Back

Avatar Menu Designs

These are a series of Unity experiments into how avatars may be customized in VR.

I thought of, prototyped, and coded all of the following interactions.


Drag on to Change

The user has to drag their choice onto the object they want to customize

Pros

  • Easy for users to understand—it could also be themed to make the connection easier to make (e.g. use a paintbrush to change the texture of your head)
  • Users tend to find picking an object up, playing with it, throwing it around, etc. more engaging than having the option be static. There's the ability to be more playful with the interactions, which could serve some experiences well. Similarly, it can be made to feel magical or like a superpower.
  • Feels more like direct manipulation—users feel like they have more control over what they are doing. It's easier for them to fine tune their avatars to be what they want.

Cons

  • Every time you pick something up, it implies you change the appearance of your hands. You either need a different way to change your hands, or change the appearance of your hands last.
  • Can be imprecise and easily accidentally triggered. If the object used to represent the visual choices is very large, it's easy to touch the wrong thing and change it accidentally. There has to be a way to broadly change options, while keeping the ability to fine tune smaller sections.
  • Users may be disappointed if they try to change something that isn't customizable. They may, for example, attempt to customize the environment rather than themselves in this case.
  • Having a physical representation (3D model) of the choices may limit the number of choices you can display at one time. It may also be confusing to users if you control 3D objects using 2D paradigms (e.g. a carousel)
  • Slows down the user compared to a point + click mechanic. To try on everything that they're interested in, they have to go through relatively larger motions and take more time doing so.

Slash to Change

Options are in the space around the user. To select an option, the user uses the swords in their hands to touch the option.

Pros

  • Easy for users to understand the interaction—people's automatic response is usually to hit things when they are presented with swords in VR.
  • Depending on the theming, it can convey many different things that may suit various experiences. For example, it can be themed to feel destructive, powerful, etc. While this is true of many interactions, the act of hitting or slicing an object has a strong connotation that may be used for effect.

Cons

  • Less direct manipulation—the swords create a barrier between you and the option. While more intuitive than a mouse, it's still one step removed from being touched by your hands. It requires multiple steps to change anything other than the items you're holding, because you're essentially using the swords like a pointer.
  • Can be easy for the connotation to feel out of place with regards to an avatar customization experience (e.g. select a face by hitting it with a sword)
  • Having a physical representation (3D model) of the choices may limit the number of choices you can display at one time. It may also be confusing to users if you control 3D objects using 2D paradigms (e.g. a carousel)
  • Slows down the user compared to a point + click mechanic. To try on everything that they're interested in, they have to go through relatively larger motions and take more time doing so.


More to come soon


Colophon

Typefaces used are Caudex and Anaheim
Designed and coded by me, with extensive help from Stack Overflow


elen sila lumenn' omentielvo