In this article we will try to talk (or rather do an “introduction”) about everything that has to do with Virtual Reality and 3D applied to your WordPress website.
It is true that this topic is very recent (in WordPress) and that there is very little information about it.
The good news is that, although it sounds very complicated or super modern, it’s not. It is very easy to add Virtual Reality to your website, if it’s WordPress, or any other type of content manager or simply using HTML.
It is possible from relatively recently in WordPress commercial version to add photos in 360º by adding shortcode. Later we will see what they are and how to add them.
[vr url=path-to-photo.jpg view=360]
Another myth about Virtual Reality that needs to be clarified here is that it is not as expensive as it is believed.
Yes it is true that a few years ago, it was something very new and with quite expensive devices. In the last three years there was quite a few devices that allow us to enjoy VR content at a very low price. We will mention them in the end of article.
Table of content:
- VR, AR, 3D
- Should you use Virtual Reality (VR) on your website?
- Virtual Reality and WordPress (all you have to know for now)
- Examples of “Gadgets” to enjoy Virtual Reality (independently of WordPress)
VR, AR, 3D
First of all, we want to explain the difference between the closest concepts in the semantic field of Virtual Reality.
Although we are going to focus more on the first one, you should know how to differentiate them so that your range of knowledge of this topic is much broader and you can better choose the technology which you can apply for the marketing strategy of your online project.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is what interests you most in relation to your website. VR is main technology that we are going to explain in this article.
And yes, it is just the image that comes to mind right now: someone with some of those “Google” glasses on, and waving his arms wildly and making noises of surprise, with his mouth open.
VR is a topic that everyone is talking about these days. Although in our opinion, it still has a long way to go. Especially in order to apply an advanced VR experience in a web project. The main reason for thinking this is that there is a great barrier when it comes to enjoying this technology. You have to have a virtual reality device, both to create content and to visualize it.
There are VR devices for less than what it costs us a dinner in a restaurant. But the fact of having to “use” something external, other than our mobile or computer, with cables (to enjoy an optimal experience), makes VR look, for now, destined for a very specific niche: gamers, early adopters, and other niches thirsty for new technologies.
Of course, there is another type of VR, more “simple”. Type which does not require the use of glasses, or other hardware. And in this article we will show you how you can integrate it into your website.
When we say “simple”, we mean something like what you can see here: a trip to the mountains of Russia.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Sister of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, add a virtual touch to a physical and real environment. It is older than VR, and is still being used (and improved). In fact, surely you know a clear example of use. For example, IKEA catalog, in which you can see how the furniture will look in your home, in real time.
We like AR more than VR, since “immersion” is not so deep and you can still be “connected” to the real world. VR, on the other hand, absent you from the real world.
Three Dimensions (3D)
And finally we talk about something that is already completely integrated. It’s 3D (the three dimensions). We don’t need to extend this too much at this point, since you know it well:
- 3D cinema
- 3D printers
- 3D video games
- WooCommerce products in 3D
- 3D sliders and web effects
Let’s move on to the “crumb” of the article. Is VR the solution to your problems on your website?
Should you use Virtual Reality (VR) on your website?
Before explaining how to integrate VR into WordPress, we want you to take few minutes and answer the following questions :
- Utility : A virtual reality experience, would it favor your business in any way?
- Costs : Will it be very expensive to create or produce that VR experience, or will it not cost too much?
- Time : How much time will you spend producing and maintaining that VR experience for your website?
Keep your answers in mind for now, and read the benefits that VR brings to a web project, so that you evaluate both sides of the balance:
Benefits of using Virtual Reality in WordPress
- It highlights you from the competition, depending on which market you move into.
- The virtual reality used in WordPress does not require too many configurations by the user (in its simplest part, which is what interests us in this article).
- The products that you sell and that you show through virtual or 3D reality, will offer the user an amazing experience, and you will have more possibility of sales.
- Potential customers can literally “try on” your products before buying them (see the example of selling Rayban sunglasses on iPhone).
- VR content is very striking for certain niches, if that is your target audience (millennials, geeks, early adopters, gamer’s, and other such buzz words).
- VR content improves SEO and decreases the bounce rate percentage.
- It makes your website look more professional and give more trust in your customers (obviously, if the VR experience is well done).
Virtual Reality and WordPress (all you have to know for now)
Surely after so much explanation of VR and all its features, you will be impatient to know how to implement it on your website!
And do not worry, because it is very easy (to implement it). The complicated or difficult thing is to create that content.
You have to keep in mind that there are two necessary elements to include VR in your WordPress website:
- VR content or experience
- The VR library to be able to “see” that content on your website
Let’s do one simple and widely used example, to better understand the process. We will create a landing page with a virtual visit to our apartment, so we can rent it.
To create a basic VR experience, such as “virtual visits”, we can use a mobile app or a camera that takes photos or videos in 360 degrees.
We imagine that the most direct and cheap option to “try” is the mobile application. Try using any app to take 360º or spherical photos (we prefer not to give any names here).
Then, using the plugins that we tell you a little later, you can show that content directly to the visitor. Or by using the shortcode mentioned at the beginning if you are using WordPress in its commercial version.
The good news is that both Google Chrome and Firefox already have Virtual Reality libraries built into their Internet browsers so no extra installation will be required by the user. They will directly enjoy their virtual mini-experience on your website.
How does one technology connect with the other?
As we have already told you in the previous point, the best (and easiest) way to integrate Virtual Reality with WordPress is through the use of plugins.
Most common uses in WordPress
Before mentioning the plugins that we recommend you to try, we will describe most common uses of Virtual Reality in WordPress. You can analyze if your objective corresponds to any of these examples:
- Show virtual tours on websites for sale or rental of houses and apartments. (Example of something very advanced).
- Show virtual tours through museums. (Example)
- “Try on” clothing or accessories online. (This requires more advanced technology, which cannot be explained in this article).
- Show cars inside. (YouTube example)
For our example, just take a picture of your home with the application you have chosen, and have it on hand to upload it to your website (just as you would any other image).
The difference is that this image has a special format. By uploading it using the plugins mentioned below, you can achieve a VR effect.
Plugins to consider
Here we bring you two most popular plugins that can help you to add VR in your WordPress website.
It has free and PRO version. With the paid version you can add items that your visitors can interact with (called HotSpots). The plugin is very intuitive. When you create your first “composition” of VR, it generates a shortcode , which you can paste wherever you want on your website, to be able to show the VR experience.
This is another powerful plugin in terms of basic VR experiences. On the author’s website, you can see some examples. The plugin works through shortcodes, just as the previous one.
Examples of “Gadgets” to enjoy Virtual Reality (independently of WordPress)
Next, and although it doesn’t have much to do with WordPress, we want to mention examples of gadgets that will allow you to create VR content in an easy way, as well as visualize it.
To take 360 photos :
- GoPro Fusion
- Instax360 One X
- Samsung Gear 360
To view VR content (from cheapest to most expensive):
- Google Cardboard Kit
- Oculus Go
- Google Daydream
- HTC Live PRO
If you are interested in any of these gadgets, do a little Google search and you will know where to buy them. They are not objective of this article so we will not put any link to their respective purchase website.
If you meet any of the common uses of VR in WordPress, this technology may come in handy to take your website to another level (for example if you sell or rent real estate).
In our opinion, the VR is a bit “green” yet, although it is advancing by giant steps.
Our recommendation is that you play a little with what we mention in this article, and if you like it, you can get a good gadget (creation and visualization) and become the number one fan of the VR.
We hope this article has served you, and see you in the next one!
We send you a virtual hug 😀