Digital marketing agencies as a whole with a dataset that, if leveraged effectively will provide valuable insights into user behaviour, preferences, and trends. Tailored design and marketing strategies can then be developed to maximize engagement and conversions.

A challenge that may be somewhat familiar to those occupying design or development roles, and indeed many other roles where digital tools or software are required, is the requirement for new skillsets in accordance with changing technologies. Already, the turnover for wireframing and prototyping tools within the world of UX is noticeably swift, with what seems like an endless stream of companies developing new design software that promises to solve the issues of its predecessor. Given the limited capabilities of the leading UX tools (Figma, Sketch, Invision, XD) when it comes to 3-dimensional design, there is an onus on designers to familiarise and adopt the next generation of software, lest they be left behind.

Website development in the metaverse is not a replacement for traditional web design; it’s an extension—an expansion of the digital landscape. Digital marketing agencies that harness the potential of the metaverse will find themselves at the forefront of a revolution, delivering experiences that captivate users and establish brands as pioneers in this exciting digital frontier. By understanding and embracing this transformation, website designers and digital agencies can shape the future of engaging, truly immersive, user-centric experiences. Welcome to the next chapter of web development, where the possibilities are as limitless as the metaverse itself.

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Authored by Alex Isitt

Alex Isitt