There are some interesting thoughts brewing about a topic called Web 3D, a future vision of the web which resembles Second Life, rather than the 2D browsers we see today.
There are lots of reasons why Web 3D could come to fruition, but I want to pose three roadblocks that might prevent that:
- 3D environments are not efficient at representing lots of info. Spend some time immersing yourself in the 3-D environment of a First Person shooter video game like Doom 3 or Halo, and you’ll see why. 3-D worlds are great at making you feel like you are in a real environment, where there’s graphic and physical rules, and danger around the corner — but it doesn’t allow for what people do on th Web, search and gather large amounts of information, and multi-task.
- The Web isn’t an open platform (yet). What one technology will drive the 3d environment? HTML is a very simple technology, and yet look how hard it is for today’s sites just to work well on all the different Web browsers available. Not to mention, large companies want to keep their content and experiences under ball and chair still.
- Big business will be sluggish to catch up. Flash is a Web standard for displaying rich graphics on the Web, and yet how many big brands and major sites use it today? Big business is just slow, very slow, at integrating new experiences. If a 3D Web does become available, it will stay on the fringe of site experiences for a while.
The 3D Web that exists in Johnny Mnemonic, where he navigates virtual reality with motion-sensing gloves, is an awesome idea for the future of HCI, but it’s a huge shift in the way we interact with computers. But sometimes big changes happen in rapid bursts…
(a 3D web as envisioned in Johnny Mnemonic)