The User Experience Design of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality’s user experience design begins to formalize.

As 2015′s E3 comes to an end, we’re finally starting to witness the past decade of Virtual Reality development culminate into something we can wrap our heads around… or wrap around our heads… whatever. In the last decade we’ve seen several different platforms take unique approaches to packaging the experience from Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift (and Facebook’s multi-billion dollar purchase of it), we’ve also seen Microsoft’s unique foray into the field with the Hololense.

It’s a platform that’s designed to immerse us with a new type of storytelling, something that seems inherently suited for the gaming world. But today, in a world of industries lubricated by exponential innovation, a diverse range of marketers, designers and developers are looking to utilize these virtual reality experiences to engage consumers in an entirely unique way; a new dimension.

Disclaimer: to see the awesome E3 experiences this year, go here. This isn’t that post.

A new frontier of consumer engagement

This type of storytelling becomes interesting when we lack one of the most important parts of cinema, the frame. It becomes a choose your own adventure, immersive role playing experience, something the gaming industry has worked several decades to master. But that didn’t stop Dos Equis from playing the game. And they aren’t the only ones to get involved, it helps us see how Virtual Reality should be used as a new media platform, considered unbound and successful only to those that can figure out how they fit into the story.

The Marriott recently set up shop outside NYC’s City Hall to catch newlyweds and transport them to the other side of the world. Here they actually used the fourth dimension to allow consumers to feel the wind (or rain) of London and the ocean spray on the beach in Maui. Oh and of course they could explore the Marriott facilities.


Audi has been working on ways to use VR to help their sales process. Soon you will be able to strap on a headset and explore any combination of trims and packages from the inside and out, and customize on the spot allowing consumers resonate and connect with a product, a product they are about to spend a lot of money on, in the moment. It has the ability to make an intangible or seemingly distant experience much more real.


We can also visualize (see what I did there) the future of art and architecture where the physical and spatial limits of construction no longer hinder an agile process. New materials, colors and models can be swapped and visualize before your eyes. A seemingly natural progression was Microsoft’s unveil of how they plan on expanding the ever popular and expansive Minecraft.


Let’s not forget one of our specialties, another landscape virtual reality is going to impact, the largest virtual space out there in the tech world–the world wide web. Recently we discovered a UI built to use VR to navigate Reddit. Now you can see, it’s not the most intuitive UI, to search a field I shouldn’t have to physically travel there, but it actualizes the idea that one day, our next PC might be a face mask.

How will you innovate on this new platform?

Everyone wants to know how VR will change movies? Google came out with a movie called “Help” from the Fast and Furious director Justin Lin, and according to the above Dos Equis film it seems like more of a game to us. Google made several other announcements at their I/O  conference where they unveiled a camera built for 360 video as well. There’s a new art form here and it’s a totally different experience. One where you select what you look at in the scene and therefore select your own perspective of a story, like a fly on the wall. There have been a lot of innovations in this space, too many to cover in one blog post, but we’re looking forward to what’s to come in the next few years. It’s not a trend, it’s next.