AR vs VR and the UX Future. Which one will become the dominant UX? 5 UX experts provide their thoughts on which will win, and why.
AR versus VR and the future of UX is a hot topic if the recent SxSW conference and trade show are any indicator. Why? Because AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are a bold new way for people to interact with systems, be they virtual, real-world or both. As I look into the UX future with my somewhat cloudy crystal ball, I am confident of one thing: one of them will eventually become the dominant UX we all use.
But which one? And why?
Watch the AR vs VR video to learn which one I picked, and why.
Bonus: 5 UX Experts on AR vs VR
In addition to my thoughts, I’ve asked 5 UX experts to provide their perspective on what the AR vs VR future may hold. Read on to learn which one they think will win in the AR vs VR competition, and why they think the dominant UX of the future will be their pick.
I’m thinking this is the beginning of a very big shift in Human Computer Interaction, and that AR will become THE way we interact with systems, information and data in the next 5-10 years. AR and VR were all over SXSW this year, and I think that signals the shift that will eventually occur.
But what do YOU think? Am I nuts? Will AR / VR take off or just be some minor gaming wondertoy like Rock Band?
5 UX Experts and AR vs VR
Daniel Szuc: Dan is the co-founder of ApogeeHK, a top-notch design and UX firm in Asia. He’s a co-author of the book “Global UX” and was founder of UX Hong Kong.
“My assumption is that AR and VR are “toys for boys” as pushed by tech companies in search of a need or the next big thing.
Also consider what else needs to fall into place for AR and VR to be more useful? e.g. data visualization, data overlays, data that matches a contextual need better? For example, what needed to happen for Smart phones to become popular and not just for the rich?
Open to learning about use cases where AR and VR are making a real difference (gaming seems to be one).”
Andrew Mayfield: Andrew is CEO of the UX tools and services firm Optimal Workshop. Optimal Workshop provides click testing, question tests, tree sorts and more tools for capturing qualitative data.
“I think you’re correct (in that AR will win), though I haven’t given a huge amount of thought to how it’ll play out. So, just for fun, lemme riff right off the cuff: I think the enclosed VR goggles will be somewhat short-lived / limited to specialised interactions. I imagine that they’ll demonstrate just how much more immersive an experience could be though if the ‘computer’ was able to control/understand/fiddle with everything we can ‘see’.
So Microsoft’s holo thing seems like a nice, less game-oriented step. AR in general makes a LOT of sense to me intuitively.
We all google everything we want to know. We generally seem relatively comfortable using our phones as universal remote controls. We’re very likely to enjoy a scenario where we can get useful metadata and/or manipulate more ordinary things in our environments remotely, whether it be across the room or further afield.
In combination with intelligent voice recognition and specialist applications, AR / VR seems to have great potential for exploring vast data to me.
The feeling of being ‘in it’, like how a researcher likes to put all manner of things on every wall of a room and just stand in the middle of it to let it eek through their pores until it makes sense. That feeling is what a good AR / VR experience might evoke, that even a 27″ retina monitor never will.
It certainly has a fad-ish feel to it. And it’s not at all new. But it is a lot more awesome than before.”
Toby Biddle: Toby is the CEO of the UX firm Loop11. Loop11 is an umoderated testing tool that enables research of your own or other websites with no downloads.
“As someone who gets motion sickness at the mere idea of VR I’ve always been skeptical as to where it will end up.
That being said I’ve had many friends communicate the engaging nature of VR even when the display and refresh rates are poor. My belief is that VR, and to a lesser extent AR, will extend already existing areas of consumer use.
We already use Google Earth/Maps to see foreign locations, we watch performances on YouTube, and plugin our earbuds to relax and meditate. I see VR extending all of these elements into more immersive experiences.
This view is probably coupled more with developments in 360-degree video than is it is in creating entirely new environments.
So while I don’t see us spending all of our time in virtual environments, I can definitely see it replacing existing behaviour in the near future.”
“So far I have not experienced a VR scenario that really convinced me. But I am sure it will be pretty good by the time my children surprise me with a one-way ticket to a nursing home. And that’s totally something I am looking forward to already!
On my Christiania-Bike I have this sticker: AFK. Because that’s what I am when I am riding my bicycle. Away from keyboard. But do I need a way to augment my reality? Well, perhaps. If everybody has it, I certainly don’t wanna be the one left out to dry. I want to have my own Jane (see: “Speaker for the Dead,” written by Orson Scott Card).
On the other hand: reality? We have several of those in my household–and they seem to be very different. Let me ask you one question: did the trees in the Garden of Eden have growth rings or not?
AR or VR? Right now I am more excited about Facebook’s new Chatbots. They will be all over the place by this time next year.
So you kids out there reading this… I have this advice for you: take it easy and do what Facebook does. And stop reading this Responsive Web Design book. The web is dying. Look at your home screen. There’s 50 apps and not one browser in sight. Read up on Chatbots and get creative.”
Ritvij Gautam: Ritvij is the CEO of TryMyUI, a remote unmoderated usability testing tool that enables recording of tests with actual users of your website or app.
“I am optimistic about devices like the revamped Facebook Oculus. The Hololens demo at E3 blew my mind too. VR/AR will gain its first foot hold in gaming. It had already started with the wave of motion sensors (Wii, Kinect, etc).
In my opinion AR will gain real world applicability sooner than VR. VR still has to get a lot smaller, more compact and make sense practically before people will start buying it as a standard consumer tech good.
A good lesson on how not to make AR take off can be found in the reception of Google Glass. It was a good tool but without a well scoped out field for applicability.
Slowly rolling out AR/VR tech from field to field, Gaming and Education for examples, will give us a directional push so that people will build for AR with a purpose and it will gain more traction. This will allow us to explore the potential and limitations of the technology in controlled sub-markets that are extremely receptive and prone to adopting the new tech.”
Conclusion: AR vs VR and UX Future
AR vs VR and UX Future is a debate that may continue on, but one thing is clear, technology will continue to push the boundaries of human/computer interaction. Whether the winner is AR (Augmented Reality) like I and several of our UX experts think, or VR (Virtual Reality) or even potentially some new hybrid design that doesn’t even exist yet, our interactions will change.
But what do you think?
Do you think AR will win? Or are you picking VR? Add your thoughts to the comments below!
For more information on AR vs VR:
The Future of UX and UI – This article and video provides a live demo recorded at SXSW of the new AR tool created by Meta.