VR UX: Fighting VR Sickness

In this episode of VR UX, learn about VR sickness and some tricks that can help make the experience more comfortable and immersive for your users.

I'm Seth Schneider and this is VR UX. In this episode, we discuss VR sickness, and some best practices to avoid it. VR sickness is the uncomfortable feeling that can happen when your eyes and your inner ear are telling your brain different things about how you're moving. Like motion sickness, it is quite common and can cause nausea and even vomiting.

Modern VR systems have greatly improved user experience, but sickness is still a serious concern. Responsible developers should consider these tips when creating VR applications to ensure the highest level of immersion and comfort for their users. Responded accurately to users movements at all times, preferably near typical human locomotion speeds. Strive for zero latency, especially in head tracking.

Take Intel Innovator Pedro Kayatt's game, Apocalypse Rider. It's a Mad Max inspired motorcycle game that uses natural body movements for control. This results in little to no VR sickness. As you tilt your head, the motorcycle moves left to right. Using the natural movement of the player and matching the in-game visuals is an effective way to reduce motion sickness.

You should also maintain frame rates equal to or greater than the hardware refresh rate to avoid judder. 90 FPS is considered the minimum comfortable frame rate. There are other tricks, like re-projection, that can be used to keep the experience smooth and comfortable but should be avoided if possible. Give users the opportunity to calibrate stereo offset or enter pupillary distance. Avoid moving objects that take up a large portion of the user's field of view to prevent feelings of self-motion.

Locomotion is a challenge. Make acceleration infrequent and short, preferably instantaneous. In teleporting, provide adequate visual cues to retain bearings and preserve original orientation. These aren't hard and fast rules, but by following these suggestions, you can cut down on VR sickness, increase immersion, and make your VR experience more comfortable.

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