Within The Youtube application, is an option to watch the video in Google Cardboard mode. Google’s Cardboard experience is as simple as it gets for an interaction today in this medium. The physical movement of your head directly translates the movement of a virtual cursor fixed to the centre of the users vision. Thus the user needs to manoeuvre their head to a specific button fixed in virtual space and press the single button.
I fully expect this to evolve to include patterns for many interaction models for AR and VR, however, it feels Google has been intentionally restraining the user to aid their understanding in this new medium.
I raise this because understandability had been our main issue throughout. Even when testing it with people, we continuously need to remind them to point their device at the marker. This is not something direct to the medium, but rather our current implementation.
It was at this stage, following feedback from a recent crit that we had moved the projects interaction model from a planned on-screen tapping and slider interface, taken directly from the established 2D web and app interaction patterns, to one where the physical proximity of the device to the AR marker plaque would act as a slider to minipluate the UI in response.
Above is a simple mockup I made as a web app to demonstrate a UI idea to my teammate. The slider seen on the centre bottom would directly translate to the distance of the device in AR.
With the maths to manipulate the filling of a shape already created, it didn’t take long for my teammate to implement this idea. We presented this concept to the class, with mixed feedback. On one hand it was one of the clearer ideas, however, it was clearly underdeveloped. this initialed a series of rapid iterations to the UI design. Here a re a few of the ideas.
I though to introduce the spinning hand idea from the web implementation into this clock. However, this would change the conceptual model of how we are communicating time dilation. Rather than giving a defined period of time and showing a contrast to this by reducing how much of this set timed observed, as a percentage say. Now, it would portray the speed of time as a continuous visualisation. I feel this concept is easier to understand, but no easier to communicate.
Following feedback, in class that the horizontal bar breaks from the existing pattern of a broken circular dial we have become accustomed to in cars, will moulded the speed/velocity bar to a semicircle, that comes with the advantage of a contextually situated section of display area to provide the necessary information for the clock. But as you can see, the understandability remains poor, and the use of the medium is much ignored.
Next, a bar chart. Back to the previous conceptual model of a defined period of time, a bar chart works well, as they tend to, to clearly illustrate the contrast and the context of the time that will pass, however, this unimaginative concept pleases for a solution that appreciates the nuances of the concept it is illustrating.
This marked in the end of our experimentation with modifying the UI attached to the display. We did try moving these elements down the Z axis into the AR world, providing some space between the display and the UI. (Think of it as attaching the UI to a windscreen rather than your glasses.) However, this presented the same set of problems with no benefit.