We would like to share some of our user experience feedback:
- Initial response to VR imagery and wearing a headset is mostly enthusiastic - particularly from pupils experiencing images of their new, yet to be built school.
- Wearing a headset simultaneously immerses the viewer in the virtual world and detaches them from the real world. This can be a problem during meetings if the headset wearer is seeing things others are not.
- VR videos which incorporate sound increases the headset wearers' detachment from their surroundings and team members. Viewers are reluctant to wear headphones and a headset.
- VR imagery has a limited attention span, particularly in meetings. This is possibly due to the sense of human detachment, embarrassment of wearing a headset, the need to take off the headset to communicate thoughts to team members and the discomfort of placing a bright digital screen a few centimetres from your eyes.
- VR imagery is effective in portraying the sense of scale. When the virtual camera is set to average eye height above the floor, smaller than average viewers feel too high and taller viewers feel too low. This can disturb viewers.
- VR headset use is widespread but not mainstream – few of our clients have their own compatible headset.
EYELEVEL VR methodology following user feedback:
- Keep it simple, streamlined, creative, comfortable and effective. There needs to be a reason to use VR imagery instead of still images, video, walk through, real time environments or QTVR.
- Carefully composed fixed location VR imagery which focuses attention is proving successful rather than free roaming environments which can divert attention during meetings and presentations. When there is a limited time period to portray design ideas there is no need to waste time roaming aimlessly around the 3D environment.
- Give the headset wearer time to adapt to what they are seeing. Give them time to concentrate, observe and experience the project before they relate to team members and take a break before moving onto the next scene.
- Produce short bursts of effective content to minimise the time users need to wear the headset so they can take off the headset to discuss design ideas. Provide a meaningful and useful experience so they want to put the headset on again.
- Use VR technology which allows other design team members in the meeting to ‘share’ the headset view on a large screen which encourages inclusion and discussion.
- EYELEVEL VR imagery is produced with the same high quality artistic thought and rigour as our 'traditional' still images.
It would be great to hear your thoughts and feedback about VR technology in design visualisation and how you react to viewing content VR headsets.