A 3D-based internet browsing is a “flying car” future. It will give way to an open 3D enabled web (metaverse) where a new generation of hybrid browsers are going to be needed. We need a tool that allows us to access all of our high-quality 3D content through one piece of software. New open standards need to be developed for this, enabling avatars and other informational dimensions to pass seamlessly through physical/ virtual world platforms running a broad range of proprietary hardware and software.
For years browsers have been a gateway to the Internet. A global read-write information space for digital resources, using hypertext identifies, resources, client-server computing, and a markup language to specify information structure and semantic meaning. In order to bring the next incarnation of the internet, the browser will have to support a diverse ecosystem of users, graphical environments, unique sensor resources, and all needing to be tailored/optimized to our 3D geospatial world. Let’s have a look at what an enhanced browser would look like to in order to provide users with a way to generate and experience virtual geospatial content.
Now, 3D is not an inherently better representation scheme for every purpose. It can add additional visual complexity and cognitive overhead of navigating the third dimension. 3D makes sense in select environments but comes at a cognitive price. So a blend of 2.5D (depth) 2D (frames) and 1D (search box/text-based) navigation is generally faster and more efficient.
Here are the main interface elements to a 3D browser:
- Playground– any part of the website that you want the user to interact with through touch.
- Viewport– visible area containing all primary visual content
- The Range- contains the foreground and background, content place focal plane 0.25m to 3m
- Input– can be a hardware keyboard & mouse, hands, eyes, or virtual generated keyboard
As mentioned in a previous post, a fraction of user’s desktops will be totally immersive, the way a quantitative stock trader’s multi-monitor desktop often is today. But most of us want a simple visual interface with a lot of intelligence behind it (think Google). Here we can push for a slick and abstract interface filled with visual metaphors.
Mixed Reality will be the dominant user experience. Since its a new medium it will imitate the medium it replaces. The first GUIs on PCs where metaphors for the office. Screens employed a “desktop” with “folders & files” that were hierarchically ordered. The new transition will bring new metaphors that are inherent to the original with meaning to the browser. Thus bringing back a new era of skeuomorphism and dimensional UI. (Sorry, Jony Ive)
The third age of computation has brought flows and streams that we monitor from Twitter/Facebook. Pages will be less important shifting web navigation from certain points to a continuous geography. An internet search in MR will become more collaborative and social. With of course offering immediate access to improved streams of dimensional information. The continuity allows for the flow of any element to be totally in the present, with no past or future.
MR can bring the next evolutionary step for E-commerce on the web. Websites can now be designed to resemble the retails stores that their products are showcased in. For instance, shopping for new shoes brings a new dimensionality to the buyer process.
The 2D advertisements that junk up screens have no place on these new websites. Advertising is only powerful when consumers are clueless. When consumers don’t know the true value of a product they’re looking for they relied on corporate iconography. But when the consumer can figure out the absolute value on their own they ignore advertisements and certain brand appeals. This will certainly lead to a change the current web advertising demographic.
A Web Browser Beyond the Screen
A 3D based browser will essentially be an operating system for the Metaverse. Functionality will depend on plugin types opening up multiple flavors for these metaverse browsers. While the metaverse and its content are mainly thought to be geographically co-located. A browser will enable arrangement of the content right to the user, not according to physical locations. The browsers of tomorrow are so unbiqtuous, intelligent, and well interfaced that strangeness of using MR to augment our daily lives will eventually fade.