For our research we provided users with a setting optimized for interacting within a VR environment. We provided a swivel chair which allowed participants to see the entire 360° view without the risk of dizziness or falling that could occur while standing. The movements we saw were often directly affected by the environment and equipment we used.
- The swivel chair allowed for quick 360° turning movements which could be disorienting or dizzying while standing. Users would likely stay within the front 150-200° area if they were interacting with the experience while seated in a non-swivel chair, and possibly also while standing.
- The chair also allowed users to lean back in a supported manner. This could have affected how far users were willing/comfortable to look up.
In summary, the findings below are affected by the environment the users were in and are not necessarily typical or universal. In this case, we used environmental factors to encourage users to explore, and noted that the equipment allowed them to do so.
The participants’ range of vertical movements were similar for seven out of the nine participants. They kept their motion limited to looking up and down without bending from the waist and using the chair to look around the room horizontally.
There doesn’t appear to be a significant difference between Google Cardboard and Google Daydream headset usage when it comes to range of motion. Having to physically hold the Google Cardboard didn’t seem to hinder participants’ interest in looking far up or down. Hardware does influence other factors outside of range of motion.
Six participants stuck to head movements and slight upper body bending, taking advantage of the supported leaning the chair provided when looking up.
Seven participants stuck to head movements and slight upper body bending when looking down. Two physically bent from the waist.
Through the session we observed different methods the participants used to rotate left to right viewing more of the experience:
- Isolated head movement
- Turning the swivel chair (360°)
- Crossing their bodies with the controller and turning their heads rather than spinning the chair
Most took advantage of the swivel chair and used that to scan left to right.
For many, the head turn kicked off a swivel:
At times participants only moved their head and/or arm, causing a twist.
Some participants had a more active posture throughout, while others had a more laid back posture. Generally, they started out more upright and then relaxed into the experience. Switching from a two-handed to a single-handed hold with the Google Cardboard seemed to relate to both fatigue and also comfort or relaxing into the experience.
Participants used their hands and arms to describe either what they were seeing or what they wanted to see. These motions ranged from small hand gestures to full upper body movements with outstretched arms. This was not inquired about directly but seemed to relate to user personality.
Participants often forgot that we were not viewing the experience with them, which speaks to the immersive nature of the medium. They spoke and gestured as if we were in the VR world with them.
“Now, I’m motioning like it’s really there. I saw a girl about my age, got on one of these and she kept saying, “Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness,” and she kept reaching for stuff. I’m doing the same thing after laughing at her. I get what I deserve.”