Virtual worlds can be overwhelming due to all of the things that fight for the your attention. Similar to gaming, providing in-world wayfinding is a good way to direct people and keep them focused on the objectives. This is especially useful for training simulations since you want them to focus on certain areas, often in a specific order.
Although there aren’t good examples of heads-mounted AR and MR readily-available or easily-accessible by the general public at the time of writing of this article, it is on the way. These general guidelines can be applied to those platforms as well.
TL;DR Do’s and Don’ts
- Keep the wayfinding subtle, yet distinctive so that it doesn’t add visual noise.
- Use the current position to trigger the next wayfinding cue.
- Make the wayfinding diegetic (a part of the world) when feasible to increase immersion.
- Don’t overwhelm people with too many visual wayfinding cues at once.
- Don’t obscure the person’s view of the environment.
Recommendations for training simulations
- Have a guided path for them to follow to make sure they go through all the lesson points.
- Once they have successfully completed a step, light up the path for the next point — especially if this is how they would do it in real life. For example, if they need to walk a perimeter for rounds, set up wayfinding to support this during training.
- Show a visual indicator for points that have already been completed.
Free example to try
The tutorial walks you through a set of steps in a guided tour of your home space or home world, which is a rooftop apartment. They use spatial audio and animated bouncing arrows to direct your attention to the next location. The pattern used for the bouncing arrow matches your teleportation target Bezier as further reinforcment that you can teleport here.
A sign also appears telling you to go to the bouncing arrow. Once you successfully complete the task at that location, the next bouncing arrow appears. This is a great example of both wayfinding in world, and guiding someone through a tutorial for training purposes.
This app is available for free on all Oculus platforms, Steam VR, and in 2D mode on the PC through Steam. When you first launch the app, they give you the option to go through the tutorial. If you’re already experienced with AltspaceVR, you can still access the tutorial through the main menu.
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I’m an Immersive Tech UX Design Professional with over 22 years of experience designing for kiosks, websites, mobile apps and desktop software for many well-known and not-so-well-known companies.
I’m not speaking on behalf of or representing any company. These are my personal thoughts, experiences and opinions.