VR UX: Social Safety

This episode of VR UX gives you insight into how to provide a safe environment and experience for your users in a multiplayer or social VR setting.

Hi, I'm Seth Schneider. And this is VR UX. In this episode, we'll talk about social safety in VR to make users feel more comfortable in your social environment.

Letting the user know what is to be expected in the VR space before they are loaded into the world is very important. Unintentionally putting your users in situations that feel demeaning, dangerous, or uncomfortable should be avoided. Getting the user's consent before entering an online social environment is one way to let users know what to expect and to let them decide how to proceed. It is also important to let users know if the social environment includes both a visual and audio presence. Give them control over how they sound and what they hear from others.

Another way to help users feel comfortable is to give them control over their online avatar's appearance and identity. For example, don't assume users want their Steam account name to be their screen name in social VR. Allow them to confirm or change their screen name before entering a social situation. Same goes for choosing body types, skin colors, hair colors, and height. They should have total control over these aspects.

Remind users of the social consequences of their actions. It is easy to separate what is going on in the virtual world from the fact that you are interacting with real human beings. Provide ways for users to encourage good social etiquette. For example, visible ways to flag bad actors can sometimes be enough to prevent the bad actions in the first place. Finally, if you are giving a demo of your VR experience at an event or in a social setting, keep an eye on your user to ensure they are physically safe. Give people a verbal cue before you touch them to guide them away from an obstacle or boundary. Remember, they are in a different world and might not be expecting your touch. As developers, it's our responsibility to create a culture of safety in social VR.

Thanks for watching. Please comment below with topics you would like to see explored. Don't forget to like this video and subscribe to the Intel® Software YouTube channel, and we will see you next week for more VR UX.