Virtual reality (VR) is now being deployed for therapeutic purposes in diverse sensitive settings, e.g.: immersive VR experiences are used for diversional therapy in aged care and as a therapy tool for people with phobias and conditions such as post-traumatic stress. While these uses of VR offer great promise to benefit people’s lives, they also present significant challenges. This workshop, held at the annual Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference, provided a forum for researchers working in this emerging space to share stories about their experiences of designing and evaluating VR applications in sensitive settings, and to discuss challenges encountered when leveraging these technologies to improve people’s lives.
After attendees shared their experiences of designing and deploying VR in five diverse projects, we did some affinity diagramming with key words that participants had noted down in response to each project discussed. We identified a number of common challenges, including:
- Privacy and ethics
- Participatory design of VR experiences
- Usability and accessibility (e.g., difficulty using hand controllers in ‘active VR’)
- Who is the audience and who is the user?
- Empathy – how can VR be used effectively to illustrate lived experiences?
- Content & depiction/accuracy
- Research environment & translation into real-world settings
See the attached slides for a summary of the workshop.
Romina Carrasco, University of Melbourne
David Green, University of West of England
Eugenia Kim, City University, Hong Kong
Yuan-Kwan Chan, Relief Web, United Nations
Hao Ju, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
Click to download our workshop proposal.