Defining Brand Patterns for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality
In 2017, a leading German automobile manufacturer approached us with the task of developing a uniform, brand-specific user experience for all future virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality media, and documenting this in a pattern library. The company itself speaks of "New Realities", while others now speak of "Extended Reality". Augmented Reality was one of the trending topics in 2018 and though customer naming is not possible here for internal reasons, our client is leading the way in this area as the first to explicitly develop cross-brand design patterns for these new forms of digital media.
An Agile design process
In our strategic design process, we initially incorporated requirements from brands, business and user perspectives and defined the personality of the brand, then used these to derived brand filters for the new realities. The first VR patterns were then developed in a design direction and incorporated into a VR prototype for a dealer application. Subsequently, all central design patterns for VR and AR were developed and documented in a pattern library and prepared for further use. The AR patterns are already used in an AR mobile app.
Developing a consistent brand experience in a cost-effective way
For the first time, design patterns for VR/AR were developed from the brand’s perspective, for use in all brand applications. The partnership with our client was tight-knit and productive. The result of our collaborative work took the form of a pattern library for extended realities, which is now agilely developed and regularly optimised, and which not only guarantees uniform UX in all XR applications but also sustainably reduces the costs for the development of new applications.
Considerations for new dimensions
The rethinking was exciting and instructive for our 2D-tested digital brand designers, since completely different laws apply in this sphere, in particular to virtual reality. Designing the holistic experience of a virtual world presents special challenges, because every parameter has to 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, and created animated sequences, design patterns and videos.