I've been working building web pages since 1991. The web has always been similar to print in that we have "pages" and these pages reside in a website. Links move us from one "page to another "page" and so on.
But this is all about to change and I believe virtual reality may fragment the web in such a way that it may become unusable for a vast majority of people.
I remember being asked why a print designer would want to know HTML. You should have been there when I tried to convince an engineering student that we would someday go faster than 28.8 Modem speed in 1993. That student thought it was physically impossible for data to ever travel that fast. I remember having a hallway argument with a senior engineer at a TV station where I worked in 1994. I stated that someday we will watch the news on our computers. I asked, what will TV stations do then? The engineer laughed and said, "Why would anyone want to watch TV on such a small screen?" Never mind that cell phone screens didn't exist yet. I tried to convince the TV station that they should negotiate their local content so that they owned it I said that in the future networks would want it and they would have to buy it from them and I was met with blank stares. In 1998, I was asked why a company needed a website at all when no one bought anything on the internet. Why didn't they? Not because we didn't want to but because Paypal didn't exist yet.
I hope this isn't another episode of denial or lack of vision like all of the others I've been subjected to in the past.
In 2013, I was experimenting with a VR web browser Janus VR which I loved. I loved it so much so that I was an early advocate. I promoted VR to my company by creating VR spaces inside of it. But, as more people became involved in creating spaces and the programming allowed more and more flexibility I noticed a disturbing thing. Each link in JanusVR is a portal that you walk through. Each space can be any size with any content. You can move from one space that is a small room to another that is a planet and with no easy ability to move backward or forward through your original links like a 2D browser. It was very easy to get lost. Then, people started creating avatars which were "cool" but in my mind only for gamers. For those that want to use the web for reading and learning, it seemed like I was trapped in a bad video game. Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing product and I believe copied by the likes of AltSpaceVR. Kudos to James McCrae, the creator.
Consider that we need structure for browsing the web. The Internet was designed in the beginning due to technology constraints which simply became a standard over time. But, what happens when WebVR escapes the walls of cardboard only viewing? What happens if Mozilla copies or buys JanusVR and incorporates WebGL into the browser itself?
I believe the web experience may become a mess without standards. I would force 2D sites as a basic standard with a VR overlay design if a VR headset is recognized. In other words, if I'm in VR I may either choose to see a 2D website in a VR environment or a 3D VR version if the website owners have one. If in VR I still have tabs or some kind of menu system similar to the 2D browser.
In the near future, it seems that for the first time web designers and developers will have to come together and decide how the transition from 2D to VR web should happen and not leave this to companies and individuals with personal agendas. And let's answer the question, Do we really want the web to look and function like an old 1990s style video game?