In this post, I’ll be writing what I sent to my college faculty as the proposal for my graduation project.
Virtual Reality is the imminent future and hardware manufacturers are fighting for
specifications of their headsets, and prices of these Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs). The real fight is at the software level and this is where my project lies. Creating an Operating System GUI for the present VR hardware.
When Apple (in 1984) came up with the Macintosh, they aggressively marketed the GUI (Graphical User Interface) because even though User Interfaces existed decades before the Macintosh, Apple was truly able to make people think about computers, identifying the user-friendly interface as a personal computer. This is exactly the same situation that we face today, albeit the hardware might have changed.
VR is just breaking through the early stages in the public eye even though it has been in the background for a long time.
The interaction methods for each application, each game and each website
(ignoring the numbers) is almost completely different in VR. There is no way for a user to know what to do in which scenario and what visual indicators mean what. The scenario where the eye reticle hovers on an app icon: Oculus Rift gives no visual indicator ofthe fact that you’re hovering on an icon.
Google Cardboard shows the reticle growing outward to show hover and the HTC Vive uses the controllers so there’s no reticle at all and it gives an outer glow for hover. This is what I’m trying to solve. A common interface, an interaction methodology that creates a system for the users to understand VR in a more intuitive way. Essentially what a GUI in an Operating System does. Another important point I’m trying to answer is who would be best suited to utilize the said operating system.
So the most fundamental question I’m curious to answer is: How can the two-dimensional paradigm of operating systems be ergonomically redesigned for head-mounted displays?
This project will consist of creating a Human-Computer Interface that uses Virtual Reality as its medium. The project will be completed by the end of April 2018. The interface shall include a minimum of a User Interface (with all relevant background User Experience research and within set limitations such as dealing with common use-case scenarios first) of an Operating System, demonstration videos that clearly illustrate the functioning of the aforementioned UI. I shall also make an interactive experience of the Operating System GUI which can further clarify the paradigms for the system. This shall be accompanied
by a research documentation which shows the process and thoughts behind the creation of the output.
1. Progress report/log
2. User Interface (static)
3. Process Documentation
4. Interactive GUI
The project will be determined a success if the interaction paradigms brought forward by
the GUI is seen to be adopted with ease by target users.