Unlocking the Potential of XR: A Guide for Product Designers on How to Elevate Their Skills in 2023

Arash Ranjbaran Qadikolaei
6 min readFeb 5, 2023

Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR) technologies have grown rapidly in recent years and are poised to become a major players in the digital product design landscape in 2023. With the increasing demand for immersive experiences, XR technologies are becoming an essential tool for businesses to engage with their customers and create products that are more interactive, intuitive, and accessible. In this article, we’ll explore the various needs and considerations for digital product design in 2023, and how XR technologies can be leveraged to create innovative and impactful digital products.

XR has the potential to fundamentally change the way we experience the world.
- Palmer Luckey, Founder of Oculus VR

Key Considerations for Digital Product Design in 2023

  1. User Experience (UX) — UX design is the foundation of digital product design, and it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of user needs and preferences. The design of XR experiences must be intuitive, engaging, and responsive to user interactions. In 2023, UX designers will need to consider the specific challenges posed by XR, such as hand tracking, spatial audio, and the need for visual consistency across different devices.
  2. Interactivity — Interactivity is an essential aspect of XR experiences, and it’s crucial for designers to create interactions that are intuitive and natural for users. In 2023, designers will need to think beyond traditional touch-based interactions and explore new ways to interact with XR experiences, such as hand gestures, voice commands, and gaze tracking.
  3. Accessibility — Accessibility is becoming increasingly important for digital product design, and XR is no exception. Designers will need to ensure that XR experiences are accessible to users with disabilities, such as color blindness or motor impairments. In 2023, designers will need to consider factors such as font size, color contrast, and audio cues to make XR experiences accessible to everyone.
  4. Performance — Performance is a critical factor for XR experiences, and designers will need to optimize their designs to ensure that XR experiences run smoothly and seamlessly on a range of devices. In 2023, designers will need to consider factors such as frame rate, latency, and battery life to create XR experiences that are both visually stunning and efficient.
  5. Cross-platform compatibility — In 2023, XR experiences will need to be accessible across a range of platforms, including desktop, mobile, and standalone devices. Designers will need to ensure that XR experiences are optimized for each platform and that the visual and interactivity elements are consistent across devices.

Leveraging XR Technologies to Create Innovative Digital Products

XR technologies offer a wealth of opportunities to create innovative and impactful digital products. XR technologies can be leveraged to create immersive experiences that engage users and provide a new level of interaction and accessibility.

  1. Virtual Reality (VR) — VR is a fully immersive technology that creates a simulated environment for users to interact with. VR can be used to create a wide range of digital products, from gaming and entertainment experiences to training and simulation applications. For example, a company in the real estate industry could create a virtual tour of a property, allowing potential buyers to experience the property as if they were physically there.
  2. Augmented Reality (AR) — AR overlays digital information onto the real world, creating a hybrid environment for users to interact with. AR can be used to create digital products that provide a new level of information and context, such as location-based apps or product visualization tools. For example, a company in the automotive industry could use AR to provide a virtual showroom experience, allowing customers to see how a car would look in their driveway before making a purchase.
  3. Mixed Reality (MR) — MR is a combination of VR and AR, where virtual and real-world elements are blended together to create a seamless and integrated experience. MR can be used to create digital products that offer the best of both worlds, combining the immersive experience of VR with the real-world context of AR. For example, a company in the healthcare industry could use MR to provide interactive training sessions for medical professionals, allowing them to practice procedures in a simulated environment while still being able to see the real world.

XR provides a unique opportunity to create truly personalized experiences that meet the needs of users in new and innovative ways.
- Katherine Isbister, Director of the Game Innovation Lab at New York University.

Why Product Designers Should be Ready for XR?

  1. Growing demand for XR experiences — As XR technologies continue to mature and become more accessible, the demand for XR experiences is only going to increase. Product designers who are equipped to design for XR will have a competitive edge in the job market and be well-positioned to create impactful and engaging digital products.
  2. Immersive and interactive experiences — XR technologies offer a new level of immersion and interactivity that traditional digital products simply can’t match. Product designers who are proficient in designing for XR will be able to create experiences that are more engaging, intuitive, and accessible.
  3. New design challenges — Designing for XR is a unique challenge, and product designers will need to think beyond traditional digital product design principles to create XR experiences that are intuitive and accessible. Product designers who are ready for XR will be able to rise to these new design challenges and create digital products that are truly transformational.

How Product Designers Can Learn XR?

To improve their skills in XR product design, product designers can follow these steps:

1- Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in XR technology:

  • Subscribe to XR-focused blogs and newsletters, such as Road to VR, UploadVR, and VRScout
  • Follow XR thought leaders on social media, such as Jeremy Bailenson, Nonny de la Peña, and Palmer Luckey
  • Attend XR-focused events and conferences, such as XRDC, VR/AR Global Summit, and AWE

2- Experiment with different XR design tools and platforms:

  • Explore game engines, such as Unity and Unreal Engine, for designing VR and AR experiences
  • Experiment with AR creation tools, such as Spark AR, Lens Studio, and ARKit, for designing AR experiences
  • Try out VR design tools, such as Tilt Brush, Gravity Sketch, and Oculus Medium, for designing VR experiences

3- Focus on user-centered design principles:

  • Conduct user research to understand user needs, preferences, and limitations
  • Design for accessibility, ensuring that the XR experience is accessible to users with disabilities
  • Prioritize user experience, making sure the XR experience is intuitive, engaging, and meets the needs of the user

4- Collaborate with developers and other experts:

  • Work with developers to understand the technical limitations and potential of different XR technologies
  • Seek feedback and guidance from other XR designers and experts to improve your XR design skills
  • Collaborate with experts in fields such as psychology, human-computer interaction, and user experience design to understand how XR technology impacts users

5- Continuously iterate and test:

  • Regularly test your XR designs with users to gather feedback and make improvements
  • Iterate your designs based on user feedback, making changes and improvements as needed
  • Continuously evaluate the impact of your XR designs on users and make changes to improve the experience

6- Attend workshops and conferences:

  • Attend XR-focused workshops and training sessions to improve your XR design skills
  • Attend XR-focused events and conferences to network with other professionals, learn from experts, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in XR technology
  • Participate in online forums and communities, such as the XR Designers community on Facebook, to connect with other XR designers and learn from their experiences.

By following these steps and continuously improving their XR design skills, product designers can create innovative and impactful XR products that offer users a truly immersive experience.

In 2023, XR technologies will play an increasingly important role in the world of digital product design. Product designers who are ready for XR and have a deep understanding of XR design principles and best practices will be well-positioned to create innovative and impactful digital products. Whether through formal training, online resources, or hands-on experience, product designers can learn and stay up to date with XR design and be ready for this exciting new medium.

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