What does an XR UX Designer do?
UX designers are involved with the design of the user experience. It is their job to make XR experiences as intuitive and natural as possible out of the box.
Since Extended Reality (XR) is a new technology and there are many people experiencing it/adopting it for the first time, it is important that XR developers make their experiences as accessible as possible.
A UX designer takes feedback from consumers or testers to find points of confusion or frustration, then redesigns the user experience to minimise this as much as possible.
What’s an XR UX Designer good at?
- Creativity: unlike website or video game UX design, the XR space has very few defined “standards”. As a UX designer in the immersive industries, it is important you are able to come up with creative solutions to the problems XR is facing.
- Technical ability: it is important that you know the capabilities of the hardware you are using, so that you can design UX within them.
- Communication: in UX design you must pay careful attention to any feedback from users of the product, such as testers. You may also not possess the programming skills to make the desired change yourself, so you will have to communicate any design changes clearly and concisely.
Where can being an XR UX Designer take me?
A survey of 140 industry professionals in 2018 found that the top rated barrier for both VR and AR adoption is poor UX design for the second year in a row. There is a massive demand for creative UX designers to create the “standard” for VR and AR as there is a standard for 2D screens – a mouse and a keyboard.
Many hardware companies producing HMDs and other vehicles for extended reality will require UX designers to work closely with software developers to create systems that are fluid, since this is the first thing you will interact with as a first time user.
Entertainment is also a massive employer, for example, game studios that are trying to minimise the amount of frustration, and make the game as accessible to the largest audience possible. However, user experience is not exclusive to entertainment.
How do I become an XR UX Designer?
Get hands on with virtual and augmented reality applications. Try as many different experiences as you can and discover for yourself how someone in this job already is looking at ways to implement new and exciting ways to interact with virtual environments.
A degree is usually required to become a UX designer, in one of the following areas:
- Computer Science
- Digital design/media
- Graphic design
- VR/AR/Immersive tech specific degrees
While you do not need a relevant degree, UX design is a competitive and industry, and if you do not have one, it is a good idea to build up a large portfolio of previous personal projects or work experience to prove to employers that you are competent in UX design.
To start building your own portfolio, begin by sketching on paper how you’d want to interact with an XR experience, and before you know it you’ll be wanting to jump straight into some game engines like Unity and Unreal to start testing out some of your theories.
If you want to hear more about the challenges facing some of the industry leaders in UX design, read part of our three part Insight series here.