Last time on Silo Busting, Dr. Alexandra Diening, EPAM’s Head of Research & Insights for EMEA, introduced us to the concept of the responsible metaverse. This time, she turns the virtual tables and interrogates Jonathan Lupo, EPAM Continuum’s VP of Experience Design, about his own experience as a responsible designer.
Lupo, who was in Covid quarantine during the recording of this episode, says that the metaverse provides “distraction therapy—I need to escape the bedroom” and then reaches, empathically, beyond his own experience: “But there are patients who need to escape a hospital.”
He says that being trapped in his bedroom with VR has been “both a blessing and a curse,” but this made him realize that “our point of origin is kind of all messed up when it comes to metaverse thinking and really dissimilar to how we envision great customer experiences. Which is: We start with a problem.”
Another issue: The metaverse requires designers to evolve to a 3D mindset. Lupo talks of the presence of 2D paradigms in contemporary VR experiences, adding that these “screen-based paradigms shoved in there don't feel right.”
Of course, because we’re bringing humans into deeply immersive experiences, a lot is at stake, and this is reflected in Lupo’s general ethos: “To me, the guiding experience principle when designing for VR or 3D is: How do we keep people safe?” He’s rightly concerned with making sure people are guided properly and carefully through virtual worlds, how to avoid making them sick, how to ensure that they feel in control of their own movement. “How do we provide a set of physics that the user understands?”
Listen and learn about the new skills involved in designing the metaverse—and when organizations can do quick upskilling or when they need perhaps to think about acquisition.
Often, Lupo says, companies are focused on creating the ideal future state, but when it comes to the metaverse, he suggests the responsible thing also requires companies to “envision the worst experience that could happen, what could go wrong” and then “safeguard around that.”
The metaverse is a brand-new, brave new world, and Lupo sums up his honest feelings here, saying that it’s “exciting, exhilarating, thrilling, and terrifying to me.”
Host: Alison Kotin
Engineer: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon