The “metaverse” from the perspective of inclusion in the anxious new world
Anxiety has become a commonplace concept in the daily functioning of the world. Moreover, in the current uncertainty environment, it doesn’t seem like it will leave us much. What opportunities can technology offer us to build inclusive communities these days, where it is increasingly difficult to hear and listen to each other?
In many consumer surveys conducted in World, we see a common result for 2022: Consumers’ expectations from today and the future are negative and their emotional world is dark. While the consumer is struggling with economic and social problems, the sustainability of his daily life is also in danger. There has been a lot of talk about sustainability, but we still have a long way to go before the collective consciousness can transform, and we need to discover new ways how we can transform into more sustainable communities.
On the other hand, the media leaves the communication opportunities arising from the possibilities brought to the table by the developing technology to the limits of our imagination. A consumer survey conducted by eMarketer in January reveals that 61 percent of the society does not believe that the metaverse will improve life, and that the same proportion of people do not fully understand the metaverse. In other words, although we have moved our meetings to the metaverse and used gamification technologies to strengthen our communication with our target audience, these have not yet found a tangible benefit to the consumer.
Visibility of disadvantaged individuals
Life with social and economic inequality presents new challenges for everyone. The visibility of disadvantaged individuals in daily life is getting harder day by day. The greater the gap between welfare levels, the greater the need for solidarity becomes inevitable. In order to create inclusiveness and accessible communities, which is an important area of sustainability, we need to think about the new communication possibilities provided by technology.
Disadvantaged individuals; It faces numerous challenges, from transportation to opportunities to participate in various activities. We can say that a future where brands can create more inclusive communities in the metaverse is now possible. Although we have only just begun to see the actions of big brands on this issue, the metaverse may become the key to creating more inclusive and accessible communities in the coming period. Although we are still in the infancy of using these technologies, we expect these technologies, which bring virtual and real experiences closer together through virtual reality and artificial intelligence, to become widespread in the near future. In the future, the expectation to embrace the values of diversity, equality and inclusion as an important part of the user experience will become even more visible.
Building a more inclusive metaverse
Meta has started to form long-term partnerships with companies with which it shares its vision of creating a more inclusive and accessible metaverse. Representing women and disadvantaged communities in the world of technology, Women in Immersive Tech Europe, which aims to produce more inclusive content among creators, collaborates with the United Spinal Association, which works to ensure greater representation of disabled people on metaverse platforms, and many other institutions.
According to Mintel’s Into the Metaverse 2022 research, 60 percent of digital consumers think that the metaverse universe is not an inclusive environment. In the realm of representation and inclusion, there are also resource creation problems in the physical world, but what can we do to reverse this situation in the metaverse? A good example would be Metathon, the metaverse’s first marathon, organized by American deodorant brand Degree in partnership with Decentraland. Before the marathon, a detailed study was carried out to make the avatar library available to the participants more comprehensive. Participants were allowed to add bodily elements to their avatars, such as a wheelchair or prosthesis, which would actually make it impossible to participate in a physical marathon.
This serves both to raise awareness among participants and to leave in our minds the question “Is it possible to give disadvantaged individuals more visibility in virtual experiences?” It is possible to come across various examples in the campaigns created for Autism Awareness Day on Roblox and at many different points. And we have the insight and technology we need to build more.
In the Metaverse universe, it is possible to design a more inclusive experience, starting with diversifying the avatars that represent users. Developments in this area may enable different social groups to access the same experience at the same time, while enabling individuals to access experiences beyond physical barriers. We have a long way to go to improve the user experience in this area. While we are still at the beginning, we can think of ways to create experience designs for more inclusive communities. These ways can enable brands to strengthen their communication with the consumer and to deepen the communication in brand communications.