Metaverse challenges: from why to how
The new challenges we face with respect to user experience are many, but they can be broadly summarized in the following blocks.
Purpose and uses
For what do we want the metaverse? Answering this question is very complex indeed. The fear of losing an opportunity or to resemble this new world that we already know can lead to erroneous approaches about the usefulness of virtual environments.
We must focus on the user and the business, as in any classic proposal, adding value to the product and covering a real need, always within the strategies of companies, regardless of their sector.
We are very advanced in this aspect. Designing a digital product is something we are used to, but the metaverse brings us a series of realities that did not exist until now.
Facing an online purchase is something already widespread, but doing it ‘in situ’ in a virtual fitting room is something that we are not yet used to.
Clicking a button is nothing new, but if we have to interact with it in an elevator that we are not physically in, it can be a challenge and a paradigm shift.
The architecture of an app is something we have already dominated, but what is the ideal architecture for a home search in a parallel reality? It opens up a world that is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
These are just a few examples of a conglomerate of unknowns that will have to be addressed from the earliest stages of design. The challenge ahead is complex, but also very promising.
Links with reality
Living in the metaverse is now a concept, but we still have a long way to go before it becomes a reality.
Returning to the example of shopping, we will have the opportunity to try on a garment with our virtual ‘avatar’, see how it fits and decide if we like it. The dilemma comes now: if we are going to receive that garment at home, physically, we will have to evaluate a series of key aspects, such as:
- The legislation of the metaverse: today any clothing store is regulated by certain laws and rules, in the virtual world there must be something similar.
- Currency units: there is still a long way to go before cryptocurrencies overtake traditional currencies. The world’s economies are very diverse and each country has its own particular idiosyncrasies. The level of globalization promised by the metaverse is incompatible with the standardization at these levels.
- Business models: any company carries out its activity on the basis of a strategy. It may not be easy for all of them to include the virtual variable in it. Historically, this has been the case since capitalism was established as the world’s reference economic model. Adaptation to change is essential for the continuity of a business project and, in this respect, the metaverse is not excluded from these decisive factors.
Security and privacy
The Internet’s greatest weakness. The pandemic has managed to increase the confidence of users to make transactions and purchases on the Internet, beyond the typical functions such as the search for information or multimedia enjoyment.
Total immersion in the network is becoming more and more frequent, both at a personal and work level, and this puts certain aspects of our security and privacy at risk: data, passwords, bank accounts, live images of our homes and offices, and many more.
The metaverse exponentially expands and catalyzes the risks in this area. We are talking about much more data circulating on the network and virtual properties that we must also protect.
Current protocols are very advanced, but if they do not continue on the right path they could be a problem for the development of these technologies.