You can fly, you can scale down a galaxy to your fist, and you can stand in a volcano yes not “on”, “in”. Yes, you read it right, you can do all these things, as these things are possible. It’s not magic but technology. Virtual reality is a life-changing technology that creates a new paradigm shift. In virtual reality, an individual can challenge the physical laws of nature, where the user is not restricted to a defined view, having complete control of their environment and perspective. Think of virtual reality as a medium where one can visualise and translate their thoughts and dreams into a shared experience, being able to see others dream and mind is not less than a superpower.
Virtual reality is a medium where a creator can create different kinds of experience, and their users can encounter the first-hand experience created for them with the right perspective. Not only this but different types of experiences can be integrated, with this medium such as music and motion. When we are talking about virtual reality, we also need to understand that it is a perfect tool as researchers and designers can understand and empathise with the work they are doing. Products or the experience that they will be getting out of this outcome will be much refined.
Virtual reality can bring forth a powerful experience contrived and dramatised for demonstrations, field trips, exhibitions, motion picture, audio recording, and many more to intensify message. There are several symbols and multi-media directories into the scene that increase the efficiency of VR and more in terms of understanding.
Nonetheless, virtual reality is based on digital creation, as it is instrumental and efficient in creating experiences. Virtual reality examples can be recreating experiences like boxing, yoga, and martial arts etc. despite its digital dependencies. The experience in virtual reality can give you real-time feeling, like walking on water, climbing Mount Everest with Batman, or even as extreme as going close to the Sun of our solar system, to say the least in regards to virtual reality examples.
If you want to talk about the example of virtual reality in UX, think about how we use the touchscreen today. There are various ways to utilise a touchscreen that we come to understand over the years, such as swiping, dragging, pinching, squeezing to zoom, and long-tapping that allows us to view more choices. One can create such functions in VR, as more creators come into the realm of virtual reality. There will come a day when more personalities make and vet new UI designs, helping the businesses to push ahead in the realm of virtual reality.
How does virtual reality work?
Virtual Reality, in simple words, can be understood as the use of technology to create a simulated atmosphere. VR is a full experience created on digital platforms, that can either stimulate or deviate entirely from the real world. It is a computer-generated, three-dimensional environment. To experience and communicate within virtual reality, you need accessories like a pair of VR headset.
Unlike traditional user interfaces, virtual reality puts the user inside an experience. Rather than observing a screen in 2D, users can engage and possibly communicate with the 3D world. By reproducing multiple senses as possible, such as perception, hearing, and touch, the computer is transformed into a door to an artificial world. Just the limits to near-real virtual reality experiences are the accessibility of content and affordable computing power, which will reduce after the more powerful computers in the market.
Types of Virtual Reality
There are mainly three categorisations in virtual reality. Let’s have a look for a more in-depth understanding.
Many times we imagine virtual reality, and a fully immersive experience is the perception in our minds by default with the help of accessories head-mounted display, headphones, gloves, all related sensors and apparatus. It is what can be commonly used for entertainment and gaming purposes; empty non-fragile space is generally preferred in such case.
Fully immersive simulation provides the user with full pragmatic experience possible not just targeting the visual senses but also the auditory senses. VR headsets furnish a high-resolution and high depth of field to make the experience immersive so to speak.
This type of virtual reality examples can include performing surgery or flying a jet. Either way, you will feel a cognitive experience.
Semi immersive simulation aims to give a partial virtual environment to interact with; this type of virtual reality experience is the first preference in education and training. In semi-immersive experience is created feasible with graphical computing and massive projectors.
In this type of virtual reality examples, as shown above, the tools in front of the pilot are correct, and the windows and screens present a virtual environment. It’s essential to keep in thought that semi-immersive VR simulations still provide users with the perception of living in a separate reality. This type of virtual reality is not regularly feasible to experience Whatsoever. Instead, we utilise natural environments to improve the experience.
Non-immersive simulations are underrated as an exact model of virtual reality. Indeed it’s ubiquitous in our daily lives. This type of virtual reality examples can be any video game in the market, say Need for Speed, FIFA, Call of Duty or even PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as these games are technically deemed a non-immersive virtual reality experience. Such type of an experience has become more advanced in recent years with improvement in technology, like the Sony Dualshock controller, where the system detects the individual performing a task, like crashing the car and the controller vibrates.
Designing for Virtual Reality
Like any other field of study where the basic principles are constant, and a lot of development takes place over the existing laws. Similarly, the law’s and fundamentals of user experience remain the same in virtual reality too.
Right visuals in aligned format, without a visual aid, it’s hard to know when objects are actually in the centre of your view. Elements or objects that superimpose each other in a virtual environment can make the experience feeble. Hence this is where we use Law of Prägnanz: the law of simplicity to make things look manageable in terms of accessibility and usage.
Interface visibility should not strain the eyes to focus on elements like text legibility, font size, contrast spacing and depth etc. In the digital environment, depth and highlight are not directly implicit, as its a defined frame, whereas, in virtual reality, an individual is in the frame.
Continuity is an essential aspect of virtual reality, but the same principle can backfire as it might cause motion sickness. A good and smooth experience needs to eliminate this problem from the design.
At times, a virtual world can make an individual utterly disabled from the real world. It’s essential to provide users with a good number of reference points to craft a smooth experience, which is somewhat similar to Jakob’s law while designing a user experience.
Lighting is another fundamental issue that needs to be taken care of, the virtual world is entirely three dimensional and without lighting the interface, and reference points will not work.
Scaling and ratios are other vital elements that require accuracy. As the virtual environment needs to look real, scalability and physical sizes should be identical to the real world.
There are a few fundamentals queries for virtual reality design:
- Where to start for designing VR?
- What kind of guidance should be made available?
- What is the starting point?
- What are the fundamentals of VR?
Answer for all above questions are straightforward, but before that, we need to understand how complex may be the problem design aims for the simple solution.
Design is a holistic approach to solving problems; these problems may be from different fields. Whatever you are designing in the world, be it a rocket or a t-shirt or maybe a simple pen all have one thing in common with that common thing is the user. Knowing is the knowing user is the most crucial task in any segment of designing, what are the preferences, what preferences, what is the cultural background and what are the attitude and behaviour of the user towards the product.
Designing virtual reality is not too different from crafting user experience for websites and mobile application. The process remains the same. The centre of focus will always be the user; it is the user that we need to understand and makes their life more comfortable. The main difference in designing for both is the limit of the frame: in a web experience, designers have a defined canvas for interaction, whereas, one can develop virtual reality within the canvas. The creator can aim to create a whole new world with links at every point.
Virtual Reality Applications
Virtual reality is going to blend several domains for crafting memorable cognitive experiences. A few of the most important are the sectors are mentioned below.
There is a considerable rise in the application of VR in the healthcare sector, and I continue to be interested & impressed by the involvement of new technology with diverse applications in the medical world.
From generating new life-saving procedures to training residents, virtual reality has an abundance of applications for wellness and healthcare, from the clinical to the consumer. By 2021, the global market could be worth upwards of $3.8 billion.
The above image shows how virtual reality can aid and guide healthcare experts while transforming their understanding of medical science and heal patients –
- Medical training
- Patient treatment
- Medical marketing
- Disease awareness
Today, healthcare experts use virtual reality in:
- Pain management
- Risk management
- Stress management
- Mood disorder
- Magical training and planning
- Speech therapy
- Ability solutions
- Cognitive training and planning and many more
The most critical drawback of e-commerce is that it can’t provide shoppers with tactile interactions, a high level of a personal approach, and product delivery compared to brick-and-mortar stores.
Augmented reality can help online stores provide their customers with a more in-depth and realistic shopping experience. On the other hand, virtual reality allows traditional stores to offer their consumers bright, unforgettable, and fun emotions that are much richer than those we all have experienced in an offline shop.
VR Browser is a simple open specification that makes it possible to bring virtual reality to the web. This way, anyone can experience VR at its best. VR Browsers make the use of emerging mixed reality web standards to allow users to an immersive experience without the need to install apps custom-built for VR headset. Mozilla recently announced Firefox Reality as their VR browser that they describe as a cross-platform, open-source and privacy-friendly browser whose interface will be specialised for headsets.
One of the prominent virtual reality examples of WebVR is JanusVR that helps in re-imagining web pages as collaborative 3D web spaces interconnected by various portals. It is a native VR browser that runs on its custom language JML that intends to build a 3D world for the user.
Online markets are well-organised, although less compelling and immersive than the experience of moving through a physical store. A VR-generated store lets customers virtually browse the store and buy items they find — as Karen Miller did with a fashion showroom.
VR Simulations are used as a training aid in many sports like golf, athletics, skiing, cycling etc. Training in VR helps in measuring athletic performance as well as analysing technique. Virtual reality is also used in clothing/equipment design and as part of the drive to improve the audience’s experience.
Virtual reality is the future of the cognitive experience, and in the computing power, we see exponential growth, especially after quantum computing. More power signifies that the graphical rendering can be multiple folds faster, and interactive graphics can be in place.
The application of VR in industries like healthcare, sports, e-commerce, military, education, construction, architecture, automobile, advertising and many more broaden the spectrum for its growth and create ample scope for designing. For prototyping and testing, virtual is a comprehensive medium, and we need more designers and developers for the same.
In a post COVID era, new technologies like VR have a crucial significance, as it creates a unique point of interaction and reflects domains of the future: the niche of the niche is the need of the hour.