The web has become one of the most important fixtures of our daily lives, but for all of its innovation, its still very flat and two dimensional. It carries a tremendous amount of text for us to read and sift through on “pages”, a term borrowed from the now antiquated age of books. We call content interactive, but the truth is, we do a lot of staring at it with blank looks on our faces. Do you ever look around at everyone else while they are staring at their phone slowly flicking at the screen with their thumb? Let’s be honest, it is pretty hard to call that “interactive”.
That is all about to change.
The flat and shallow web we have come to know, with its volumes of words that fit neatly into square blocks, is about to look and feel radically different.
Consider this your warning.
As evidence, I offer an invitation to a fantastically breakthrough experience. I recently came across the film “Myth”. Directed by Or Fleisher, it takes only a few minutes and is well worth the watch. Part of me thinks it is the greatest demonstration of Virtual Reality delivered in a browser I have ever seen. And it is. But another part of me thinks it might just be the best sneak peek of the future internet that we have available today. It is simply something you have to see for yourself.
Upon arrival at the site that is home to the film, one is asked to select their display of choice; mobile, tablet, desktop, or Virtual Reality. The site offers the content in a browser over the open web, and the viewer is left to select how they want to consume it. No longer are we confined to the display a developer created that content for or asked to wait for a massive download to configure the content for the Virtual Reality display we have jacked in. How is this even possible?
In time, this radically democratizes Virtual Reality making it available to anyone and anywhere. And it simplifies a potentially very complicated distribution system for developers. They will be able to build immersive content once, and push it from the same url to mobile, tablet, desktop or a Virtual Reality device. No more closed ecosystems, stores, or massive downloads. We live in a world racing to Virtual Reality, and now we can peek at it in our browser, over the open web in a film like “Myth”. No longer is there any unnecessary friction between a user and interactive and immersive Virtual Reality content.
What does that mean? The three dimensional internet is here, and you can experience this work of art in it, today. It renders in three dimensions to whatever display you have. If you are on your desktop, it is responsive to your mouse and you can control your full 360 view. The entire experience is brilliant.
The creators explain the film as “a way to interact and build upon the music created by ‘Livyatanim’ as a way of putting the listener inside our conceived reality, at a path that is as random as it is designed and directed.” It is nothing short of a work of art, set to music, that you can be fully immersed in and deeply experience.
While dream like worlds such as those created by “Myth” are possible, in another way the multi dimensional web will simply more closely mimic our day to day real environment. Most of the time, we find ourselves in a large structure like a store or theater, but ultimately we have control over all aspects of our experience. Things like where to look, what text to read, which direction to follow and what to pick up are all left to us.
The future internet will be built on a paradigm of exploration and discovery. Consumers will demand websites that allow them to drive the journey through immersive experiences that can be loosely directed but offer high levels of latitude while delivering heightened sensory experiences. The flat windows we stare at today will begin to melt away and give ground to portals we can swim through and digital content we can practically bathe in. Web sites will be truly unleashed to be blissful, emotive, and engaging at the same time. By engaging our senses at higher levels, we will cede more ground to creators who will shape how we genuinely feel about their products. Never have we given so much control to content developers and creators, but that will come with exceptionally high expectations. Where in the past we wanted websites that were informative, in the future they will be expected to be nothing short of magical.
The idea that we can deliver a web experience that can be explored in three dimensions is revolutionary. The year 2016 is the year we all start to see a web we can dive in and swim in. The question is, once we dive under, do we ever want to come back up?