In my last blog post, I presented to you what is the future of software developers in the metaverse world. You could find in my article that metaverse jobs are not all about software development and programming. As in every new technology trend or change, there will be new jobs related to it, some of them will be an evolution of current well-known positions. For example, a copywriter and scriptwriter may become the metaverse storyteller, video game designers may become the Metaverse world builders.
At the same time, a good design is more important than ever - more companies and governments put more focus on accessibility and user experience. To provide a seamless and great metaverse experience design will take an important role in the process of creating metaverse. Same as technology, design is constantly evolving, adjusting and adapting to our requirements, needs.
The game industry is very relevant to the metaverse - especially sandbox games like Minecraft or Fortnite. They provide a high level of freedom while playing. By some, sandbox games are called "primitive metaverses". Thanks to video games some of us could already experience simply what the worldbuilders job could look like. I am talking especially about city-building games like SimCity or Cities (I prefer Cities, but we are not going to argue which one is better). Building your own city, planning ahead and trying to predict all consequences sounds a little bit like tasks of the metaverse world builder.
Today I would like to talk about architecting and adapting design systems for the metaverse. Let's analyze a few aspects that will be essential to create a fluent and seamless experience.
One of the most important things will be typography. The letters (including this article) were designed to be viewed/displayed on flat surfaces. With metaverse and 3D there will be infinite numbers of viewpoints, perspectives. If you stand behind the text, you may still recognize the shape of letters and some words but it will not be as convenient. You can experience this problem in everyday life. Just simply go to the nearest store with a big slogan on the storefront, stand on the backside of it and try to decipher it.
A solution for this problem may be asemic writing (from the Greek language - "having no specific semantic content"). With asemic writing meaning and interpretation is left to be filled by the reader. In this case, typography would be replaced with drawings or icons which are arranged in a proper way that may resemble text. The biggest downside is that the understanding and correct interpretation depends on the readers' side and their sense and knowledge.
We all know what the internet sounds like. For each of us, it sounds a little bit different. Depending on what content we consume, with whom are we talking. We can even enjoy the internet in absolute silence. But what sounds you may expect in the metaverse?
As we mentioned before the metaverse is something that transcends the universe. Where social connection and interactions truly matter. I agree with Arthur Vincent from SoundObject, and his statement that audio is really important and affects the overall experience more than high-quality video and images. If you do not believe me, check this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PLMiA18tBc
When the metaverse started to be a really popular topic, and its possibilities were revealed people started to ask, does it mean that everyone on the metaverse will be able to sound like Morgan Freeman ;)
We need to remember that sound perception is a really complex thing. It allows animals to navigate, locate prey or avoid predators. When we hear someone shouting, our brain may interpret it as the first sign of danger. The ability to perceive and understand noises around us helps us in determining where we are. We must not underestimate the power of music in affecting our moods and emotions.
We should not forget that the same as more websites and services put more focus on accessibility. The same the metaverse designers and creators should be aware and include people with hearing disabilities.
The audio aspect in the metaverse also opens an interesting aspect for advertisers and brands. We are all familiar with Nike NFT shoes, imagine to make it more unique and exclusive the shoes make a unique sound while you "walk" in the metaverse.
The most interesting part when it comes to sound in the metaverse is limitless creativity. Imagine that you may create/craft the entire sound universe which allows people to feel what it means to be a bat and move in it only by using echolocation.
Navigation and animation
Navigation is another important and broad aspect of the metaverse. To navigate the internet all we need is a computer mouse/touchpad and keyboard. Navigation in the metaverse is whole another thing. Our head will be responsible for the camera control, but what about the control, perspective and distance? I recommend you to read Mike Wolfson's post on Stack Overflow on that topic.
The next element on which designers and programmers must concentrate is animation and the prevention of motion sickness, which is currently a constraint. Like many others, I get motion sickness rapidly with the headsets I've tried, and I assume it would be terribly uncomfortable and potentially a real pain in the neck on a hot summer day. Solutions like Pancake lenses appear to significantly reduce the device's size. These lense kinds are used in Meta's Project Cambria and HTC's Vive Flow. The folded design of pancake lenses allows light to reflect back and forth between the display and lenses.
In my previous blog post, I listed 3 potential Metaverse related jobs released by Honeypot. The other one which will be very important especially in terms of ethics and safety will be a Metaverse Safety Manager role. Such a person will have to accurately predict how Metaverse functionalities will be used and how they can be misused.
After more than 30 years with the world wide web, we know one - the internet is not a safe place. We should not believe that the metaverse will be all rainbows and unicorns. On the contrary, we should be aware and expect even more potential risks.
Nowadays if someone leaves a vulgar or aggressive comment we can hide it, delete it, block it and try to erase it from our minds - it feels different than receiving such a comment or experiencing such behavior in the real world. About the examples of potential risks in the metaverse, we could hear recently. A few days ago a woman was harassed in the Virtual World. Such a situation puts more responsibility on the designers' side - how to make it a safe space from the beginning. After all, the metaverse is being designed in a way that the mind and body are unable to distinguish between virtual/digital experiences and the real world.
There are other design aspects to be learned and remembered while creating, exploring, and/or guiding others through virtual experiences, but in my opinion these are some of the most important.
Putting people at the center of the design has never been more important than in the upcoming Metaverse world. Designing the Metaverse entails learning about the world, attempting to adapt to it first, and then sharing its power with the people.
If you need additional information about metaverse, check the following article: