A Virtual reality retail experience

The Challenge

Virtual Reality is primed for mass adoption and the possibilities are being defined as we speak. Rethink the typical retail experience and create a experience that is compatible with all currently available VR headsets and the devices they support.

The Goal

Create a virtual reality retail experience that is not limited by physical or online retail. Reimagine what is possible in promoting and selling a next generation smartphone within the virtual reality space.

Our Team's Virtual Reality Experience

Before starting this project our team felt that we needed to experience virtual reality and how people would interact when using it. We were invited down to Moxie’s FX lab to use and experience current virtual reality equipment on the market that we will be designing a retail experience for. We were introduced to the very basic entry level  Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear and finally Oculus VR. This was a great initial step for us to get started with the project. None of the team members had ever used VR before and it was a great introduction to the equipment and possibilities that virtual reality holds.

Potential for VR in Retail

After experiencing virtual reality at the MOXIE FX Lab, I researched retail markets that I thought could best utilize this technology to its full potential, while giving the user an memorable experience of the brand or product. I believe the markets with the greatest potential in utilizing virtual reality that would impact a user is within Retail Stores, Consumer Product Experience, and Brand Advertising. Another key benefit for virtual reality is that you can set up mobile kiosks or a both for product demonstrations and use it anywhere.

Virtual Reality Experience and User Research

Without ever using or experiencing Virtual Reality our team went down to use some of the latest VR equipment on the market today. This was a great first step and gave me a better idea of what is possible with this type of technology. 

Initial Findings from User Research

• User said that swipe motions feel natural.
• VR experiences will need to consider user habits as they form over time.
• The technology to recognize a user’s hands exists.
• Users will most likely be sitting during the retail experience.
• What kind of affordance for “selecting” and “moving” can we create
   for people who aren’t able to use their arms?

User Feedback about Purchasing:

• The camera is absolutely important when purchasing a new phone. 
• How the phone functions within the user's everyday activities.
• Size of phone is a consideration. 
Feedback from Salesmen: 
• Salesmen say that user's focus on features first. 
• Salesmen use specs to compare devices if necessary.

Initial Concept & Ideations

Ideas, Ideas and more Ideas.... One main concept I came up with was to split apart the phone and have the user go inside the phone to explore it's different capabilities and functionalities. Each part of the phone would become a different experience for that part of the phone for the user to interact with. 

VR Site Map & User Flow

I created the site map, and a initial user flow was created from our client feedback and user research. The site map was very straight forward, we were given the clients approval to move forward with the initial concept presented.

VR Prototyping & User Feedback 

One of the biggest challenges of this project was to come up with a way to prototype a virtual reality experience in a two dimensional space. Many concepts were explored. I finally came up with an idea of drawing each experience the user would go through on large paper and attaching them to tables created an immersive environment for the user to test the prototype in. This was extremely effect and we got valuable feedback from this exercise.

Wireframe and Final Userflow

I created an medium fidelity wireframe in Axure for more user testing before the final virtual reality experience was created. After all the initial rounds of user testing the the final user flow was created and the final high fidelity prototype was built,

Final High Fidelity Comps

After all the testing was finished and the final tweaks were made to the prototype, I got started on designing the high fidelity comps for the presentation. I created all the comps in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and exported them out as PNG's so they could be used in the interactive presentation. It was a ton of work but in the end, the client was overwhelmed at what we had produced in just 3.5 weeks.

"It's about moving beyond the rectangle. How do you document [virtual reality] from a UX viewpoint? This is brilliant ... I would've taken Danny three months."
-Jerry Hudson