Virtual reality (VR) merges physical and digital worlds and navigating that space can be tricky. Your fun can be others’ nuisance - no wonder the augmented reality app ‘Pokemon Go’ is all over the news for wrong reasons! Google wants to make sure that people don’t act like jerks when they use this immersive multimedia.
To address these concerns Google started Daydream Labs, a small team of developers and designers exploring how people interact with each other after they strap on their VR headset. Some crucial findings were posted by the team’s UX designer Robbie Tilton in their official blog.
The team reported that people happen to annoy or upset other users in virtual realm while fulfilling their own curiosity. For example, in virtual shopping people could pick up virtual accessories and try it out on others instead of their own virtual selves. This could irritate their co-shoppers forcing them to quit or restart afresh.
To counter this, let your design define social norms clearly. So when you are brainstorming UX ideas for your next VR app or game consider the following lessons:
Ensure user safety and comfort
We are not amused when our personal space is encroached even with good intentions and the same holds good in VR too. For example, people might wonder if they can stand inside another avatar’s body making them feel unsafe or uncomfortable. The group suggests that this issue can be solved by designing personal space around each user.
Reinforce positive behaviour
In an experiment, the team detected that when two different avatars high-fived, they experienced loud slapping sound and a fireworks animation whereas nothing at all for punching. It may sound trivial but people loved those incentives for positive behaviour and naturally shifted towards it.
Discourage negative behaviour
The group tried and tested innovative ways to prevent players from stealing and trolling in Virtual poker. If someone left their seat at the poker table, their environment desaturated to black and white and their avatar would disappear from the other player’s view. A glowing blue personal space bubble would guide the person back to their seat. wrote Tilton.
Want to discover safely social experiences in VR? Wait till autumn for Google’s mobile virtual reality platform – Daydream to arrive.