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.A web interface, welcoming the user "dkobylarz", and showing them how to get started with OrchestrateVR.


Education isn't always exciting.


Develop a platform that allows educators to create immersive educational experiences, and learners to be able to engage with these in virtual reality.

- UX Designer & Researcher (Me)
- Unity3D Engineers
- Web Developer
- Chief Technology Officer
- Director of Brand and Product
- Director of Content
- Design Web interfaces for educators / creators
- Design VR interfaces for learners
- Define information architecture of learning management system
- Conduct user research for each user type

My first step in completing the 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) on people who have these roles and seeing what kinds of positive and negative experiences they already had with their workflows.

Have they already tried education that is immersive? 

Have they used several learning management systems ("LMS") and found 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?

This resulted in a few dozen pages of feedback to synthesize, glean, and turn into actionable items.

A post-it note diagram, with several post-it notes of various colors. The title reads "OrchestrateVR - User Roles, Permissions". Text of the actual post-it notes are small and purposefully illegible.
An image of a basic interface, with a dashboard with buttons for Community, Browsing, Seeing statistics, and taking assignments.

Iterative Wireframing

After synthesizing initial generative and evaluative feedback, I made headway into wireframes to start the design process. This entailed taking my actionable items and turning them into basic layouts to then share with the team and to iterate on.

These designs are for the web based learning management system, for teachers, authors, and content creators to make and manage educational experiences.

( Low fidelity )
Low fidelity wireframe, with simple squares and a basic layout.
( mid-low fidelity )
Mid fidelity wireframe, with simple squares and a basic layout, but containing some color and more graphics.
( mid-high fidelity )
Mid / High fidelity wireframe, with a more refined layout and colors.
( high fidelity )
High fidelity wireframe, with a very refined layout and branding choices included.

The below designs are for the VR interfaces, for learners to engage with the created educational experiences.

( Low fidelity )
Low fidelity wireframe, with basic shapes and layout.
( mid-low fidelity )
Mid Low fidelity wireframe, with a slightly more refined layout.
( mid-high fidelity )
Mid / High fidelity wireframe, with an updated layout and some branding choices included.
( high fidelity )
A high fidelity wireframe, with branding choices, and a refined layout.

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. Having too much information on screen at once makes the experience less immersive, while having too few actions and information prevents your user from accomplishing 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 while allowing users to accomplish their tasks.

An image of four smaller images, with two columns, the left column titled "intrusion", and two interfaces under it, and the right column of "immersion", with two interfaces under it. The left column doesn't have a "window pane" effect, so you can't see through the interface. The right column does.

Legibility Testing

Part of this design strategy entailed the creation of what I call "legibility testing", where I placed text underneath / behind the interface, 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.

An image with six smaller images, showing various levels of "legibility testing" of the number five behind a glass window pane effect.

My findings were 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 and to not feel like it was interrupting their experience.

An interface in a virtual reality environment. It is asking the user a test question, with two answers and a submit button. The setting is an anatomy lab.
An interface in a virtual reality environment. It is asking the user a test question, with two answers and a submit button. The setting is an anatomy lab.
An interface in a virtual reality environment. It is asking the user a test question, with two answers and a submit button. The setting is an anatomy lab.

User Experience Problems and My Role in Solving Them:

- 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.

- 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:

An image of a web interface for OrchestrateVR. It looks like a video editor, and has a modal question appearing in the screen.