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ABH Card #11: UX/UI Designer’s Adventures in Virtual Reality

By June 25, 2018 No Comments
Virtual Reality – Down the rabbit hole we go

I had some free time, so I decided to take a virtual reality course taught by the nice folks over at Udacity. Because of my previous experience with 3D modelling and design, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to get involved in this newly emerging technology and combine different skills into something new, fun and potentially game-changing. The course started off easy enough with a few simple tasks serving as an introduction to development in the Unity engine, but soon became challenging as it required writing more complex scripts in C#. Luckily, with add-ons that enable visual scripting using a node-based interface, the entire process became more intuitive for a visual person such as myself. That is how I started programming, and little by little, my first VR game was ready and working!

Exploring a strange new world of tech

Virtual, augmented and mixed reality is something I am really passionate about, and the fact that it is still an unexplored territory, especially in terms of user experience, is even more exciting. Creating an entire alternative reality is the ultimate test for designing a flawless user experience, with so many considerations that you usually don’t have to think about, such as: visual stimulation, 3D positional audio effects, 3D gestures, motion sickness, lack of common interaction tools, reaction from the environment, etc. As UX design evolves from screens to the real world, it brings with it many unknowns. The best part is that we are still in the beginning stages and there is so much left to figure out and discover.

Don’t forget your roots

Having some free time also meant getting involved with a brand-new project in my area of expertise - design. I decided to take on something we, as UX/UI design team, were planning for a while now: the ‘design challenge’. Basically, the design challenge is a condensed design sprint, with similar outcomes, but in a shorter period of time. We started on a Wednesday and planned to have an entire app flow done by Friday. We began by trying to understand the clients’ needs and suggesting as many different solutions as possible. On day two, we chose the best ideas and started creating a storyboard. After agreeing on everything, the prototyping phase was up next. By Friday, we had a rough prototype ready for user testing. The client was really happy with the outcome and we were ready for serious, high fidelity prototyping. Not bad for three days of work.