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Uniting worlds: How designers and developers are shaping the future of VR and AR

Learn how VR and AR are transforming numerous sectors

VR and AR transform industries by offering immersive experiences and improving processes, showcasing their impact on efficiency and innovation, thanks to the technology's capabilities and collaboration between designers and developers.

When looking at VR and AR, it's easy to think these technologies are all about gaming and entertainment. But there's so much more beneath the surface. VR and AR are taking huge strides in numerous fields.

VR and AR are pushing numerous sectors forward. They’re revamping medical and patient care in healthcare. They’re revolutionising manufacturing processes to drive the fourth industrial revolution. And their impact can be seen in pretty much any field you can think of.

This blog post explores the teamwork between designers and developers in VR and AR and delves into how this is sparking innovation in many industries. It also looks at the tools and headsets that professionals are using now and might use in the future.

An AI-generated image of numerous deisgners and developers working on AR and VR projects

Design perspective

Some designers are stepping out of their traditional roles and embracing Unity to create immersive VR and AR experiences. They’re doing so in sectors like education and simulation, and many of these designers are coming from the gaming industry.

There is also a relevant group of designers that use the synergy between tools like Figma and Bezi to collaborate with developers. This collaboration enables swift prototyping and helps bring ideas to life.

Development perspective

On the development side, the goal is to ensure designs function flawlessly across different environments. This often bridges the gap between digital and physical spaces in what's known as "Phygital" (physical plus digital) products. It requires mastery of programming languages like C# in Unity and C++ in Unreal Engine.

Crucially, developers also need to collaborate with designers and consider the physical spaces where these applications will be used, integrating digital elements with real-world environments. A significant part of this process involves working in close tandem with designers. This is particularly true in complex fields, where the knowledge of how things should be done comes also from external stakeholders and professionals of the industry of reference.

As an example, let’s take a project developing a VR training module for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Here, developers and designers might collaborate closely with experienced EMTs and medical professionals.

Designers will focus on creating visually accurate and immersive environments. Developers will use programming languages to bring these designs to life in a functional simulation. The input from medical experts ensures that both the design and functionality of the simulation accurately replicate real-world emergency scenarios.

This interdisciplinary collaboration ensures that the VR module is not only technologically advanced and visually compelling, but also practically useful for training EMTs — it reflects the real challenges and procedures they will encounter in the field.

Case studies

The gaming industry is the most visible domain where VR and AR have had a significant impact. However, there are several other sectors where these technologies are making groundbreaking contributions.


A key player in the health sector is Osso VR. The company offers a platform for surgical training, enabling doctors to practice complex procedures without risk. Osso VR claims this hands-on approach dramatically enhances traditional medical education methods, making training more interactive and effective. Other important players are MindMotion Pro for rehabilitation and XRHealth for virtual clinics.


A notable collaboration from 2021 is the partnership between NVIDIA and BMW. They used NVIDIA's Omniverse platform to create a virtual factory, revolutionising manufacturing processes. This collaboration enabled BMW's designers and engineers to simulate and optimise factory layouts in a virtual environment before implementing them physically. This use of advanced VR technology allowed for more efficient design processes, reduced the need for physical prototypes and fostered a more collaborative and flexible approach to manufacturing and design.


VR is being used to craft deeply immersive narrative experiences for companies in the entertainment sector. A notable example is Alejandro González Iñárritu's VR film 'Carne y Arena'. González Iñárritu's film required a unique collaboration between storytellers, VR developers, and designers. The project blends cinematic storytelling with interactive VR technology, offering viewers an immersive experience of the journey of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Workflow integration in VR and AR projects

Given the still-emerging nature of VR and AR, there isn't a one-size-fits-all workflow, as practices can vary widely depending on the specific project and team dynamics. However, a generalised workflow for integrating the efforts of designers and developers could look like this:

  1. Storyboarding: This initial phase involves outlining the experience or service in a low-fidelity (lo-fi) format. It sets the stage for the overall vision, user journey, and interaction flow in the VR/AR environment.

  2. Flat mocks creation: Using tools like Figma, designers create high-fidelity (hi-fi) user interface (UI) mocks. This step transforms the initial storyboards into more detailed and visually representative designs.

  3. VR prototyping: With tools like Bezi, the hi-fi designs are translated into VR prototypes. This stage allows for the testing and refining of user interactions and experiences in a virtual setting.

  4. Handoff for development: The final designs and prototypes are handed off to the development team, typically working in Unity. This phase involves the technical realisation of the designs, ensuring functionality, performance, and user experience align with the initial vision.

Throughout these stages, effective communication and collaboration are paramount. Tools like Slack, Miro and GitHub help maintain team alignment on project goals and progress. Regular meetings and agile development methodologies are employed to ensure that both design and technical perspectives are integrated and considered at each project stage.

This workflow highlights the importance of a cohesive and adaptable process, accommodating the unique challenges and opportunities that VR and AR projects present.

Future trends in VR and AR

The future of VR and AR, particularly in collaborative environments, is rapidly evolving with several exciting trends on the horizon. Key developments include:

Apple and VR

Apple's recent venture into VR devices, which are expected to harness the company's ecosystem and user-friendly design philosophy, could significantly influence collaborative work in creative industries.

Transparent microLED screens

The transparent microLED screens showcased at CES 2024 by Samsung represent a leap in display technology. These screens could revolutionise AR by allowing for more immersive and interactive experiences, seamlessly blending virtual and physical environments.

Sony's mixed reality headset

Sony's new mixed reality headset, designed for 'spatial content creation', is set to enhance collaborative design and development. It offers creators and developers innovative tools for crafting and interacting with 3D content in a shared virtual space.

Software and service trends

Alongside the aforementioned hardware advancements, software and service trends are poised to expand the scope and efficiency of collaborative projects. There’s AI integration for more personalised experiences. We’re also seeing advancements in mixed reality that blend the physical and digital worlds more seamlessly. And we have the rise of cloud-based VR/AR services.

In short, the future of VR and AR is shaping up to be a fascinating blend of accessibility and integration in design, development, and creative collaboration across various industries.


The collaboration between designers and developers in the realms of VR and AR is revolutionising the tech world. It’s not just a fleeting trend; it’s a significant shift that’s transforming how teams, especially developers and designers, work together. They’re diving into the exciting world of multi-metaverses, breaking out of traditional molds and embracing new, dynamic ways of collaboration.

This synergy is especially pivotal in making VR and AR tools more inclusive and accessible. Designers envision experiences that allow people with mobility issues to explore new environments through VR, while developers are turning these visions into reality. This collaboration is also driving the creation of new accessibility guidelines, ensuring that these groundbreaking technologies benefit everyone.

Moreover, the new metaverses are changing our interaction with digital content, redefining social media, online gaming, and e-commerce. These fields are becoming more immersive and engaging, thanks to the harmonious blend of design creativity and technical expertise.

As VR and AR technologies mature, we will have more intuitive and user-friendly interfaces thanks to a joint effort from both the design and tech worlds. Additionally, the integration of AI and machine learning is allowing these technologies to offer personalised experiences, a direct result of this collaborative innovation.

To sum up, the partnership between designers and developers in VR and AR is not just improving our ways of working and interacting; it's a dynamic force opening up exciting new possibilities. As we push the boundaries of these technologies, we’re moving towards a future where virtual and physical worlds merge seamlessly. This collaboration is at the heart of creating opportunities for creativity, exploration, and connection, marking a significant step towards a future where technology enhances every aspect of our lives in meaningful ways.

Let's dive in and craft the next generation of immersive experiences!

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