Wednesday, October 16, 2013

VR Usability - Where to Look for Guidance

Brad's post on on cut scenes and borrowing from cinematography for VR got me thinking about VR usability.   When designing a VR experience, many of the standard usability checklist questions still apply:
  • Are users able to access the information they need?
  • Are users able to make progress?
  • Do the navigation mechanics feel natural?
  • Does accessing information or making progress take the user out of the experience? That is, are users able to concentrate on their goal and not on how to use the software?
  • Does the experience create an appropriate emotional response? 
Along with the more standard questions, for VR, you also need to add the literal question:
  • Does the experience make the user want to vomit?
The techniques and conventions used to achieve the desired usability result is uncharted territory. So, without a map or other guidelines, how do you start to address these issues? One way to start is by borrowing from other mediums. Film and cinematography is one source. However, as Brad explained in another post, mapping film conventions 1:1 to VR does not work as some conventions, such as cut scenes and zoom, are simply too disorienting in an immersive environment. So while borrowing conventions is a good start, what we really need to do to build a map is experiment, iterate, and share what we know.

With that in mind, here is a roundup of some current resources:

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