As this technology becomes a more common part of our everyday work life, multitasking will become more prevalent. This in turn brings up new challenges in regards to workflow interruptions. When we are trying to focus on tasks on our computer or phone, we have the option to set our communication status to “Do Not Disturb.” As time goes by, these same notification preferences and settings will become necessary within XR platforms and applications as well.
TL;DR Do’s and Don’ts
- Have a separate area that is designated for incoming notifications.
- Use gradual visual or audio cues that are less disruptive or startling than abrupt alarms.
- Allow tailoring for certain types of notifications such as social media vs phone messages.
- Provide an option to disable notifications.
- Don’t use abrupt alarms or visual alerts that block the user’s view or interfere with their current task.
Examples to try
They place all Oculus-related notifications into a designated area, so that you can see social, system and download notifications together. They go further by filtering the notification types into categories so that you can easily find what you need. You also have the option to set “Do Not Disturb” if you want to focus on a game or experience without being interrupted. Oculus Home is available natively on all of their headsets.
Rec Room VR
By default, their in-app notifications pop up in front of your face, and an icon animates out from your virtual watch. The controller vibrates, and an alert sound is played, directing your attention to your virtual watch. This can be startling and disruptive when you’re not expecting it, which is not a desirable outcome. You can disable notifications in Settings > Experience under your virtual watch menu, but you can’t change their behavior.
This social VR app is much less casual and is mainly intended for recreation — as its name indicates, so the impact isn’t as big as it would be if it were a productivity solution. However, more companies are looking to solutions like Rec Room as an alternative to more expensive collaboration tools, so it’s something to keep in mind.
Rec Room is a free cross-platform experience that works on iOS, PS4, Oculus VR headsets, and Steam’s VR and 2D modes on the PC.
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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.
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