About time! / by Kim Baumann Larsen

The web rocks

Twenty three years ago I designed my first professional web-page. It was for a radio station in Houston, I think it was KLOL Rock, at my first full-time job in the tech start-up CyberSim. Only a few months before we had been knee deep in creating Virtual Reality experiences and I designed and built my first virtual space for an HMD VR experience - a digital art gallery.

I have no images from those projects, and it is probably for the best. The VR technology, the available real-time 3D engine and the market were all woefully immature and inadequate for the commercial world, and the world wide web was at it's infancy and animated GIF images and poor user experiences were the norm.

Change is coming

Cue almost two dozen years later and I am once again immersed in designing spaces for VR, and creating yet another web experience. This time around the technology has matured and is much more user friendly, but mostly for the web. We've had years of User Experience design development for big and small screens alike and plenty of third-party solutions enabling "anyone" to create a well functioning and attractive web site.

For VR UX design the story is not that much different from 1994. There is more that we don't know than we know, and challenging what is good, bad and ugly is a major reason I find designing VR experiences so immensely rewarding. It is not every day a paradigm shift is emerging in how we interact with computers and digital spaces and one get to take part in shaping that transition.

A richer experience

In my Master of Architecture thesis at the University of Houston all those years ago I speculated on how one could develop a grammar for interacting with digital information in a virtual space - cyberspace - referencing a curious and somewhat rare medical phenomenon called Synaesthesia. While that reference may not be the optimal for creating the language we need have to interact with and shape digital space, it feels reassuring and refreshing to be back in the virtual world with my years of experience communicating architectural space and shaping virtual environments with visual storytelling.

I look very much forward to sharing with you my journey onward into the virtual realms. Let’s see what’s out there.
- Kim

 Synesthetic number form. Richard E. Cytowic, from Cytowic & Eagleman (2009), "Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia." MIT Press

Synesthetic number form. Richard E. Cytowic, from Cytowic & Eagleman (2009), "Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia." MIT Press