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Hedonomic VR Design 002

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

  • Assignment: “Get To Know Your Virtual Safety Infrastructure”

Readings: VR Has A Harassment Problem, A Blueprint for Designing Inclusive AR/VR Experiences and the Designing Safe Spaces for Virtual Reality chapter of Ethics in Design and Communication.’

Write-Up: Find and try three social VR applications in the Oculus app store. Stress-test each to uncover and use their safety features. Write about every safety feature you can find (3+) and whether or not you think that they utilize Hedonomic design principles.

*Optional: If you want to go deeper on social VR functionality, read this API Guide.

Reading Part

Social VR applications

I found an article about "10 apps to hang out with friends in VR"

I chose three of them to play, which are: VR chat, Bigscreen, and Rec Room.

The first social VR application I went to is VR chat. I really like the design of the avatars there, the avatar that I picked is a robotic bunny. One thing special about VR chat is that users are able to change the angles of view, switch from the first-person perspective to the third-person perspective. I didn't think it's a big deal at first, but after visiting Rec Room, I thought this option is crucial (talk about it later)! There are several themes (or chat rooms) for users, I went into a virtual environment with Japanese-style architectures. When I got there, there were about 10+ people. The first time I went there, I forgot to turn up the volume on my headset so I didn't hear any voice nor join any conversation (It's totally my fault, but is it possible for applications to notify users that they are not turning on some certain function of the oculus/Vr equipment?) The next time I went into that space, things became much more clear!

The second social VR application I tested is Bigscreen, which is also my favorite among the three of them. Not only because I'm a movie fan, Bigsreen just offers me a place to watch movies at home when I have no Disney+ or Netflix account; but also is because the tutorial of safety and introduction is the best among them all. In Bigscreen, the tutorial will teach users what to do in different environments step by step, like how to grab and draw things, and even how to mute other people.

The third social VR application I used is Rec Room, I appreciate the user interface and design style of this application, and really like the space which looks like a school. I did get some unique experiences in this environment, like tossing balls and archery, I even got my own dorm! HOWEVER, I felt super uncomfortable after using this application, physical discomfort, I couldn't do anything but lie on my floor and try not to vomit. If the Rec Room could have an option for users to switch to the third-person perspective, then it would be perfect.!

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