NotifiVR: Exploring Interruptions and Notifications in Virtual Reality

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PubDate: January 201

Teams: Georgia Institute of Technology

Writers: Sarthak Ghosh; Lauren Winston; Nishant Panchal; Philippe Kimura-Thollander; Jeff Hotnog; Douglas Cheong; Gabriel Reyes;Gregory D. Abowd

PDF: NotifiVR: Exploring Interruptions and Notifications in Virtual Reality


The proliferation of high resolution and affordable virtual reality (VR) headsets is quickly making room-scale VR experiences available in our homes. Most VR experiences strive to achieve complete immersion by creating a disconnect from the real world. However, due to the lack of a standardized notification management system and minimal context awareness in VR, an immersed user may face certain situations such as missing an important phone call (digital scenario), tripping over wandering pets (physical scenario), or losing track of time (temporal scenario). In this paper, we present the results of 1) a survey across 61 VR users to understand common interruptions and scenarios that would benefit from some form of notifications; 2) a design exercise with VR professionals to explore possible notification methods; and 3) an empirical study on the noticeability and perception of 5 different VR interruption scenarios across 6 modality combinations (e.g., audio, visual, haptic, audio + haptic, visual + haptic, and audio + visual) implemented in Unity and presented using the HTC Vive headset. Finally, we combine key learnings from each of these steps along with participant feedback to present a set of observations and recommendations for notification design in VR.

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