Virtual Reality for Public Good

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  • VR immersive but existing content wasn't very compelling
  • EFF project - Spot the surveillance
    • eff.org/spot.vr
    • Used Mozilla A Frame - framework for VR experiences based on HTML 5 canvas and 3 JS Javascript library
      • Open source and free, but not widely adopted, not a lot of documentation
      • Can see it in browser, on phone, or in headset - easy to access
      • Mozilla helped optimize code
    • After prototyping, supported by Journalism 360 - supported Spanish version
    • Open source, on Github
  • Design for VR
    • Design in 360 degrees
      • Point of view mockups and birds eye view mockups
      • Theater concepts and event planning
    • Anything more than 15 feet away doesn't really register to the user
    • Research on how much users want to rotate their head before its uncomfortable
    • Spot the Surveillance based on a real image instead of a simulated environment
      • Packed a punch on a low budget
      • Added in additional objects with Photoshop
    • Accessibility
      • Any text is read out loud, visual and audio cues
      • Usable on different devices
      • Testing with users
    • How did you determine the length of time of the experience?
      • Research - 10 minutes works for most people
    • Onboarding users into the experience and closing it out
      • Includes a counter tracking number of surveillance objects you've found
      • Card pops up when the user completed the experience
      • Intro - black, brief instructions to enter
      • Helpful to have a sentence explanation before sending someone in
    • Some people have nausea - just take off the headset
      • Static scene helps, some methods to handle movement
    • Keeping the immersive experience from being too dark / heavy
      • Ended with confetti
      • Easter eggs and friendly sound effects to keep it from being too serious
    • Non-linear design
      • Can't direct the user's experience other than entry and ending
    • Prototyping - work out spatial relationships in real space
    • Keep your idea as simple as possible
  • What experiences are a good fit for VR / AR? When is it a value add?
    • Experience vs a giant column of text
    • Different audiences for the experience vs website
    • Must have realistic expectations with a nonprofit budget- nothing like a big budget game but can still have an impact
    • Training to look for something in the real world
    • Building empathy with others experiences’
  • Augmented reality / AR
    • More challenges for a browser-based experience for AR, without using proprietary software
  • Resources
    • React - GUI interface built on a frame
    • Janus - Internet Archive
    • Mozilla A Frame has good examples of where to start