In mapping the user journey for VR experiences I’ve learned that it’s very important to keep in mind the physical conditions of the user. For example, when filming 360 footage using moving video can be a challenge as it can sometimes cause a disconnect between the user’s cognitive processing and visual reception. This disconnect can cause nausea ruining the mindful experience. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the user’s range of motion is limited because of the VR headgear. That being said it is important to minimize any excessive motion on the user’s part and simplify any gesture-based interactions.
When designing a mindfulness VR experience assets design is the most important feature in creating a relaxing VR environment. The subject matter and colour grading of 360 Video can alter an experience drastically. For example, in our VR experience, we captured footage of a beach in the Winter. With color grading we were able to warm up the scene so that it would look more like an early spring day. Even though both the color graded and non-color graded footage was the same in terms of content users perceived the warm-colored footage to be significantly more relaxing than the cool colored winter footage.
The sound design also plays a huge role in creating a successful mindfulness VR experience. In order to evoke intended reactions from users it is best to carefully plan out the kinds of sounds you want and list what emotions you want each sound to evoke. That way when you are sourcing your audio assets you can ask yourself “What emotion does this sound evoke?” “Why?” And is this the emotion “I want my user to feel?”.
Because our VR game/experience is aimed at promoting a state of relaxation we’ve made sure to keep our footage as still as possible and remove any excess motion from the user experience. Secondly, we have removed excessive motion from our User Experience by eliminating the yoga scene and replacing controllers with gaze and breath-based interactions. Our team went through multiple iterations of user experiences, refining the user flow and design elements to meet only the essential objectives of the mindfulness experience.