VR ATX

VR UX for history education

 

Overview

My Roles

  • Idea generation

  • Design and Development

  • User Research 

Tools

Unity, C#, Blender​

Duration

Sep.2019 - Dec.2019

Team

1 designer, 2 researchers

VR-ATX is an exploration into employing virtual reality to study the local history of a place through a first person driven experience. 

Objective

To present an instance of exploratory VR experience and measure the effectiveness of immersion  in learning history and cultural preservation.

Approach

This project started with extensive research about VR, presence and learning different methods of making a VR experience for users for educational purposes. After defining the challenge, idea generation for designing a viable experience started. Through the design and development phase, constant feedback from users was taken to revise ideas and make the experience more effective for the user.

Interior setting in its current status 

Igniting the transition phase (get ready for takeoff)

Designing a transition experience for Time Travel 

Interior setting in 100 years ago

 
 

Background

In this project we aimed to understand if an experiential mode of learning subjects like history would have a more positive impact on the users than traditional reading, or audio-visual media. We looked at many factors that passively indicate deep learning such as familiarity or recognition/recall of information in users’ present day experience of the city.

Looking for a real case

The Scholzgarten in Austin is the oldest operating business in Austin, TX with a history of over 150 years. It was established in 1866 and stood witness to the city’s rise, fall, struggles and glory.  We were inspired from this place and tried to leverage familiarity of the local people with the bar to anchor their exploration of Austin’s local history and culture through time to make the experience more understandable for users. 

Project Process

Group 823 (3).png
 

Problem Space

History education as mere instruction of objective information is limited in engagement of students and providing lasting experience or measurable real world change in user perception/ behavior.​

Virtual Environments and using the VR medium has its own set of complications and might result in cyber-sickness. For this reason, testing with large numbers of people was essential to find a common solution for the users. 
In the limited time between problem definition and design/development of the actual delivery of the submission, we managed to test it with multiple users and evaluated their experiences through multiple measurement methods. 

~50

Users Reached in Research/Testing

~20

Testing Walkthroughs

~10

Design 

Iterations

6

Measurement

Methods

 

Research

To tailor the past-time experience, we studied the present day experiences of the users, and synthesized them into the VR. The measurements were primarily for presence and how it influenced user experience in understanding the spatial clues.

Synthesis Methods

Contextual Inquiry

Concept Testing

Journey Mapping

Measurement Methods

Usability Testing

Focus Groups

Behavioral Analysis & Observations

Physiological Measures

Contextual Inquiry

Our immediate users were the people of Austin who: 

  • frequented places like Scholzgarten

  • were interested in learning about /experiencing their local history 


For our contextual analysis, we started with the Scholzgarten, and knowing how much the context of history drives the visitors to this place. We also met with the Austin History Association for the more formally inclined user base.

We conducted user interviews, surveys and also observational inquires about the habits, attributes, and inclination of the user base to use the product we were designing.