Measuring the Impact of Low-Cost Short-Term Virtual Reality on the User Experience

Alaguero, Mario | Checa, David | Bustillo, Andres
In "Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Computer Graphics", "2017"

The continuous innovation of new affordable hardware and software over recent years is leading to a surfeit of Virtual Reality (VR) applications in the entertainment industry. However, the abundance of VR applications is unfortunately not matched by case studies and evaluation methods related to low-cost Virtual Reality experiences. A gap in the literature exists, where the utility of VR to display narrative stories could be studied, due to the sensations of amazement, astonishment, and excitement that it awakens. This research reports the steps taken to create a low-cost VR experience designed to transmit a single concept. The key aspects of the experience may be summarized as follows: a short duration, the selection of an evocative scenario limited to a single storyline, short animation of 3D-models selected to produce intense visual impacts with minimal modelling and animation and the collaborative participation of undergraduate students in the development of the VR environment. Members of the public were invited to trials of this VR experience portraying a Nativity scene over the 2016/17 Christmas Season in Burgos (Spain). The user experience was evaluated through surveys administered to numerous final-users immediately after the 3D-experience. The results showed very high levels of satisfaction, even though the 3D-experience for around half of the viewers was not their first one. In a few rare cases, sickness effects were reported. Viewers identified the movement of light as one of the most impressive aspects and considered the duration reasonable, with few or no suggestions for improvement.