2D versus 3D

I am currently creating user interfaces in both 2D (screens with mouse and keyboard) and 3D (VR headsets with gloves that track hand and finger motions). This is giving me an opportunity to compare and contrast.

Clearly the 3D space is far larger and richer. In essential ways it mimics the richness and freedom that we experience in reality as we move our bodies through physical space.

But the 2D paradigm has its own advantages. There is something to be said for “less is more”.

For certain applications, 2D seems ideal. Spreadsheets come to mind. There might be a better way to do spreadsheets in a full 3D room simulation, but I don’t think we would know for sure until a good designer comes along and shows us an example.

Even when we are fully immersed in a realistic 3D simulation, I wonder whether we will go full 3D.

After we are all in The Matrix, we might be surprised at the retro interfaces we end up with in there. Maybe we will still be using screens with computer mouse and keyboard.