Alex Chu is an Interaction Designer at Samsung Research America, and he talks about the process and insights that came from designing Milk VR 360-degree video player for the Samsung Gear VR that’s powered by Oculus.
He talks about the importance of space when designing for virtual reality experiences, which he sees as a blend between real space and digital space. The Gear VR prototype team had been designing for mobile apps, and it took them some time to realize the importance of adding an environment and putting in architectural space around the content to help define the surrounding environment. For example, here’s a comparison that shows the difference between a gallery in 2D space vs designing a gallery for a 3D space and in VR:
At the Samsung Developer Conference, Alex gave a talk titled:
VR Design: Transitioning from a 2D to a 3D Design Paradigm. He gave an abbreviated version of this talk at the Immersive Technology Alliance meeting at GDC, but you can see the full presentation slides here.
Alex showed a number of different ergonomic graphics showing about how users engage with content and giving metrics for comfortable ranges for the user. They also researched Field of View in order to help determine how to size their elements, as well as using peripheral vision to help guide their eyes. Finally, they also looked at depth cues and the range of visual disparity at different distances to see how the strength of stereoscopic cues varies depending on the depth. Here’s a number of slides with more info:
He also talks about the user interaction options for a Gear VR, and why they decided that having a physical tap interaction paradigm was more reactive than just a gaze and wait type of interaction.
Some of the advice that Alex gives about user testing is to make your test meaningful by focusing on something very specific, and to eliminate all of the other variables that you’re not trying to test.
One of the biggest open problems with designing for VR is that there’s a huge range of how people react to VR experiences, and it’ll take some time for everyone to learn more about these differences and share data about how to best design for everyone.
Finally, Alex sees that the sky is the limit for designing for VR right now, and that he’s really looking forward to seeing how using architectural representations in VR will change the process of designing physical spaces.
Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio
You can watch Alex’s full presentation from the Samsung Developer conference here: