Career Paths

UX Design for metaverse – upcoming trends

min read
Mikaela Thompson

UX designers are still in high demand! Adobe ran a study and canvassed managers and heads of departments (500), resulting in 87% of said managers hiring more UX Designers as top priorities in their organizations. 73% committed to hiring more over the next 5 years and 63% said they hired 5+ UX Designers this past year. 

So what can we expect this year in terms of UX Design trends? The top trend is more remote work. With the pandemic ensuing, the world of work transformed overnight. People started working from home more, living more flexible lives in terms of work-life balance. This trend will continue and requires us to optimize work environments, tools and technology to cater for this flexible working environment. 

What is the “metaverse”?

“Metaverse” made it to top 10 searched words for the year. With flexible working and Covid, came the onset of the Metaverse. “With Facebook’s big move to rebrand as Meta, and their commitment to heavily investing in the future that blurs the line between our real life and virtual.” Ola Olusoga, Head of Design at at Automattic clearly demonstrates the transition to virtual work environments in the metaverse as we continue remote and flexible working. 

“Metaverse” was first coined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” sci-fi book. The novel depicts the “metaverse” as a virtual space blending digital and physical, offering cyber-punk vibe realities for socializing and existing virtually as avatars. Similarly, AR/VR is nothing new, but the way it’s being utilized nowadays is rapidly changing and innovating. See the trends below for how the metaverse is impacting UX design.

3D Rendering

3D visuals are not something new, however were not heavily used due to heavy load on machines. This year, we can expect to see more modern and optimized front-end frameworks that will be able to reduce page load time leading to more detailed and extensive 3D objects. We’ll see more shadows, animations, layering, depth, dimension and realism to bring in people more into the experience and story. We’ll see more 3D logos, texts, online museums, medical institutions, supermarkets and education institutions. 

Extended Reality

Extended reality encompasses Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and a few other concepts. Extended reality is beginning to be adopted by the likes of Instagram, Walmart, Adidas and McDonald’s, incorporating simulations for retail at home. 

Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality

Zion Market Research states that the AR market is expected to grow at 85.2 CGAR. AR now is not just for gaming but includes work environments, travel, automobile, education, retail, healthcare, social media, banking, etc. Even surgeons, at John Hopkins, are continuing to experiment utilizing AR surgery on patients. Additionally, designers will need to be aware of things like special and audio augmentation, designing mixed reality situations to grow the extended reality. 

Facebook even launched a VR remote work app to push metaverse forward in the workplace. Designers will also have to take into account utilizing VR headset devices to improve online meetings and experiences. Technology, hardware and software, will continue to improve along with infrastructure to allow for increased and improved integrations between the virtual world and reality, which we need to prepare for. It’s up to UX designers to ensure the transition and experience is a smooth and successful one. 

Inclusive Design

“Inclusive design is a design methodology that enables and draws on the full range of human diversity” – Microsoft. Diversity, equity and inclusion will continue to be a growing trend and hot topic even into the metaverse as we’re still far from an equitable work environment and world. Diversity covers ideas, people and projects. The three steps include recognizing exclusion, solving and extending to many and learning from diversity. UX Designers must ensure experiences, stories and designs are made to accommodate all users. It should look at limitations or disabilities that some may have coming up with solutions to overcome these to deliver a seamless experience for all. 

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