Experts predict virtual reality to make a big impact on the web browsing experience. Accordingly, businesses today should wonder and prepare for how it will affect web design in general. Although it's a bit of a scary transition, it brings a lot of promise for businesses with respect to their marketing campaigns. Here's what you need to know.
Could Virtual Reality Websites Be the Future of Web Design?
Virtual Reality Websites are coming!
Yes, virtual reality seems like something out of a science-fiction movie, but it's something we're going to witness in this lifetime. The technology for it is there -- or at least, almost there -- and now integration is the biggest question.
If you're still a non-believer, then read what this RoadtoVR article has to say about Google's investment in virtual reality:
"Google has played an active role in helping to define and deploy ‘WebVR‘, a set of standard capabilities that allow for the creation of VR websites which can serve their content directly to VR headsets. But what about accessing the billions of websites already on the web? Today you’d have to take your headset on and off as you go from a WebVR site to a non-WebVR site. Google’s ultimate vision however is to let people stay in VR for all of their web browsing."
Google sees that virtual design has already impacted web design. Now it's just trying to create a way for users to browse back and forth without ever leaving VR. That's where we're at today.
Virtual reality vs. augmented reality
Just a quick note on the differences between virtual reality and augmented reality. The former refers to a world cut off from reality that completely immerses the user and the latter is a blend of realities where users are still in the real world but can interact with virtual objects. Think of virtual reality as Google Cardboard and augmented reality as Pokemon Go.
Virtual reality is immersive
And now to the good stuff, that is, how businesses can integrate virtual reality into their web design to better engage users. In this respect, there are some things we know, and things we don't know.
It's clear that because of its immersion, virtual reality is extremely engaging. When users browse your website with VR, they won't be able to check their smartphones, open up Snapchat, or retweet a friend.
A recent Forbes article explains how the Golden State Warriors used VR to recruit basketball star Kevin Durant. According to the article, they not only impressed Durant with their presentation, but also sufficiently illustrated how his life in California would be:
"Virtual reality is not what closed the deal in and of itself, but its role within a successful pitch does point to a lucrative and relatively untapped marketing frontier. If the Warriors sold Durant – a global brand himself – by using virtual reality technology, why can’t other brands do something similar with their audiences?"
The entire pitch was just one big marketing experience. Obviously, virtual reality can't overcome a lackluster brand experience or sub-par value proposition, but it can immerse consumers in the experience you created.
Your best opportunity in this regard is to optimise your web design for VR. You'll be able to make your website an all-engaging stop in your customer's brand experience.
Unfortunately, we don't really know just how that's going to look as of now. Virtual reality, while a very real possibility, is still in its infancy stage in regard to its integration. At this point, it can take several different turns and we'd be lying if we said we know just how VR will be used in 2018.
The potential of virtual reality is exciting for businesses and their websites. To talk more about browsing the web with virtual reality, or anything else, contact us today.