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Why Africa must take spatial computing seriously

Shivesh Boodhram has over ten years human-centred digital design experience and is a Metaverse expert specialising in UX/UI design. He shares his perspective on the first Tech Trends 2024, ‘Interfaces in new places: Spatial computing and the industrial metaverse’s impact on UX/UI design’ – with consideration on how Africa will be able to maximise the spatial computing opportunity to unlock new opportunities.  

The industrial metaverse, powered by spatial computing, presents another paradigm shift for UX/UI design in Africa. While traditional interfaces confine users to screens, spatial computing unlocks a new design frontier: the physical world itself. This presents exciting upskilling options, opportunities and challenges for UX/UI professionals.

African organisations adopting spatial computing must consider, 3D space and depth perception, accessibility and user comfort and localisation.

User interfaces transition from flat screens to 3D environments. UX/UI designers must consider depth perception, spatial context, and natural hand interactions when crafting intuitive experiences.

While new hardware such as Augmented Reality (AR) glasses need to be comfortable and accessible for users across Africa. User research and culturally relevant design principles will be crucial as people gravitate towards technology that feels bespoke and more tailored to the user’s needs. 

With localisation and cultural consideration, spatial interfaces have the potential to transcend language barriers. UX/UI designers can create localised experiences that incorporate cultural symbols and design aesthetics.

The benefits for Africa are significant:

  • Enhanced Training and Education: Imagine immersive learning experiences in agriculture or healthcare using AR/VR. These can improve training effectiveness and accessibility across vast geographical distances.

  • Remote Collaboration and Innovation: Spatial interfaces can bridge geographical divides. Designers and engineers can collaborate with international partners in real-time, fostering innovation and knowledge sharing.

  • Boosting Productivity and Efficiency: Spatial computing can optimize industrial processes and resource management. UX/UI designers can create intuitive interfaces for digital twins and AR applications, leading to efficiency gains.

Challenges however remain, with limited resources and infrastructure widespread adoption hinges on affordable hardware and reliable internet access. Creative solutions and public-private partnerships can address these hurdles. As the physical and digital worlds merge, robust data governance frameworks are essential to protect user privacy.

By addressing these challenges, Africa can emerge as a leader in spatial computing UX/UI design. 

The continent's talent pool of creative designers and its focus on leapfrogging traditional development stages position it well for this transformative era.

As the industrial metaverse transforms to enterprise tool, spatial technologies are taking hold in industrial applications, using data and AI to replicate real-life processes. Read Global insights

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