VR design focuses on creating simulated worlds which can be experienced wholly by those who interact with them. People can immerse themselves by using headsets and other devices on their person to become one with the simulated world. In the design world today, the assumption of familiarity has its own biases. Not two people have the same concepts or intents when they create something. Intuitive gestures are reliable in the sense where users are guided through properly. And this is where VR design is also handy, where the users move in a particular way, and make specific poses. These are enough to create affordances which encourage VR in design.
Reality is okay to live in for the majority of the time, but there are always chances for improvements and changes. Its fun to drive a fast car but it is better if you are flying in the air. Visiting these kinds of places has been made possible through the rise of VR services over the last few years. Since one of the basic tenets of VR is giving users the chance to control their surroundings, reality is more than just an ordinary assessment. Users are able to perceive their movements and the perception of the simulated world also aligns closely. Simulator sickness is still a cause for worry but this is also being addressed head on and improvements are being made. So how does design factor into this?
Once designers and artists know what VR feels like at its base, they will then think about the kind of experience they want to design. There is a certain familiarity in creating rectangles for viewing devices and restricting artistic impression into a box. But with VR and 360 space technology, the environment around you knows no limits. And this does not just apply to a singular form of design.
VR can be applied to first person games, educational apps and even interactive movies. The technology has become so advanced that the grasp of designers is widening and they are able to do more than thought possible. Getting started on designing your first VR experience isn’t too different than the average process for designing websites or mobile products. There are a few things you need to consider, like user personas, conceptual flows, wireframes, and an interaction model and you are good to go.
In the reality of things, all our actions are usually met with some sort of feedback. Whether this is visual or something else, simple actions like tapping your finger on a computer key gives information to your nervous system.
The following are some of the best design practices that creative minds adopt when they start working in VR.
Controls are a top priority for making sure there is adequate interactivity between users. Since VR does not come with the luxury of different buttons for each action users take, the point and click control of your mouse will not work. Designers usually try to separate the different types of gesture controls into two main groups: semantic and responsive.
These semantic gestures tend to focus on the more common movements which people familiarize their realities with. These include walking, craning your neck and even nodding your face to say “yes”. Responsive gestures on the other hand relate to how we interact with our surroundings, like picking something up, throwing things or pushing buttons. The practice of looking to these gestures means that you account for the specifics of objects, which makes your VR experience all the more better.
Engaging the senses of users is a mandatory step when designing for VR. Using sensory elements for cues and tracking, and then employing audio for spatial positioning is helping people achieve immersion. This is also reinforcing space and responsiveness as a whole. Designers use these visual elements to give users a sense of their environment and these use them accordingly later on.
The aerial perspective in VR aims to let users understand the scale of their environment. The experience is made more natural with this phenomenon as E. Bruce Goldstein has said, “The farther away an object is, the more air and particles we have to look through, making objects that are farther away look less sharp and bluer than close objects.”
VR experiences cannot ignore fundamental practices. These are the assurance of the user’s safety as people should not have to deal with discomfort. This can be a combination of symptoms clustered around eye strain, some physical disorientation, and even nausea. Thus, it is very important that the best practice is followed to minimize any of these issues and develop simple solutions.
Although VR comes with its own set of challenges, people are continuing to use this narrative in their designs and art work. Whether it’s designing for first-person environments or capturing 360-degree footage, VR design is here to stay.