Stop Killing Virtual Reality
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For the beginning, let’s have a look at the last few decades of rising GUI. Without the internet, desktop applications were nothing more than text. Even while the internet was gaining popularity, it was still mostly only text. But it has been more than enough for sending data from one continent to another. And users were happy because it was working, not entirely, but it was doing its job.
After, people started trying to make the web more beautiful. Sometimes it was working, sometimes not, but a level of complicity was growing geometrically. And when came up mobile apps, an interface was often pretty enough.
But the market was becoming very concurrent and crowded. And there are plenty of applications that are doing the same job. If you are a few percents better than your competitor, it’s already enough to be a leader. It could be done by different methods, like marketing, branding, simplicity or better usability. And it was the time of rising user experience. It was a highly critical time. The scientific approach made the web and all online tools much more accessible.
Last years came up (again) virtual reality. It’s very unresearched area, and nobody knows where it could grow. And comparable between desktop/web/mobile UI, it’s a different experience. Remind the first time when you tried “Richie’s Plank Experience” (if you didn’t try it, you have to). I can’t remember that I was so excited by using Windows 95, Microsoft Word or even Airbnb’s new mobile app. But definitely, I wasn’t swearing during searching for a new dwelling.
This is the very popular argument from my friends about VR:
“Stop overestimating VR. This is cool stuff, but only for games and entertainment.”
And you know, I can’t disagree. The direction where is doing “virtual reality experience”, it’s only about experience. But there is a blue ocean next to us. And it’s the ocean of useful tools.
True that hardware isn’t there, but have a look on augmented reality. Hardware for AR is so creepy for now. But in most cases, AR creators show us user cases of different kinds of working tools.
The most important that before releasing such tools, there should be huge researching and testing period. Nobody knows what will work and whatnot in such cases.
Applications as Tilt Brush for sculpting is good to start. But as an architect, I would prefer sitting on a chair 10 hours per day instead of running around the room. There is so much space for researchers that would be able to find the best approach to use this possibility.
I hope that right now, somewhere are people that are working on tools for virtual reality, but it’s not ready. Archi Cad and Solidworks weren’t developed in a minute. And create VR experience with zombies is much easier than a useful tool.
Next time before building an application for virtual reality, let’s think about advantages. Cool experience of throwing things isn’t big leap ;)
Because if we continue in this way, we’ll waste our chance to build something significant. I don’t want to come up to the point when VR will become only for gaming.
Please stop calling everything that was developed for virtual reality “experience”. Let’s call it an application, program, game, whatever you want, but please not experience.