17 Nov 2022 Frank Spillers


Design for VR and AR with skeuomorphism

Design for VR and AR with skeuomorphism

VR & AR UX Design needs these two things

Two key concepts in designing user experiences for VR and AR Design are affordances and skeuomorphism. Affordances are critical in UX design: they are design aspects that “afford” or nudge you on how to use a design. A large button for example, provides a strong affordance cue compared to plain (hyperlinked) text with no underline. In the later case, you figure it out by hovering over it, to see that it is clickable.  So in VR and AR, users need to know what is selectable without touching everything and putting it in their metaphorical mouth (like a baby discovers the world).

The cupboard drawer handle highlights (that’s the VR affordance) in this example, to indicate to users that it is selectable.

Ikea VR showing selectable item or affordance in VR UX

Likewise skeuomorphism or the art of designing real-life objects and metaphors is important in VR and AR UX design.

Design for VR and AR with skeuomorphism

In this video Frank Spillers, explains the importance of getting away from boring experiences where users are required to play around with objects to figure them out…and how skeuomorphism makes its way back into VR- having been ‘killed’ by Flat Design on mobile and desktop in the post-Steve Jobs world,

In this upcoming workshop, Story Prototyping the Metaverse ,Frank Spillers will teach you story-prototyping skills for immersive experiences. In preparing for the “inevitable” metaverse, it is important your user experience is incredibly compelling– unless your experience is a sleeping school or snooze simulator that is!


About the Author

headshot of frank spillers

Frank Spillers

Founder - UX Inner Circle

Frank Spillers, MS, founded the UX Inner Circle to share his knowledge and skills with his students from the Interaction Design Foundation where he has provided select trainings for the past 8 years. He leads UX and Service Design consulting at Experience Dynamics, an award-winning consultancy. He works with the world’s leading brands to deliver cutting-edge strategy for products, services, and experiences. Starting out in the mid-’90s in social VR, Frank has consulted on 600 UX projects including enterprise web applications, nonprofits, government and more. He’s an Inclusive Design evangelist, and expert in Accessibility, Emotion Design, VR/AR, Cross-cultural Design and UX Management. Frank brings 25 years of experience as a Sr. UX Director and Service Design leader. He has lifted conversion rates by 88% and enhanced revenue by 300% for firms like Nike, Intel, Microsoft, the City of New York, Global Disability Rights Now!, Four Seasons, Capital One, the World Bank, Women Enabled International, and many more.

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