Google’s UX testing in VR

Developers at Google’s mobile virtual reality platform, Daydream Labs are testing different user ‘social’ experiences in VR.

On the company’s blog, Google VR, UX Designer Robbie Tilton explains how the company, known for its previous ‘don’t be evil’ motto, is nudging people towards positive social experiences in the VR space.

“As developers and designers, we are excited to build social experiences that are fun and easy to use – but it’s just as important to make it safe and comfortable for all involved,” Tilton said.

Testing to ensure users feel safe in virtual reality

Google is finding that test users in VR don’t adhere to social norms. Daydream Labs reports that curious users would test the limits of the experience by trying to reach their virtual hands through other players’ bodies, or even try to stand inside another avatar’s body.

“Even with good intentions, this can make other people feel unsafe or uncomfortable,” Tilton explained.

In an example, a virtual shopping experiment built for the HTC Vive, multiple users could enter the storefront and try on different accessories, such as hats and sunglasses. Users could stick hats onto their friends anywhere, including in front of their face effectively blocking the other users’ vision.

“If they couldn’t remove the hat in front of their eyes with their controllers, they had no other recourse than to take off their headset and end their VR experience,” Tilton said.

Rewarding positive behaviour

Daydream Labs are experimenting with incentives to encourage positive behaviours. Users giving high fives are rewarded with fun graphics, but the VR removes stimuli from ‘violent’ actions.

Tilton explains: “In one experiment, we detected when two different avatars “touched” each other’s hands at high speed. This triggered a loud slapping sound and a fireworks animation. It sounds simple, but people loved it.”

“Meanwhile, if you tried to do something more aggressive, like punching an avatar’s body, nothing would happen. You can guess which behaviour people naturally preferred,” Tilton continued.

Edited from source by Cecilia Rehn.