Volumes and windows

I’ve been listening to a number of podcasts from iOS developers, and trying to gauge how others are thinking about visionOS and what developing for it might entail.

There are three basic ways we can think of designing apps for this new space. We have volumes, windows, and spaces.

As I’ve heard people describe each, and watched the demo videos, I’ve been imagining ways we could design experiences for each of these spaces.

At the moment I’m planning to ignore spaces. I don’t think any of my app ideas are grand enough to need a full immersive experience.

That leaves windows and volumes.

Windows are self-explanatory, very similar to what we’ve been designing or decades. We have a rectangle, of some size, that takes up space. Your app then lives within that. Ornaments are the navigational elements that we can place just adjacent to that window, and other than that everything lives inside the window.

That’s likely where I’ll end up going, and is probably the simplest way to think about designing for this space.

The one that intrigues me, though, is volumes. Could I create a volume—seems like I can do up to 10x10x10ft—that would show a 3D visual representation of my app idea. I’m imagining something like a physical radio, notepad on a desk, or in the case of the app I’m designing, a cake that lights up when someone’s birthday is near.

There’s a lot more thinking I need to do, and experimenting with this idea. I’m guessing early app ideas we create will be all over the place, and by default I imagine the window experience will be the way forward; but I’ll keep an eye out on volume and see if there’s potential for some of the ideas I’m wanting to create.