An Event Apart: Designing Virtual Realism

by Luke Wroblewski October 13, 2009

In his Designing Virtual Realism talk at An Event Apart Chicago, Dan Rubin examined how real world environments, textures, and affordances can help make Web interfaces more intuitive.

  • Context and environment can affect behavior but the “feel” of a Web site or application is rarely considered. Usually, we are designing on a flat surface.
  • How do we bring a tactile experience to UI design on the Web? The easiest way to do this is to relate product design to Web design.
  • Products are designed for intuition. If something isn’t obvious in the real world, there is no hover effect to help you understand it. Instead, affordances help people learn how to use products.
  • When you need instructions on your product, you should probably rethink elements of its design.
  • Aesthetic usability effect: attractive things work better. People assume things will be easier to use when they look good.
  • Take advantage of what people already know to help them use new things.
  • Texture and lighting effects can help bring some familiarity to an interface.
  • Illusions can be used in design in various ways. Representations of the real world can help inform intuitive use.
  • Environment in the real world is all about texture. We recognize textures and know how they feel. We can touch on subconscious reactions to things when people are in the process of tasks.
  • When creating textures & environments, you need to benefit the user.
  • Keep texture in your toolbox for creating real and interesting environments.

For more...

Check out my notes from three years of An Event Apart presentations.