9 November 2020

A 3-Dimension UX Analysis of VR


Christian Schott and Stephen Marshall of the Victoria University of Wellington have quite a nice paper out in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 2021, 37(1) and on open access at https://ajet.org.au/index.php/AJET/article/view/5166/1681.

Coming from an Experiential Education (EE) perspective they draw on a UX model by Hassenzahl and Tractinsky (2006) which consists "of three facets guided by a positive focus on creating outstanding emotional experiences, rather than on adopting a mostly instrumental, task-oriented view of interactive products, which is a core criticism of traditional HCI." 

  • "The first facet responds to this criticism of traditional HCI  and  is  termed  beyond  the  instrumental.  It  incorporates  aesthetics,  a  holistic  approach,  and  hedonic  qualities as features of the user experience. "
  • "The second facet builds on affective computing and extends emotion and affect to the user through positivity, subjectivity and the dynamic of antecedents and consequences. "
  • "The third facet is the experiential, which emphasises situatedness and temporality, and is characterised by user experiences that are complex, situated, dynamic, unique, and temporally-bounded".

The research used a VR experience of a Fijian island being developed to help better understand tourism economics on a Pacific Island, and the experimental subjects were Tourism Management students.

The UX evaluation identified 8 clusters of responses which map onto the three evaluation dimensions as shown above are were:

  • Sense of Place
  • Sensory Appeal
  • Natural Movement
  • Learning Enrichment
  • Comprehensive Vision
  • Hardware Concerns
  • Screen Resolution
  • Hyperreal Experience
  • Motion Sickness

Pity that Agency wasn't on there, and it would be interesting to see how a 2D/3D evaluation of the same experience would change the ratings and clusters give.

The authors conclude that "The evolution of VR technology is increasingly enabling high fidelity and motivating EE learning activities to be offered at a relatively low cost, particularly when the logistical, resourcing,  and  ethical  issues  of  alternative  approaches  are  considered. The nuanced  analysis  of  the  identified  positive  and  negative  themes,  through  the  lens  of  Hassenzahl  and  Tractinsky’s  (2006)  adapted  three  UX  facets,  has  provided  valuable  albeit  indicative  guidance  where  to  concentrate refinement efforts. However, it is also evident that a great deal of further research on the user experience  is  required  to  extend  our  understanding  of  full-immersion  VR  technology  as  an  important  opportunity for EE and higher education more broadly."

Nice paper, well worth a read, and the UX model and dimensions could be a useful one to bear in mind when looking at evaluating other 3D/VR experiences.

Hassenzahl, M., & Tractinsky, N. (2006). User experience - a research agenda. Behaviour & Information Technology, 25(2), 91-97. https://doi.org/10.1080/01449290500330331

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