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VR UX: Physical Foundations

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In this episode of VR UX, learn how to increase a user’s comfort, safety, and immersion in your environment by setting up a physical foundation.

Welcome to VR UX. I'm Seth Schneider, and today we talk about how you can increase your user's comfort and safety in your environment by setting up a physical foundation. Not only will your user feel better, but you can deliver an increased sense of immersion for a more enjoyable VR experience.

To provide a successful physical foundation, you'll need to think about your user's safety. You can do this by designing a system that supports the user's ability to move safely in the physical world while experiencing the virtual world. Inform users of potential risks and provide clear guidance about physical requirements. Provide boundary feedback, sometimes called chaperones or guardian walls, to ensure the user is provided a warning should they get close enough to items in the real world that could possibly injure them or get damaged.

User comfort and fatigue are also important parts of a physical foundation. When users start to feel uncomfortable wearing the headset or holding the controllers, they stop feeling immersed. Here are some things to keep in mind when helping your users feel comfortable.

When creating your VR application, it is important to design for a range of human dimensions. Remember that people are different heights, shapes, and have varying physical abilities. Be mindful and make your VR experiences inclusive. There are resources, like anthropomorphic data tables, to get a feel for the range of human dimensions. Take into account the various controller sizes when developing interactions in the virtual world, like picking up an object off the floor.

It is also important to keep in mind how motion sickness can affect your user's experience. Be aware that VR motion sickness this is one of the main things that makes the player feel uncomfortable and disoriented, ruining the immersive experience. Here are some ways that you can combat VR sickness:

  • Respond faithfully to the user's movements at all times, preferably near typical human locomotion speeds.
  • Strive for zero latency, especially in head tracking.
  • Attain frame rates equal to or greater than the hardware refresh rate, to avoid judder.

Avoid having moving objects that take up a large portion of the user's field of view, to prevent feelings of self-motion. Make acceleration infrequent and short, preferably instantaneous. And in teleporting, provide adequate visual cues to retain bearings and preserve original orientation. We all need to do our part when combating VR motion sickness.

If you—like us—want to see VR adoption flourish, we are responsible for making our users feel safe and comfortable. Thanks for watching. Please comment below with topics you would like to see explored. Don't forget to like this video and subscribe to the Intel Software YouTube channel. And we will see you next week for more VR UX.