Hello virtual world!

I’ve started this blog to document my adventures learning to design for virtual reality.

I’ve been designing online for the past 15 years; starting as a generalist web designer then niching down into UI/UX as design roles became more specialised. I’ve seen the web through the horrors of skeuomorphism, animated flash pre-loaders and long shadows but always viewed through a rectangular screen.

Through my early career screens got bigger, then with the advent of the smartphone got smaller. Liberating the internet from our desks was an exciting development but in doing so we have inadvertently created a terrible form of human-computer interaction. Phones were designed to hold to your ear and to speak into, not for inputting a 50 character password with your finger while walking down the street. Thousands die each year distracted by their smartphone, yet our generation of compulsive over-sharers seem completely accepting of the awkward exchange between human and screen.

Surely a lens that sits over face your face and displays the information you need without compromising your safety or security is the solution to this?

That’s why I’m excited to learn to design for VR, more specifically augmented reality (where a computer-generated image displays over a user’s view of the real world). 

But where to start?

  • Do I need to buy new kit, or can I experiment using my regular MacBook and iPhone?
  • Proper headset or Google cardboard?
  • What platform should I use?
  • What is Mozilla A-Frame? Daydream VR? Unity VR? Can I access these tools with my limited coding knowledge? Help! 
  • What input methods can I rely on?
  • Can my regular UI design tools like Sketch help me?
  • What is my canvas size? Can I even assign 360 degrees a pixel value? Am I really stupid for asking?

I thought I’d start a blog to document my journey, or at least to form a repository for the articles and guides I keep finding and forgetting. Interested in designing outside the rectangle? Come along for the ride!

I have no idea what I'm doing