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Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti2040080

A Phenomenological Framework of Architectural Paradigms for the User-Centered Design of Virtual Environments

Institute of Computer Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, 01-248 Warsaw, Poland
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in User-Centered Interaction Design)
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Abstract

In some circumstances, immersion in virtual environments with the aid of virtual reality (VR) equipment can create feelings of anxiety in users and be experienced as something “frightening”, “oppressive”, “alienating”, “dehumanizing”, or “dystopian”. Sometimes (e.g., in exposure therapy or VR gaming), a virtual environment is intended to have such psychological impacts on users; however, such effects can also arise unintentionally due to the environment’s poor architectural design. Designers of virtual environments may employ user-centered design (UCD) to incrementally improve a design and generate a user experience more closely resembling the type desired; however, UCD can yield suboptimal results if an initial design relied on an inappropriate architectural approach. This study developed a framework that can facilitate the purposeful selection of the most appropriate architectural approach by drawing on Norberg-Schulz’s established phenomenological account of real-world architectural modes. By considering the unique possibilities for structuring and experiencing space within virtual environments and reinterpreting Norberg-Schulz’s schemas in the context of virtual environment design, a novel framework was formulated that explicates six fundamental “architectural paradigms” available to designers of virtual environments. It was shown that the application of this framework could easily be incorporated as an additional step within the UCD process. View Full-Text
Keywords: user-centered design; architecture; virtual reality; virtual environments; phenomenology; user experience; human-computer interaction; cyberspace; place user-centered design; architecture; virtual reality; virtual environments; phenomenology; user experience; human-computer interaction; cyberspace; place
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Gladden, M.E. A Phenomenological Framework of Architectural Paradigms for the User-Centered Design of Virtual Environments. Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2, 80.

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