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An image of the OrchestrateVR interface. It has a background image of a patient's room in a hospital. The inferface uses glassmorphism techniques, where you can see through the interface to some extent. On the interface is a profile area, an area for assignments, progress, and one for explore.

Problem:

Education isn't always exciting.

Solution:

Develop a platform that allows educators to create immersive educational experiences.


My role as the sole User Experience Designer:
- design VR interfaces for learners to engage in educational experiences in a VR headset
- design Web interfaces for educators to create these experiences
- refine information architecture of learning management system so training directors can manage learners and classes

My first step in completing these above tasks was to get a good grasp of who would be using our platform. With this in mind I employed a strategy of conducting various methods of user research (interviews, surveys, usability tests) to people who have these roles and seeing what kinds of pain points and positives they already had.

Had they already possibly tried education that is immersive? 

Have they used several learning management systems and landed on one that they liked? 

What issues would they expect to run into when it came to implementing hardware in a classroom environment- like VR headsets?

What were the current limitations to roles for users inside of their LMS? What could each specific user role do and not do?

Intrusion vs Immersion

The whole point of virtual reality is to immerse the user, right? At the same time, what does an interface do? It interrupts to afford a user with actions and information. This poses a problem; have too much information on screen at once, and the experience is less immersive. Have too few actions and information, and you aren't allowing your user to accomplish their goals.

My solution to making this work was to be extra strategic with decisions towards affordable actions and information, along with using specific design styles to not only avoid breaking immersion, but also to elevate the experience.

With this strategy in mind, I used glassmorphism to style the interface. This allows the interface to become more homogenous with the background setting while also allowing users to accomplish their tasks.

Legibility Testing

Part of this design strategy entailed the creation of what I call "legibility testing", where I placed text underneath / behind the interface, and tested various amounts of depth of the glassmorphic effect and used this to determine what percentages of the effect should be used to maintain the balance between legibility and illegibility.

Too much legibility, and I could assume that too much information of the background scene would be focused on by users. Not enough legibility, and the glassmorphic effect would be useless, and thus the interface would be too much of an intrusion.

My findings here showed that between 10-25% depth of the glassmorphic effect (a combination of background blur and gradient opacities) was the sweet spot for users to see just enough of the setting behind the interface for them to not feel like it was interrupting their experience.

User Experience Problems and My Role in Solving Them:

Problem:
- Complex use cases, differing user types with overlapping and at times contrasting needs

My Solution:
- Extensive user research, including continuous usability tests with both real users and prospective users to gain insights into current needs and potential business needs. I personally advocated for usability tests at each step in the product design process, along with managing them including script writing, facilitating, and synthesizing feedback into actionable items.

By checking in with users often, it allowed me to follow their personal experiences with any pain points and closely follow their journey in learning our platform. By prioritizing consistent user check-ins, it allowed me to untangle contrasting user needs with a deeper and constantly up to date empathy for what users were trying to do and what was stopping them.

Problem:
- Onset of AI tools & practices interjecting into familiar workflows and creating uncertainty

My Solution:
- Advocated for adoption when useful and necessary, but also handling specific messaging and tone with human-created assets to continue an organic approach. This included decisions like using real human voice over recordings for onboarding videos to support this approach.


OrchestrateVR is a live platform that can be experienced at:

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