Design tips for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality
Are you facing problems in evaluating the design of your AR, VR, or Mixed Reality oriented product?
Today, we have laid down guidelines that will help you to objectively evaluate the design of your next project confidently.
Keep the following pointers in mind and you are good to go.
1. Identify your target audience and use cases
The first thing to do in the product development phase is creating ‘personas’ (a fictitious character that represents your target audience) and ‘use cases’ (the specific pain points or problems that your product intends to solve).
At any stage of the design and development process, if you feel that your product is not solving the specific problems or improving use cases for the persona then you should re-visit the fundamental design.
Therefore, it is recommended to test your product as early as possible with an external audience so that you can identify the fundamental design issues and make a successful product. This approach will be highly helpful while evaluating a design midway.
In case you have reached an advanced stage and have commenced the creation of a beautiful visual for your projects there is a risk of losing relevance. Highly beautiful visuals may not be relatable for your users and that’s what distinguishes a great design from beautiful visuals.
How do the KPIs stack up across mediums?
In the contemporary world of design, your product is not only in competition with alike products but also with thousands of products across the medium.
For example, if your product is a game in the form of a mobile app, it is not only competing with other mobile games but other forms of entertainment as well such as escape rooms, movies, TV, and concerts. It is essential for your team to understand which mind space your product occupies to clearly identify the competitors across the platforms.
Beware! It is a common mistake to only compare KPIs within mediums. A slight progress in a VR product might be an edge against peer VR products but products on other mediums like mobile phone or computer may have already beaten your standards and have set a higher expectation for the user.
So even if you are at the forefront of VR and AR technology, you are still behind the performance delivered by existing technologies. The user expects the same performance from your product in the virtual world as he is already getting in the real world.
How were the interactions examined?
The common variables while evaluating the design of your interactions in AR, VR, or MR are:
(i) Accuracy- How frequently the user’s intentions match the outcome
(ii) Ergonomics- Energy cost associated with the interaction
(iii) Learnability- How intuitive an interaction is to learn
(iv) Time to Complete- Time in which a particular action gets completed
The priorities of these variables vary with the type of product. However, if any of these factors score poorly, your design is very poor.
You might want to consider the following points before testing interactions in the above parameters.
- Currently, stress test interactions are not tested for enough time. For example, if the intended user experience is meant to last for an hour, the stress test should be done for an hour. The interactions which feel perfect for the first five minutes might not be usable for the whole 1-hour period.
- Secondly, some product teams make the mistake of getting samples from excellent gamers for testing the interactions. Studies have shown results which prove that users who play video games frequently tend to learn faster and develop their abilities to do various cognitive tasks very quickly.
Because of such biased sample spaces, product team often wrongly conclude their designs to have excellent learnability while it may or may not have it.
For several reasons, it is crucial to run all the user tests on the mix of non-gamers and video gamers with no prior context of your product. It might be an easy option to run the test internally but your co-workers will already have enough context that they can once again bias the user test.
In fact, any developer who has experience in developing AR, VR, and MR is likely to learn the interactions faster than a user with no prior experience in these mediums.
How can features bring positive KPIs to your product if used together?
A great design is created by the synergy of complementary features which have positive KPIs. Standalone features perform well but when used along with similar features they can create a rich social experience.
If your design has numerous features with positive KPIs but without strong synergy, you should re-scope your design to bring in more synergistic features and remove the standalone features. This will help you in delivering a higher value to the Persona and either solve or improve the Use Cases accurately.
How can Core Loops help to add value?
Core loops are the repeatable actions in your product, It is very important to assess the core loops.
Like if your game is about 3D vegetable slicing, the frequent action is to swing the sword-
How does the user feel while doing that?
Is he enjoying it? Are the sound effects appropriate?
Product teams spend most of their time in iterating and testing core loops. External users should be involved in testing the core loops for the reasons we mentioned before.
For getting accurate feedback for AR or VR or MR, involving external users is a perfect way as of now.
The art style and visual design of a product are subjective but hopefully, the above framework helps you design better experiences and objectively evaluate the core design of your product. For more resources on AR, follow our blog.