Your VR interactions are too complex

by AaronC

We recently did a series of demonstrations that focused on visualizing real estate in VR. What we found mirrors what many VR developers are finding – no matter how simple your current interactions are, they need to be even simpler.

Let’s take the common act of teleportation in virtual reality – it is fairly common and there are many VR interaction libraries that support it on Vive, Oculus and other platforms. Generally you press a button on the controller and a line appears – point the line where you want to go and release the button and you are instantly transported to your location. This interaction sounds easy enough, until you are trying to describe which button someone needs to press when it is their first time in VR.

The problem with buttons

A hand grasping an Oculus Touch controllerVirtual reality controllers are currently designed with gaming in mind. The Oculus controllers, for example, have five buttons and a control stick on each hand – it can be a bit daunting to someone who is new to VR.

In speaking with other VR developers we discovered that many are facing the same challenges, if you need to tell someone how to use a VR experience then you risk losing them. Many people are already a little intimidated by strapping on a headset, adding the frustration of learning controls can be a deal breaker.

When we first started building our demos we wanted to include a lot of different features to demonstrate our range, but in the end we found ways to bring it all back and anchor the interactions in reality. What we landed on was the last big thing in tech – tablets.

The one touch solution

We moved all our interactions to a tablet in the simulation and attached a simple 3D hand (reminiscent of a hand cursor) to the other controller. We found that people easily picked up the interactions. They tapped the screen of the tablet and quickly guessed the icon at the bottom was the “home” button.

Another big advantage of this method was that we were able to design the interface for the simulation in a way that would be easy to translate to the web, allowing us to build a 2D version for the web as well. While this solution doesn’t work for everything, for real estate it worked beautifully.