Immersive Content and Usability is the first-ever book on immersive content and spatial content design, available now from A Book Apart.


Content in space: Introducing Immersive Content and Usability from A Book Apart

March 9, 2023

Want to skip this to know more about Immersive Content and Usability, A Book Apart’s first immersive book? You can go straight to what’s in the book or sign up for preorders.

Chances are you, or somebody you know, has a virtual reality headset, those finicky and goofy-looking contraptions that seem to have been a mere blip on the proverbial radar. Many in our industry have long waxed poetic about the potential for extended reality, and immersive technology writ large, to reinvent how we experience video games, social networking, and the world around us. But less commonly covered is the impact immersion and spatial computing will have on the omnichannel content we interact with day in, day out and the websites that have long served as portals into that information.

My new book, Immersive Content and Usability, might have a few answers to the quandary of what designers should do to engage with the emerging landscape that is immersive technology, especially given the dizzying array of jargon and gadgetry out there. Because the truth is that you don’t need to be an expert in three-dimensional graphics or physics engines to get your hands dirty with spatial computing as an experience, interface, or content designer. Preorders for my newest book, A Book Apart’s first on immersive tech, will begin in less than a week!

Why immersive content?

Since the first literature was engraved on clay tablets and inked on scraps of papyrus, content has always had boundaries. Whether on televisions and computer screens, or tabloid and broadsheet pages, written content that conveys information has always found itself in a physical box: with strict borders and impassable limits. In the digital age, this box has continued to be a fundamental limit to how we interact with our content, whether that means scrolling on smartphones, flipping through pages, or typing on keyboards.

These days, we scarcely notice these strange barriers we treat as gospel and that separate the content we consume from the real world around us. Even though these little boxes we neatly fit our information into are portals divorced from the physical environments in which we live our lives, out of necessity, we’ve needed to use these boxes to define how, where, and why content begins and ends, with measures like margin and padding and positioning on the left or on the right. But this reality has led to a seemingly irreconcilable gap between how we experience our analog existences and our digital existences.

For decades, it seems we’ve had to consume content on user interfaces purely on their terms, because analog signage and written labels have been the only ways to extend them into naturally occurring, real-world spaces. But what happens when we can escape that bleak box? What happens when we can merge the digital world with the physical world? What happens when content is no longer something we interact with on glowing rectangles but rather an integral component of the world around us? What happens when the artificial spaces we define in our devices become one with the organic spaces we live our lives in?

At its core, immersive content is about breaking out of the boxes we’ve built for content, after having corralled it into four corners, and thinking about that content in ways that extend those corners to the edges of the known (and unknown) universe. Sure, futurists talk breathlessly about immersive content as information that demands fancy gadgets and newfangled technologies. But much more exciting and nuanced is the notion of taking content where it’s never been before—places it’s never been before. Because immersive content is true content in space.

What’s in the book?

Here’s what the book covers:

  • In Chapter 1, we’ll define what immersive content is (a vast continuum of content that operates in and interacts with physical space) and what distinguishes embedded from environmental content.

  • In Chapter 2, we’ll inspect what the technology underlying immersive content looks like.

  • In Chapter 3, we’ll walk through why and how to design immersive content, whether you’re planning to write new content or work with existing content, what makes immersive content legible and discoverable, and how to audit it for foibles like phantom references and issues like cross-channel interactions.

  • In Chapter 4, we articulate storyboards, flow diagrams, and spatial maps that serve as the foundational design artifacts of immersive content design.

  • In Chapter 5, we evaluate our immersive content for usability and accessibility and discuss what we should do both to deploy our immersive content and analyze it after launch.

  • In Chapter 6, we delve into what the future of immersive content holds in store, why the metaverse as it stands now is full of more risks than rewards, and how to ensure immersive content for all through accessible, inclusive, and equitable experiences.

As immersive content continues to take hold in our physical surroundings, whether through vibrant digital signs and location-based pings or through semitransparent overlays that augment our reality and dreamlike visions that are entirely virtual, my new book will equip you with the basic tools and techniques you need to take your content beyond the web and into the world around us once and for all.


I’m excited to share this book with the world, not just because it fills a gap in the market for immersive design, but also because it represents the culmination of several years of hard work (and radio silence here on this blog) to produce the first definitive book on immersion as a design practice transcending the technologies that service it. Immersive design, after all, should be about far more than just augmented and virtual reality or digital signage or location-based content delivery. It should be about convincingly conveying an experience to the user that jettisons the comparatively rapid rise and fall of gadgets today in favor of a persuasive cohesive world with a true sense of place.

This April, you’ll be able to take your content everywhere, not just on every device and every touchpoint, but also to its final frontier: the physical spaces that surround us. To be the first to find out when preorders begin, subscribe to my newsletter, and don’t forget to check out more about what Immersive Content and Usability will have in store here on my website and on my publisher A Book Apart’s website too.

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