Individuals working on digital 3D models have trouble feeling real perspective of size and space while creating and designing environments that do not yet exist with traditional and available 3D modeling tools.
Team 5 Flags is a group of students at the Centre for Digital Media, collaborating with Archiact Interactive to produce a prototype of an immersive 3D Modeling tool for virtual reality capable of further development into a complete immersive design tool that could be used as an internal design tool, architectural visualization, or as tool for prototyping living environments that reduces the drawbacks of the design process in terms of time and efforts between sketching, prototype and navigation.
Unlike traditional modeling tools, our solution is a virtual reality 3D modeling tool that allows users to visualize, create and manipulate in real dimensions with intuitive controls where the feeling of space and perspective in realistic dimensions is core.
We created this experience under agile development, where we started with research, prototyping, user testing and development with continuous iterations dependent on user feedback.
My role on this project was of Lead UX Designer. I worked on concept design, art style, functionalities, interaction design, environment design, user testing, prototyping, and user experience.
We tried to nail it down to the very basic problem that creative professionals face while using the standard desktop applications. We wanted to make sure that our VR experience can provide a solution to those existing limitations, for that we drafted core personas after extensive user research and interviews.
User stories were created based in observations from potential target users modeling in Sketch Up. We gave them a common goal to see what are their primary tools and what are their pain points when designing.
During the research stage, the team tested different modeling tools. A common goal was given to all team members: Design a room that has four walls in order to discover the design process and how intuitive the tool was for different users.
To provide an intuitive User Experience we performed different user tests through the discovery and production stages. Behavioral testing allowed the team to create a user experience as close as possible to users natural behavior in VR environment.
We developed two versions of menu interaction for the toolbox in SketchVR. A/B Testing allowed us to determine which one performed better with users. A/B testing was also used to evaluate the performance of extrude tools with two prototypes.
We performed numerous tests to understand user behavior in a virtual setting where creation process is intuitive. From controller mapping to icon design, interaction states and visual clues, everything needed to be simple but informative. We tried to keep the information load as minimal as possible. We were able to achieve a high level of interaction design through various user tests.
We broke down each function in user flow steps to understand the minimal steps required to complete any process. This allowed us to create the right Information Architecture for each function design.
Buttons spacing, grouping, interaction state and text feedback are important details to keep. These are important for visual clarity and consistency. Option A is always attached to a controller, whereas Option B is always snapped on the environment, free of any controller attachment.
Working in VR requires constant absorption of light emitted through the headset screen. Making the primary color black makes the experience relatively easy on the eyes. Blue, Grey and white shades are used as complimentary colors to black, which are great for visual feedback and clarity when used on black. All these colors compliment well with each other and can be used in any combination.
Buttons are designed to reflect the 360 degree experience within VR, that’s where the round shape is important. Also, having no edges on the basic shape structure of the buttons leave less information load on the user as there are no sharp edges involved. There are 4 main segments that form the button; icon area, color zone, clear space and outline. Clear space adds transparent section to the button which is see through. Using different colors on the segments, different button color combinations can be created.
An interactive 3D modeling tool for creatives. During our demo we had to timebox users session as most of the users did not want to stop creating. This project was made in collaboration with Archiact Interactive and has not been officially released yet. It is planned for display at Vancouver Science World as an innovation piece.
The next iteration of this project has been done by Archiact Interactive, where the Project is now called Scheme.