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immersive web

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

The immersive web is a version of the online world that incorporates advanced technologies to enhance user engagement and blur the line between the user's physical reality and the digital environment.

Immersive technologies integrate virtual content with the physical environment in a way that allows the user to engage naturally with the blended reality. The user accepts virtual elements into their environment as part of the whole, potentially becoming less conscious that those elements are not part of physical reality and becoming more immersed in the experience as a result. Immersive technologies include virtual reality (VR), which replaces the user's physical environment with digital content; augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital content over the user environment; and mixed reality (MR) which combines digital content with the physical environment in a way that enables interaction among and with both types of elements.

Gaming is to be the first widely-used application of the immersive web, but as immersive technologies become more sophisticated, web-based VR, AR, MR and other immersive technologies are likely to become more common in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail, architecture, design, travel and real estate.

Immersive web-based shopping, for example, could allow you to try out different furniture in your home, try on clothes or apply cosmetics. An immersive real estate application could allow the user to walk through a home for sale. Immersive telepresence could enable convincing virtual collaboration. In architecture, immersive experiences include first-person view walk-throughs of 3D-rendered CAD (computer-aided design) building plans.

Immersive technologies are increasingly emphasized in user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design.

This was last updated in April 2018

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