The Evolution of App Design

Written by Kris Morgan

As companies begin to make the leap into Virtual Reality, the definition of an app is going to get a whole lot broader. The designers building VR apps will begin by following the methodologies they’re most familiar with: they’ll define goals, make lists of features or user stories, maybe sketch some ideas. Almost a year ago, this made a lot of sense to us.

VR apps are quite unlike their flatland predecessors. With the addition of physics, a third dimension, stereoscopic immersion, and six degrees of freedom, they feel more like games than the apps of the recent past. For us, coming from a relatively mature field, our tools and processes had been shaped by the things they’d most commonly built. In designing for VR, they were too limiting.

Our pocket-sized studio works on software from enterprise networking to startup finance, but in all of these projects the paradigms are established and the processes are familiar. When we started working in VR, we quickly realized we had to adapt our UX instincts, and push the extremes of our iterative, prototyping-centric approach.

As we continued to experiment and learn from our mistakes, we began to develop a point-of-view worth sharing.

A better starting point

The following articles are bits of wisdom we’ve gained over the last year. They’re short and concise, but foundational—a collection of thoughts, takeaways, and strategies to help you adapt your design toolset for VR.

In this series

  1. Your app is now a world
  2. When everything is magic, nothing is magic—and everything is terrifying
  3. Defining your world with a story