Firstly we need to know what is Virtual Reality Testing? Technology is constantly moving forward and VR (virtual reality) applications are making their own place in the global market and in our lives. Let see the three important fundamental concepts before going towards ahead:
- What is usability ?
- What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
- What are usability tests with common users?
Basically Usability is a quality attribute that indicates the ease of use of a certain application. VR is an artificial environment created by software. This way of perceiving the environment is completely immersive and supported by two essential physical devices: the first one is headsets and another one is computer/console/mobile phone, which will create the virtual environment.
Usability Test consist of short sessions where potential users interact with the application on a specific environment, while an expert team observes, records and measures the course of that interaction. In VR, the essence of this is session-based exploratory testing which is exploring through the application in order to find and achieve what was asked in a fixed time.
Usability test performed at the right time, when the prototypes and the application are ready. It is highly recommended the testing team perform a heuristic test before the users are given the devices. The reason for that, are many issue that can be detected in this instance and fixed before the usability test.
VR Usability Testing Methodology
Now we will see some aspects of the methodology for usability test on VR application are as follow:-
A reasonable number of members in a recruit participants is at least five. This number enables you to get a collection of different options. The user’s profile has to match the target audience of the application. It is important to know the skills, virtual reality experience and the interests of the potential participant. Different levels of expertise will be required for making the session more effective and interesting.
Arrange the place and materials
It is absolute necessity to have technical equipment like headsets and devices to generate the virtual reality. In addition, access to what the user is seeing in every moment and a sufficient quantity of free physical space are required, because users are expected to move when they are exploring.
There are different types of headsets available, with different qualities and prices. It is not necessary to buy an expensive device for using virtual reality, but as prices rise the experience gets better. Of course, the quality of the VR device depends on what kind of application which needs to be supported, and the requirements of the device like PC, Console, Smartphone for running it.
The following mind map focuses on Hardware: a few examples of accessories, aspects to take into account like comfort, recommendations of requirements for PC and different brands of headsets.
Plan to Test
Write the test cases or goals of the test, what the user will do and explaining the instruction to he/she.
In this step, the team should think about some useful metrics for measuring the process example:-
- Number or error by severity
- Health issue and side effects produce. (Yes / No)
- Times that the user needed help with the device.
What to test ?
- User interaction with the VR interface
- Moving across different spaces inside the app.
- Execution of flows
- Test the application on basic of what it is not supposed to do
- Ensure every requirement is covered
- Divide and conquer
- Functionality works as expected, and therefore, functionality should not work unexpectedly.
- Isolation from the real world
- Real world does not interrupt the experience
- Immersion is achieved completely
- 360 degree view
- User feels expected sensations.
Make the participants feel comfortable
Before starting the session some points are remind, the lab needs to be ready and make comfortable and the expert team should have a conversation with the participants. During the conversation, the team should explain how the session will take place. It is very important to clarify to remove the burden of proof from the users.
During conversation expert should explain how the devices work, because users might not know how to use them.
Record the participants initial reaction
When the test begins, ask the user first impression of the new environment. It is important to take that the user should feel well, otherwise if they scared or not feels well then they cannot continue.
Record the usage of the application
During and after the participants process it the responsibility of the evaluator to pay attention what user saying verbally and expressing in nonverbal way. According to plan ask the user to perform actions on the application and navigate in certain way.
If the user get blocked or cannot achieve a certain requirement, then give next task to the user so the session follow its planned course. It’s need to remember it’s not users fault if he/she not achieve the requirement. On the evaluator side, need to write everything reaction, expression, the amount of time required to complete an action, issue found by user, etc.
Evaluate the session and create documentation
Now after all the process need to create documentation which should include these points:-
- A resume that synthesize the session and the extracted conclusions.
- User profile.
- User’s physical symptoms during the session.
- User’s experience in the virtual environment.
- Metrics results of metrics.
- List of the problems founded and possible solutions