Virtual reality is growing at a remarkable pace. It is estimated that the market will be worth $33 billion in the next three years.
We have seen many ways that virtual reality is changing our world. One underappreciated benefit of virtual reality is in the area of web design. How will VR influence the future of web development? Experts like Tom May have shared their insights.
Virtual Reality is Changing the Online Consumer Experience Forever
Over the past few years there has been significant growth in the virtual reality space. By now you’ve probably seen people playing virtual reality games, or perhaps you’ve even tried one out for yourself. With these headsets you can feel like you’re in another location and experience new things all from the comfort of your couch. You can see what it’s like to tour another country, try out another job, or even ride a roller coaster.
One area of virtual reality that doesn’t get as much attention though is web browsing. Web browsing through virtual reality headsets is growing more popular each year, and it’s likely to change how businesses present themselves online in the future.
A couple of years ago, Tom May wrote about the role of virtual reality in web design in a post on Creative Bloq. May said that biggest change is that virtual reality is affecting web browsers, but other variables come into play as well.
What Are Virtual Reality Web Browsers?
Virtual reality web browsers are just as they sound – they allow you to visit the Internet through a virtual reality headset. And contrary to what you might think, setting up a VR scheme a website isn’t particularly complex. In fact, when you look at the WordPress hosting platform—which powers more of the Web than any other—you’ll find that plenty of VR-integrated sites already exist. And in the future, WordPress developers will be more inclined to integrate virtual reality into their sites.
However, it’s not always as simple as just looking at a webpage within the headset. Rather, some virtual reality web browsers make it seem like you’re inside the Internet. Instead of typing in a web address, you’ll walk to a room that contains the webpage. If you want to watch a video, you won’t open up YouTube and watch it on a screen—instead, you’ll watch the video on a virtual movie screen.
There are several different virtual reality web browsers already in existence, with each one working to improve each year. There’s Firefox’s VR web browser, one from Google, and Microsoft Edge. Each one has its own advantages or features, and some only work on certain devices. If you’re interested in trying our virtual reality web browsing on your VR headset, you’ll have to see which browser is compatible with your device.
How Virtual Web Browsers are Used
While using a virtual reality headset is fun, there are also many practical benefits that then can be used for. Businesses aren’t going to start designing their websites for virtual web browsers simply because they’re fun—they need to provide a tangible benefit to their users.
For example, let’s say you’re a realtor. A great benefit of virtual reality would be allowing your customers to tour a home through a web browser. With the headset on, they could take a virtual tour through the home you’re selling. This would give them a much better idea as to whether or not they like the house, rather than just looking at pictures.
Or let’s say you’re an auto parts store and you want to provide some tutorials on how to fix your own car. Giving your customers a virtual experience on how to repair something would be much more beneficial than just giving them written directions. With a VR experience they could see how something is supposed to be done before they even touch their own car.
VR gives businesses another tool to put into their toolbelt. In a world where each business has dozens of competitors online, every advantage you can give yourself is a benefit. Not only that, but as more people start using virtual reality web browsing, you’ll open yourself up to new audiences.
How Virtual Reality Will Change Web Design
While it’s possible to keep your website roughly the same and have it accessed on VR browsers, this won’t be the optimal situation. Instead, you’ll want to take advantage of the abilities provided to you and ensure your website functions properly on VR headsets.
There’s a lot that this will involve, but a few key principles will help you get started. For starters, focus on quality over quantity. It’s much better to have one great VR experience on your website rather than 10 sub-par ones.
Next, make sure your website loads quickly. People don’t like waiting for websites to load, and this is no different in VR. So, for example, if you’re running WordPress, use WordPress website hosting that focuses on speed, and make sure you’re only using the most necessary of plugins. Also be sure to check all your images and ensure they are optimized for the web.
Lastly, don’t think that you need to convert your entire website into VR. Simply adding some VR features to your site will go a long way towards improving customer experience. Here is a guide on how you can start implementing VR into your website.
VR Web Browsers are Here to Stay
Virtual reality is only becoming more popular each year. It won’t be long before millions of people are using VR headsets to access the web. If you’re a business owner, it’s a good idea to start looking into how you can incorporate VR into your own business’s website. Virtual reality web browsing is the way of the future, and it’s here to stay.