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From 2D to 3D design process

A close look at the skills, methods and competencies identified by Reply to effectively address the transition from 2D to 3D design.

Expanding the 2D design process

The shift towards Spatial Computing comes with great possibilities, but, for designers, also with a big challenge. Spatial Computing experience design is shifting from classic 2D design towards 3D design: designers, therefore, need to learn new methods and skills, as well as get used to new tools and workflows.


Six key elements to consider for 3D design

Reply identified six main methods, skills or areas of knowledge that designers would need in order to successfully expand the design process from 2D to 3D.


Imagineering means blending creative imagination with technical know-how: this can help to design fluid and consistent overall experiences by telling a plausible story, which includes interaction of the user as well as different modality levels, such as sound or motion, to enhance immersion.


Only if designers are able to communicate the story via a storyboard in different fidelity levels needed at different stages or occasions, will they be able to communicate the story and achieve a consistent imagination of the scene, which can then be prototyped and tested.

Prototyping in 3D

In order to break the 2D mindset designers have built up over the years, it will become crucial for them to design spatial experiences directly within 3D, in order to design experiences directly within the desired context.


Only when a designer is able to create a storyline that is getting the user’s attention, will they be able to effectively guide the user through an experience, get them engaged, and enable them to effectively navigate through the experience.


Bodystorming is a design thinking technique modelled on the idea of the well-known brainstorming, allowing designers to physically experience a situation to drive ideation. It can help to play through ideas easily and quickly, without the need to create a technical prototype.


It is important that designers not only gain further knowledge when it comes to accessibility, but also gain knowledge of new technologies that enable, for example, haptic feedback, hand tracking, eye tracking or voice control, in order to solve problems with accessibility which could also be tested with users.

Interested in discovering how to integrate the best practices outlined by Reply in the design process?