I still think we are further away from a successful consumer product than most think.
I highly recommend experiencing both “Pearl” and a short animated VR experience (it’s more than a movie) Allumette with the Vive. Both experiences give you a glimpse of how this new technology can be a beautiful storytelling tool.
Designing for virtual reality presents new challenges to a UX designer because good VR prioritizes presence over simplicity and function. How can we design for presence?
The devices that formerly relied on more external cues now rely heavily on how our minds are built and wired. Although user-experience designers have traditionally accounted for cognitive science in how they design mobile and desktop interfaces, the user-experience of virtual reality is different because it does not prioritize function but instead prioritizes displacement.
As a neuroscientist, I don’t know if I 100% agree with the author’s conclusions about the brain on virtual reality but I think they are onto something with how impactful sublime experiences are in VR (i.e. Google Earth).
An immersive experience in a virtual reality classroom, however, would be a fundamentally different proposition. The study of anatomy could go beyond frogs to embrace large mammals and even humans, whose computer-imaged insides could be examined in detail. (emphasis is mine)
I’m really looking forward to the day when we can start writing and reading articles that address actual VR education software/hardware instead of hypotheticals.