Designing for virtual reality

Use perspective to your advantage

Designers use size, contrast and color to denote hierarchy. These tools are still available in VR, but they are a little bit different. Size is based on the distance between the user and a piece of content.

Content can be considered as one Heads up the screen,
lock it at a certain distance from the viewer.

It can locked to the environment so the user’s view of the content changes as they move through the environment.

It can float freely, locked to the world.

Look around

The designers now have full vision to play with, and humans are accustomed to turning the head or the whole body.

Even so, designers are trying to bring 2D solutions into a 3D space, like Virtual Boy.

There is one (sort of) understandable reason for this;
a small conical focus.

What’s really going on inside a VR kit like Cardboard or Gear VR: A single screen that’s split into two, split resolution. Your eyes are really focused on the center of this area, a cone-shaped focus quickly fades away in the blurry direction. This makes for a fairly small, fairly low resolution area to work with.

There are several workarounds for the small, focused cone,
Here are some options that use the general cell menu:

1 Flat: A general solution The interface is designed for 3D space. It is difficult to read text or images in perspective. There is no sense of grounding in space. It is a wall.

2 Curved: A little bit better Content is curved around the user, so the cells are always facing the user – making it much easier to read text or images.

3 Less content: Better Less content is better, even if that requires some way to move through it.

4 Around: The best The hierarchy can be indicated by the proximity of the cone focus. Extra content can be immediately pushed out of view, but still accessible.

… Or split complex interactions into different devices. For example, Google Cardboard’s screen density is pretty rough. Instead of trying to put a complicated and dense interface into a VR environment, use your phone to get you where you need it and then move on to a VR environment to explore it.

Build to scale

Technology will be improved. The headphones will be lighter, the screen thicker, and we will have more ways to interact with virtual environments. Currently, those inputs are quite limited and may be platform dependent, but their affordability is not necessary.

Affordable price is a popular user experience design term that means:
A situation where an object’s sensory characteristics visually imply its function and use.

A simplified version of this can be found on the web. Hover your mouse over a text link and the arrow icon will turn into a hand icon indicating that something will happen if you click it. Rolling over a link with a mouse, touchpad, or stylus doesn’t change affordability; it is still a hand. We conditionally expect the same behavior regardless of the input.

VR will need affordability to show what can be interacted and when that interaction occurs. The sensory display of those affordability should extend to technology like a monitor’s affordability. Highlights appear on the gaze, will still work for hand tracking, microscopic gestures or a mind event.

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