The topic of my main research for this unit is UX, or what is better known as user design. As a practitioner of 360 film, and interactive experiences, I have been looking at ways I can produce a higher level of sophistication with the immersive content I create, with a specific goal of producing interactive content in a seamless fashion. The reason why I am approaching the issue of interactive and UX design, is because I recognize a real problem with the information available to new creatives and established practitioners. This problem is created because we are working in a time of hyper-flux and new media potentials, and therefore we work in a forever changing and hyper landscape; I would argue the processes for content creation has yet to be formalized. And whilst the majority of the work I produce is now taking place with the assistance of a game’s engine (Unity), there is a very real problem with supporting documentation and tutorials being accurate; I believe this is for two reasons: the program or framework (tools to use) are constantly shifting and quite often backwards compatibility is not possible; secondly, there is a plethora of third-party applications which are also changing and therefore the tutorials and help files are often obsolete for newer versions of a given software.
To prove my point, I draw upon an experience I recently had. Whilst being invited to complete a developer course via Unity Connect (a partnership between Oculus and Unity (https://connect.unity.com), I was provided with several files to download during the course. These work files allow you to follow along and complete the course and develop your Unity skills for VR. However, on the third module I encountered a major problem and I was not the only person to discover the flaw. The issue was with a third-party application called VRTK, and unfortunately, what Oculus or Unity did not factor in, was that VRTK decided to update their software during the course delivery. This meant that a major error occurred with the installation files and the project became corrupted. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is from the industry leaders Oculus and Unity and therefore this shows a clear sign that things are in a state of flux.
To develop skills in user design, I have looked at some of the fundamental principles that are not necessarily reliant upon a particular set of tools. Some of the theories I have developed have come from the website https://lawsofux.com and an article on the 'Theory of Affordances' via 'The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception'.
In addition, I have read the paper titled ‘Meta Spatial Interface Augmented Reality Design Guidelines’. And whilst this article is mainly focused upon Augmented Reality experiences, the approaches can be used for other immersive arts productions, such as Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality.
Having read the above, I began to investigate how the theory of affordances can heighten the level of immersion when combined with the laws of UX (from the previous link), and how this leads to a better quality of interactivity. As a trained developer, I can also draw upon my experience of designing code and core game mechanics. The article https://blog.usejournal.com/how-to-write-pseudocode-a-beginners-guide-29956242698 can be used as a reference point for the flow of information you include when designing such experiences and this method is referenced further in subsequent blog post.
After completing a 4-day lab with innovators BrightBlack, I discovered other tools I can use to design my experiences, which I discuss in the section on conclusions later.
It is my intention to use my own practical examples from world building to see what interface designs are offered to creatives, and how using these tools links back to the research I have completed.
cdn2.hubspot.net (2017) Meta Spatial Interface Design: Augmented Reality and Neuroscience, [online], Available at: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2226488/Meta-Spatial-Interface-Augmented-Reality-Design-Guidelines.pdf [Accessed: 20th November, 2019]
lawsofux.com Laws of UX [online] Available at: https://lawsofux.com[Accessed: 19th November, 2019]
Macharia, N. (2018) How to write Pseudocode: A beginner’s guide. https://medium.com/ [online] October 2018 Available at: https://blog.usejournal.com/how-to-write-pseudocode-a-beginners-guide-29956242698 [Accessed: 21st November, 2019]
Semanticscholar.org (2014) The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception [online], Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/eab2/b1523b942ca7ae44e7495c496bc87628f9e1.pdf [Accessed: 14th November, 2019]