Universal Usability of Virtual Reality
AuthorAl Zayer, Majed
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Virtual Reality (VR) is envisioned to be a mainstream medium that would change how we work, connect, and play. For this vision to be realized, however, VR must be equally accessible and enjoyable for all users irrespective of their differences. This dissertation addresses two research themes that are concerned with the universal usability of VR.In the first theme, the gap in user experience quality between high-end VR platforms (PC VR) and low-end VR platforms (mobile VR) is addressed through the development of two low-cost acoustic interaction techniques for mobile VR. The first technique, PAWdio, appropriates a regular earbud and the smartphone's microphone to enable hand input for mobile VR. PAWdio was found to increase the immersiveness of the user experience compared to the traditional input of mobile VR. StereoTrack is another acoustic tracking technique that enables real walking in mobile VR using a pair of regular speakers and the smartphone's microphone. The interaction fidelity of StereoTrack was evaluated in terms of accuracy, precision, and latency. The potential of StereoTrack to augment existing locomotion techniques for mobile VR was also demonstrated in the context of two VR games.In the second theme, the effect of dynamic field-of-view (FOV) restriction as a technique to mitigate VR sickness on the sex gap in VR user experience was investigated through two studies that considered sex and FOV restriction as the variables under analysis. In the first study, the effect of dynamic FOV restriction on participants' route knowledge was examined using a triangle completion task. In the second study, participants' spatial learning as a response to changing the FOV was evaluated using a virtual version of the Morris Water Maze. Both studies aim to expand our understanding of the relationship between sex differences in spatial abilities, VR sickness, and FOV restriction in VR.