What Is the Metaverse? Accessibility, Marketing, and Everything In-between

A VR goggle

It’s the hottest trend right now. Everyone is plotting their entry into the Metaverse. Entire businesses are rebranding to better align with this trend, and consumers are excited. What actually is the Metaverse and why is it such a hot topic?

What is the Metaverse?

The Metaverse is a continuous 3D simulation of virtual environments. It’s a combination of AR/VR shared experiences powered by public and private sectors alike.

The Metaverse is a rapidly growing new world that is gaining traction. The tech giant Facebook recently changed its name to Meta in a crafty brand repositioning move. Other brands like Shutterstock (with Turbosquid by Shutterstock) and NVIDIA (with the NVIDIA Omniverse) have launched Metaverse projects.

With all this buzz, it’s important to ask this question, is accessibility being considered?

Accessibility and Marketing in the Metaverse

Recent metaverse products such as games and social applications have not included accessibility or these features within their products.

A game-based approach to audience building is ideal in a world that is already immersive. In addition to encouraging users to take various actions on a website, it provides an opportunity to increase brand awareness and user engagement.

When such processes aren’t optimized for users with accessibility needs, it defeats the purpose of the Metaverse being the next step in the evolution of the internet

The Metaverse basically builds on the gamification model by using animated game-based interfaces and UI elements to engage and interact with users. For marketers, this is a potential goldmine, if used wisely. Your target audience will already be hooked on whatever it is they’re experiencing, so it’d be pretty nifty to introduce them to your brand by partaking in trending games, competitions, and other group activities online.

Incorporating accessibility profiles and software that stops flashing lights, popups, etc., as well as optimizing color contrast, should be a key consideration.

The main issue lies with videos within the metaverse that are not retrofitted for accessibility purposes. This indicates a lack of captions, audio description, and the language being used within the videos simply refer to what is being shown on the screen rather than describing them. This creates a significant issue for vision impaired or blind users.

Though at the inception of the internet these accessibility features were not available or widely implemented, the positive news for disabled users is that all of the relevant and necessary features exist today and it is simply a matter of implementation for metaverse developers.

Ultimately, many developers may be incentivized to include robust accessibility in the metaverse because it would create a more welcoming environment for anyone and everyone to interact and play in it.

What Can Be Done?

Web developers can lead the pack. As you build products, incorporate accessibility best practices. Additionally, developers can set up workshops, conferences, etc, to promote the inclusive practice of web accessibility.

Secondly, videos will be a huge part of the Metaversal experience. Closed captions, transcripts should always be provided for content streamed or hosted in the Metaverse.

Final Thoughts

The metaverse has been a very hot topic in the tech news recently. This technology may very well be the successor to the internet. Having that responsibility carries with it a great deal of responsibility. For the most part, all of the required features and technology already exist. Therefore, developers must continuously innovate while prioritizing accessibility within the metaverse.

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