Defining Brand Patterns for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality
Volkswagen first approached us in 2017 with the task of developing a uniform, brand-specific user experience for all future virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality projects and documenting it in a pattern library. Whereas VW is talking about "New Realities", others are talking about "Extended Reality". Augmented reality is one of the trending topics in 2018 and Volkswagen is the first to develop explicit cross-brand design patterns for these new digital media.
Agile design process
In our strategic design process, we initially incorporated requirements from the brand, business and user perspectives, defined the personality of the Volkswagen brand and derived brand filters for the new realities from this. The first VR patterns were then developed in a Design Direction and incorporated into a VR prototype of the VW Tiguan. Subsequently, all central design patterns for AR and VR were developed and documented in a (currently still static) pattern library and prepared for further use. The AR patterns are already being used in an AR app that Razorfish developed for Volkswagen and which was used for the first time in Beijing at the end of March 2018.
Cost savings and a consistent brand experience
For the first time, design patterns for VR/AR were developed from within the brand and for all applications of the brand. The cooperation with the customer was close-knit and productive. The result: a Pattern Library for Extended Realities that is now being agilely developed further and regularly optimised and tuned. It not only guarantees a uniform user experience in all Volkswagen applications, but also reduces the costs for developing new applications sustainably.
The pivoting towards new dimensions was exciting and insightful for our 2D-tested digital brand designers, as in virtual reality especially completely different laws apply. Designing the holistic experience of a virtual world poses special challenges, because every parameter must be defined (from the brand perspective). Aspects such as spatial dimensions, architecture, movement, light and sound and the physical behaviour of objects have to be considered.
The prototyping of VR and AR applications is of particular importance. A design pattern that is documented and made available for repeated use must first be tested. We used cardboard-based prototyping for VR, but also animated sequences and design patterns and created video examples.