Example of Gaze Heatmap generated by Retinad
I believe every creation is a great learning source, firstly for its creators and secondly for the community… and thirdly for all the other homo sapiens. Especially when we talk about VR which is the most phenomenal subset of Technology. The intense load of cognition/emotion that we trigger in our user’s body and mind needs to be analyzed. In terms of analyzing VR contents and its effects on users, I can suggest these two methods:
a) Capturing bio-metrics & User’s behavioral data
Some startups are working on making tools to analyze user’s bio-metric data and report a log to analyze them. It’s still too early for developers to access these tools. but it will eventually become a routine part of developers’ workflow in benchmarking their experience. (i.e Ghostline,CognitiveVR)
But now that we don’t have these SDKs and analytic tools ready in our hands we can still analyze by our own observations of the user. just by watching someone else’s experience you can grasp a general overview about their:
- * Attention (where they Look)
- * Emotion (facial expressions/body & verbal reactions)
- * Cognition (if they ask others to help them figure out interactions/if they’re just blindly using controllers to just hit the right button)
- * Physical State (user’s fatigue)
These are the outcomes that you can collect just by watching your user’s behavior in VR. It can help you estimate a curve for the parameters above from start to the end of the experience. (i.e. Cognitive load on user)
b) Phenomenological Interviews
In phenomenological human science the interview first of all serves the very specific purpose of exploring and gathering experiential narrative material, stories or anecdotes, that may serve as a resource for developing a richer and deeper understanding of a human phenomenon.
In an experience interview, the interviewee answers questions about his or her actions in a past situation. Interviews can reveal a different aspect of user experience that you might not be able to grasp by just observing their behavior. It tells you the subjective narrative of your user. We usually remember and memorize our past experiences through the gestalts that we had in those past events. these gestalts are a very important piece in VR design. What made “this moment” in my experience more memorable ?! you won’t be able to accurately know about details of the gestalts that your user experiences in “That moment” but you can at least know what those moments are.
It’s a good practice to always shoot questions from the user after their experience. but it can be more useful if you get disciplined in this approach. so then you’ll ask more specific/subjective questions that can address your dilemmas and help you spot the areas that need improvements.
Your conclusions from both methods mentioned above is a precious ingredient to improve your current work. or if not at least spot your mistakes and avoid them next time.
to Creators — It’s true that these information are firstly useful to yourselves but sharing them can be a great deal of contribution to the VR community. even a brief report. and more importantly, these analytics are a good resource for developing a richer and deeper understanding of a human phenomenon.
to Festival Organizers— preparing a method to collect the attendants’ feedback can be a great help for the creators because they won’t always be present to observe users and interview them. I found that Volunteers who run Installations can be a huge help in this approach.