Escape from Flatland


In the novel Flatland, the life of a two-dimensional shape is disrupted when he encounters a creature from another dimension – a Sphere. The strange newcomer can drop in and out of reality at will. He sees flatland from an unprecedented vantage point. Adding a new dimension changes everything.

In much the same way, VR completely undermines the digital design philosophies that have been relentlessly flattened out over the past few decades. Early GUIs often relied heavily on skeuomorphic 3D elements, like buttons that appeared to compress when clicked. These faded away in favor of color state changes, reflecting a flat design aesthetic.

Excerpt from Leapmotion blog post: Beyond Flatland: User Interface Design for VR


This blog post pretty much hits the bullseye. It talks in the exact tone and has a very similar thought process as I did which caused me to undertake this particular project in this particular field. It talks about the need to bring in fresh paradigms but with similar thinking that led the shift from skeuomorphism to flat design that is all so prevalent now. Although it outright rejects the idea of skeuomorphic design being the answer in terms of VR interfaces (which I find hard to believe since it was with good reason that it lasted for such a long period of time on 2D screens), the author manages to bring up some good points like physical interaction would be necessary in the early stages as the immersion into a new world through VR is too great.


The blog post goes on to talk about the advancements of Leap Motion and their newly launched interaction engine 1.0. It also covers things such as curved spaces and interfaces as well as a very intuitive method for interaction in VR, your hands. Terming it as wearable interfaces, and also showing a glimpse of their experiments. orion_6

Even though these methods are still experiments and can be implemented in the near future, the hardware, in terms of HMDs, are just not yet at the consumer level. So these methods, even though more intuitive, cannot be used sold to the masses.

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1 comment

  • Very well written post. It will be supportive to everyone who utilizes it, including yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

By Arjun

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