PEOPLE'S 3D

There is a hole in the market for a user-centered design process to be implemented into a VR wireframing tool. This tool would be geared toward creative professionals and would have the following three goals:

  1. Make the software affordable, so that many types of VR headsets can support this software.  

  2. Reduce cost to VR developers by testing interactions with users prior to developing VR applications. Using the UCD process also gives companies to explore different creative options before spending a lot of money on the development of an application.

  3. Give creative professionals the freedom to test and create without having to know either C# or Javascript. 

MY ROLE

I am the lead designer and developer on this project. This is my final Capstone Project, so I am also performing all of the user testing. 

OVERVIEW OF PROCESS

DISCOVER   DEFINE   PLAN   LAUNCH

Discover

LITERATURE REVIEW

Virtual Reality & Augmented reality are in the beginning stages of a wide consumer base, thanks mostley to the processing power of the most basic smartphone. I did a full literature review, which can be viewerd here. The key takeaways are below. 

  1. What is VR? VR aims to “alter the perception of reality by providing artificial computer-generated stimuli (Bovik, 2016).

  2. Can we evaluate a VR system with a UCD approach? YES! In the paper entitled, “A Usability Evaluation Method for Virtual Reality User Interfaces” the author utilizes both Norman and Nielsen’s evaluation methods to assess a 3D system. Within this system the author proposes that there are three cycles within the realm of Virtual reality. Firstly, and most important cycle is the goal cycle. The user must be presented with a goal and then they have a purpose within the VR realm. The second and third cycles are subordinate to the goal, and they consist of exploration and system initiative. Exploration refers to a users need to explore the environment, this is usually based on the user receiving a goal. The third cycle is system initiative which is another way of saying how the user interacts with the system.  These three cycles are a way to test VR/AR systems.

Discover

INITIAL REQUIREMENTS GATHERING

In order to find the characteristics of the user base I did an initial requirements gathering using the contextual design method. Two users, both males aged between 25 and 35, were asked how they would complete a 3D project if tasked to. I let the user pick the software they would like to use to create a 3D project. Click here to read the full transcript.

Discover

USER STUDY

I ran a workshop of five users. The method I used was a combination of a participatory design method and a mixed method interview approach. The users ran the gamut of VR knowledge. 

I proposed testing a model clay version using the participatory design method. This decision was partly based on Patel’s VIEW work (Patel 2006), but also made sense as far as making a usable tool that both VR experts and non-experts can use. To look at users pre-questionnaire click this link. 

The chart above shows the basic information that was pulled from the pre-test questionnaire. As you can see, only one of the participants has never used a VR headset before. The median age of the group was 28. All of the users are currently in the workforce, and run the gamut as far as career. 

THE CLAY USER STUDY

Users will be asked to create the following scenario in a 3D modeled space. The purpose of this is to see how users want to make a 3D space. The test will be run in three parts. 

  1. The user is asked to mold their initials out of clay 

  2. It is explained to the user that they are located in the center of the platform, where would they place their letters in this scene? 

  3. Then the user is asked what they would like to happen to the letters when touched? 

 

I initially ran this test (see pictures below), and will need to make some adjustments, but the main goal is to have the user manipulate something they can make, and be conscious of where they would like the letters to appear in the scene. 

This test accomplishes many goals. For one, where the participant places the letters in the environment tells me about how they expect to interact with the initial environment. I suspect most participants will place the letters in front of themselves, but I will learn more as I keep testing. Secondly, the touch manipulation gives me an idea as different type of touch interactions I can implement. This test also lets users of all VR levels participate. 

In the debrief, there were several insights from the users. Most notably, what would happen when the user touched the letters. Three of the five users expected the letters to subtly react to touch, almost like touching water. 

INITIAL USER SCENARIO

Kayla, a graphic designer in Northern VA, has just received a VR project from her boss. Thought she has some development skills, she is not very comfortable in C#. In order to make a VR project she opens People's 3D, and begins her scene. Shea wants to be able to test her creation quickly prior to handing off the full design to the developers. Here is her process: 

  1. Opens People's 3D

  2. Chooses a shape and puts it into the scene. 

  3. Manipulates the shapes to make the scene look closer to her designs. 

  4. Clicks on the shape to add an interaction. 

  5. She records what she wants to happen when an interaction is introduced, not unlike the action recording in photoshop, which she is used to.

  6. She quickly tests the interactions with Daydream and a coworker, and is confident that the interactions make sense. 

Once she has finished testing that portion she can deploy the full design to development and is confident that the interactions were actually tested. 

INITIAL PAPER PROTOTYPE TESTING

The next step was to have the users test a paper version of the prototype. The user was expected to complete two tasks. 

  1. add a cube into the scene

  2. add an interaction into the scene. 

  3. How would you check that an interaction was added? 

Those three tasks were all I required, I used a record methodology, and wanted to see how intuitive this would be to the user.

After the first three tests I was able to make a second version of the prototype. Some issues that users noticed initially:

  1. How do I delete a shape? 

  2. The use of black on the record shape threw an user, to the point that they couldn't recognize the button.

  3. the timeline metaphor was obscure.

  4. It was unclear how a user should create a new interaction.

  5. It was unclear how the user would add the shape into the scene.  

UPDATED PAPER PROTOTYPE & TESTING

After the first three tests I was able to make a second version of the prototype. Some issues that users noticed initially:

  1. How do I delete a shape? 

  2. The use of black on the record shape threw an user, to the point that they couldn't recognize the button.

  3. the timeline metaphor was obscure.

  4. It was unclear how a user should create a new interaction.

  5. It was unclear how the user would add the shape into the scene.  

USER ONE

The first user rated the ease of use as a 4 out of 5. commenting that the system reminded him of the Adobe products he uses, so that was very helpful. 

Pros: Liked the custom event feature, and the wording was clear.

Cons: Would like to see a tool where you could draw your own 3D shape. And is there a way to customize the scene itself? 

IMG_4489