Finding a Baseline
"What the heck is a Microsoft HoloLens?" was my first thought.
After Google searches, YouTube tech demos, and numerous visits to the Microsoft website, I learned the HoloLens is an AR headset that places computer-generated images in a person's field of view. Unlike virtual reality (VR), AR does not obscure the user's vision.
I sought out market studies regarding AR and VR equipment in general, wanting to learn more about the viability of the HoloLens for consumers. The research found a promising projection of software and hardware sales in the future, despite the current lack of knowledge or interest in the general (American) population.
I drafted and distributed a Google Form survey as a follow-up to the market research, not only to gauge how people first discovered AR and VR, but also to learn about their use of Netflix in their day-to-day lives.
I asked basic demographic questions (i.e. age, gender), followed by multiple-choice questions about frequency of Netflix use, and then a short answer section where participants could comment/flesh out any thoughts they may have. I also excluded individuals who did not use Netflix.
Particularly for the HoloLens-based questions, I embedded a video demo (by The Verge) in the survey to compensate for the individuals who never had a chance to try one out.
Thanks to the help of a few wonderful people, I had the opportunity to interview a software developer, for both VR and AR technology. And because he was also wonderful people, I also had the chance to demo the HoloLens!
"3 or 4 years from now, the HoloLens should be more available to the mass market. Most people who own this now are either developers or wealthy people."
-AR/VR Software Developer
The HoloLens market has potential growth among general US consumers; this will take some time.
Currently, the HoloLens is mostly in the domain of developers, who must make more software to attract consumers and subsequently justify their purchase.
General consumers and surveyed users are excited by the prospect of AR/VR, but need to learn more.
Surveyed users frequently use Netflix on two particular platforms (i.e. game consoles and smartphones), informing their most familiar experience with it.
A Netflix application for the HoloLens needs to be familiar enough to users, but interactive enough to justify buying a HoloLens.
The selling point of this interactivity would be the spatial aspects of using the HoloLens, followed by the gesture-based system.
The gesture-based system would need reinforcement for new users, especially if certain gestures correspond to Netflix-specific controls.
Tom's a millenial. Tom's a cool dude who likes cool things. He thinks Netflix is pretty cool. The HoloLens is also pretty sweet, too. Tom also considers himself a tekkie, but not a tekkie-tekkie, like the one who has an online subscription with constant updates of tech info, y'know?
Sketching? Low-fidelity Wireframes? Huh?
I'll be honest. My depth perception is terrible.
While sketching on paper is useful, I had to run straight to Sketch for this particular challenge.
I would love the opportunity to work with AR/VR software developers and learn (or at least hear about) the different strategies they use to design for 3D technology. Collaborating with them would be a great way to produce a testable iteration of the HoloLens-Netflix app.
I'm also curious to see how well the general population receives AR/VR technology in the long run. The research showed the tech is more popular among the gaming community and has the potential for growth in that sector; I wonder what would be the catalyst to have AR and VR move beyond gaming's shadow?