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Virtual Reality UX Case Study | Property Buying Experience

This project was done as part of the Virtual Reality UX Design Course at Designerrs Lab. The project focuses on Designing an Immersive Property Buying Experience in Virtual Reality. This was done in a span of 2–3 months and the design process was followed extensively.

Goal

The goal is to make the home search process experiential by using Virtual Reality.

Approach

As a first time VR designer, my approach was to understand the medium first. I experienced different VR apps on cardboard and Oculus GO. For each experience noted down different ways of interactions

Vision

Visualising a space even before it’s built is a big problem in the home search. Home is one of the biggest investments of a lifetime, yet the decision to buy it is taken by merely looking at photos and videos on flat 2D screen and then doing site visits in different parts of the city. For the Homebuyers, it is very difficult to visualize the location, property, amenities within and the unit they are going to live in. Even after visiting different property sites for 1–2 months they are only skeptical about the space that they are going to live in.

Competitor Analysis

Many real estate companies have put up 360 video walkthrough of their properties on YouTube. I watched 4 of such videos and inferred that they follow a certain sequence. The most common is what am listing down here:

Shadowing

By employing the shadowing techniques during user research, we were able to get an ample amount of data related to users surrounding and body postures and their interactions with peers while they search property. Following were the main research data.

The user is more engaged when there are good

  1. Detailed images of the property.

2. They are interested in knowing the carpet area, super area, ventilation, etc.

3. They are keen on looking for good property dealers.

User Interview

The user interview conducted was based on the shadowing technique and a competitor journey map around the visual representation of properties (images/videos)

Example: I discussed the value of visuals (in the form of images and videos), the trust factor when it comes to property dealers, the finance, ventilation, carpet area, Vastu, etc.

Affinity Mapping

Based on data procured from the user, we grouped it into different journey states of the user;

Search: Filters, Video, Thumbnail, Refer, Shortlist

View: Property, Video, Photos, Map view, Location, Locality

Details: Surrounding, Room, Dimensions, Floor Plan, Window details, Financier, Interior, Amenities, View from the room, Ventilation, Vastu

Based on the affinity mapping we found below features to be included

Locality: Tour the amenities without visiting the property

Amenities: Locate the Amenities experience from your couch

Builder Detail: Get all the details of the builder

Bird’s Eye View: Get the bird’s eye view of the property

Direction & dimensions: Check the Vastu, carpet area
& ventilation details

View Points: Experience each area of the property

Personas

Goal: 1BHK, Ventilation, Locality, Amenities, Carpet Area.

Pain points: Visiting each apartment is a big task. Can’t look to area & locality before visiting. Can’t able to judge the dimension based on only an Image. Builder’s Trust

Narrative of a Persona: The narrative helps to empathize with the user at a deeper level at a particular scene during the search for properties. It records the detailed experience of a user’s decision making. It helps us understand the emotional elevation of the user in stages during a particular scenario. This helps us to ideate or refine features that will enhance the user’s experience. Also, it helps us in creating a user journey map for the product.

Narrative of a Persona

Ideation (BodyStorming)

For ideation, we employed body storming that helped us to understand the ergonomics of the interface with respect to the user. The location of UI elements around the 360 space of the user, their size and different states/color to give signifiers to the user were guided by this technique.

Paper prototype

Challenges & Solution in VR UI

Though I had experience in 3d software like Maya and 3dsMax, designing for VR posed unique challenges as the output of 3d design on software differed when viewed in VR. Quick prototyping in Unity over multiple iterations allowed me to make UI design better

Challenge 1: A lot of time was spent on high poly 3D models of the buildings rather than VR Interactions, delaying the prototype output

Solution 1: Using the basic 3D model allowed to focus on VR Interaction

Challenges — Solution 1

Challenge 2: UI panels block the view of properties, hindering the property viewing experience

Solution 2: Added Rotation & Zoom tools to have control the view zone

Challenge — Solution 3

Challenge 3: Toggle Menu- The user is confused about how to disable the menu feature. That causes the conflict of menu features.

Solution 3: On gaze over one menu will show its features only.

Challenge — Solution -3

Output

  • Nearby will allow showing nearby amenities of the property.
  • Amenities menu will to the visibility of an inside property.
  • The viewpoint will allow viewing a particular area in detail.

Nearby: Tour the amenities without visiting the property

PrototypeClick Here

Amenities: Locate the Amenities experience from your couch

PrototypeClick Here

Apartment Type: Get the availability details of the apartments

PrototypeClick Here

Interested in learning UX Design for Virtual Reality? Join this 12-week course will enable you to get a thorough understanding of Virtual Reality Technology and Design Paradigms. Get mentorship from industry experts from Samsung, Microsoft, Cisco and jumpstart your career as UX Designer for Virtual Reality. Check out more articles on UX Design here on Designerrs Blog.