Virtual Field Studies: Conducting Studies on Public Displays in Virtual Reality

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PubDate: April 2020

Teams: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich & Tampere University,Bundeswehr University Munich,The German University In Cairo,University of Glasgow

Writers: Ville Mäkelä, Rivu Radiah, Saleh Alsherif, Mohamed Khamis, Chong Xiao, Lisa Borchert, Albrecht Schmidt, Florian Alt

PDF: Virtual Field Studies: Conducting Studies on Public Displays in Virtual Reality

Abstract

Field studies on public displays can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. We investigate the feasibility of using virtual reality (VR) as a test-bed to evaluate deployments of public displays. Specifically, we investigate whether results from virtual field studies, conducted in a virtual public space, would match the results from a corresponding real-world setting. We report on two empirical user studies where we compared audience behavior around a virtual public display in the virtual world to audience behavior around a real public display. We found that virtual field studies can be a powerful research tool, as in both studies we observed largely similar behavior between the settings. We discuss the opportunities, challenges, and limitations of using virtual reality to conduct field studies, and provide lessons learned from our work that can help researchers decide whether to employ VR in their research and what factors to account for if doing so.

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