Made This Way

Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity is an interactive mixed-media documentary that I co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced with the CFC Media Lab. This is a VR project that has received great praise both nationally and internationally. As it is a content driven piece, we wanted to make sure the audience wasn’t lost trying to navigate the virtual experience.

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My Role

Co-Creator, Interaction Designer

Process

Design > Interaction & Level

Usability Testing > Redesign

Goal

The goal was to turn the navigation into a more intuitive experience in VR in order to enhance audience’s immersion into the story.

Challenge

This VR experience was produced in three months with a very small budget. There was no opportunity to do any usability testing in order to create a seamless user experience. Considering the low VR literacy among general audiences and the lack of experience design in VR, a usability testing is crucial for independent creators to understand how to present their stories and get their message across in this interactive medium.

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Research

During the national and international premiere of Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity, we had a chance to do one-to-one informal interviews with the audience and record their feedback about the experience. Their feedback was somehow mixed, some people had difficulties with navigation so much that they missed some of the content meanwhile some were completely at ease with the navigation.

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While the piece was traveling international festivals, we started pre-production for its second phase where we would add more subjects. That’s when we decided to conduct usability testing to evaluate the existing design of the VR space and interface. We set up sessions with 6 people aged 20-45, from various technical and cultural backgrounds. We recorded the tests audio-visually, took notes of the common errors on observation sheets and at the end of the test, each participant answered a short survey.

Below you can see our observation sheet and the results of the survey the participants answered right after the test.

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The data gathered from the usability testing helped us draw our roadmap.

Conclusion

The main elements we used to onboard the participant in the VR experience were a guiding voice, a clean menu that appears in the user’s hand controller and can be opened with simple gestures to eliminate error proneness.

The final product is a very satisfying and much seamless VR experience where the audience can focus on the content rather than trying to figure out how to use the hand controllers and navigate in the virtual space.