Thursday Research Bulletin 6.9.2015

Browser bunnies – and the only question that remains is, ‘why’?”

About this week

This week’s been about finishing some conference paper submissions and getting close to the end of transcribing interviews from my recent data collection.

If time for it, I recommend transcribing interviews yourself. This is the second study where I’m doing it myself, and it really immerses you into the accounts – if you keep an open mind and focus, which is naturally a difficult endeavour. Writing stuff up on a journal helps to not to get discouraged when you are not finding what your consciousness hoped you would, but also when you do “meet” your preconceptions in the data. For this, I applaud the existence of phenomenological epoche/bracketing. Its constant presence in the same room with you keeps you from jumping in to quick conclusions.


My paper with a title, “You Are Your Avatar Is You: Phenomenological Literature Review of Virtual Embodiment in Virtual Environments” was accepted to the annual Curtin Business School Higher Degree by Research Colloquium. Find the current version of the working paper at ResearchGate. In the near future, I hope to expand it a bit to a journal article. I am mildly satisfied with it, but I feel there’s yet more to grasp in this construct.

Find also a recently published journal article, “Big Data Visualisation in Immersive Virtual Reality Environments: Embodied Phenomenological Perspectives to Interaction“, also on ResearchGate. This is an initial work in this area, and I feel the idea of different modes of interaction in VR visualisation environments should be studied further. Otherwise, why bother with interactive 3D VR for big data visualisation if the process of looking at/interacting with data is similar to 2D media? The in-depth question to be asked: instead of just superficially cool, what are the useful affordances, or are there any?

From the web

This reminds me from my undergrad time as a beginning interaction designer. When all else fails, return to Nielsen:

There’s so many new head mounted display tech and news coming out lately that it’s good to have someone to aggregate that a bit. Here’s one for that:

I’m starting to get ideas for further studies and connecting the following ideas with some Minecraft:

As it says: first I was excited, but then I saw it was directed to US citizens. Oh, too bad. I hope cool stuff will come out of this, as at least the marketing presentations are done well for the Hololens:

Interesting (academic) reading this week

Bernhaupt, Regina, ed. 2015. Game User Experience Evaluation. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Gallagher, Shaun. 2015. “How Embodied Cognition Is Being Disembodied.” The Philosophers’ Magazine, no. 68: 96–102. doi:10.5840/tpm20156819

Goodman, Elizabeth, Mike Kuniavsky, and Andrea Moed. 2012. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research, 2nd ed. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Mestre, Daniel R. 2015. “On the Usefulness of the Concept of Presence in Virtual Reality Applications” 9392: 93920J. doi:10.1117/12.2075798

Phenomenology and User Experience of Public Restrooms

roll of money

“roll of money” by frankieleon

In the context of a restroom, the intention of the user is to wipe clean without breaking paper with a finger.

The intention of the developer and administrator of a restroom is to save money by creating and distributing thin and easily breakable paper.

Which perspective to the same context wins in the end, the user’s who interacts in the situation or the administrator’s?

It is in such drastically simple and inconvenient everyday matters where we refuse to see into the actual user experience, and where we end up breaking it.

Facepalms and Lulz: Blind spots in immersive virtual environment research reports in safety training contexts

Image from

Lately I’ve been gathering a literature review in the use of immersive virtual environments (or IVEs) in safety training contexts – this might include construction, mining, military, healthcare etc. A couple of quick observations below, in a non-academic and tightly socially acceptable way – although one could go beyond that.

  1. Terms such as virtual reality, immersive virtual environments, virtual worlds, simulations, serious games, immersion, and presence (a non-exhaustive list) are used however one feels like – nope, no need to justify them. You might have a virtual environment with which you don’t even allow the user to interact, a regular monitor as the output, and you call it a ‘virtual reality’ and a ‘serious game’. A double whammy! Hmm, I really need to bend my head in so many ways to agree with this that I am actually getting an idea: a journal article!
  2. It seems people still have the misconception that virtual environments are about representation. Interaction seems to be something like the evil twin that everyone wants to hide, or pretend it does not exist. Don’t these people play video games, like really?
  3. No one is interested in the actual user experience – oh yeah, that too exists! If you ask “did you like it” and they say “yeah, it was good” I don’t think it should cut as genuine research. At least I don’t have any idea what to do with such comments. But…
  4. …everyone is interested in fidelity, life-likeness or realism (within the little world of object number 2 on this list). How using different input/output devices, level of interaction with the environment, basically the whole shebang of human-computer interaction and user experience is tossed aside in the name of understanding better graphics! I am sure old MUD players would at least now facepalm, if not already before. Immersion has been there for ages, and assigning it all to better graphics is just denying the existence of everything else.

Just a couple of thoughts.