07IEEE 07 07
VR 2007 07 Program: Panels 07 07


  1. Reconceptualizing “Virtual Reality”: What is VR?
  2. Design for Experience?!

1 Title: Reconceptualizing “Virtual Reality”: What is VR?


  • Jeffrey Jacobson, PublicVR, USA
  • Chadwick A. Wingrave, University of Central Florida, USA

Recent advances in immersive interactive media offer the opportunity to reconceptualize the construct of “virtual reality” (VR).  The equipment and topics in VR have changed, but has its nature?  Has the definition of VR faded or has it become more entrenched?  Has the breadth of topics included in its borders expanded or contracted as diverse communities of practice adopt VR and related technologies?  What about AR?  What about practitioners in online social virtual environments who now refer to their work as Immersive VR?

The VR research community has inadequate nomenclature to discuss our work cleanly, especially across disciplines and to the public.  To address this, this panel brings together a disparate group of active VR leaders to answer introspective questions including, importantly, What is VR?


  • Doug Bowman, Virginia Tech, USA
  • Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • Robert Jacob, Tufts University, USA Eric Klopfer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Joseph J. LaViola, Jr., University of Central Florida, USA
  • Albert (Skip) Rizzo, University of Southern California, USA

2. Title: Design for Experience?!


  • Steffi Beckhaus, University of Hamburg, Germany
  • Robert W. Lindeman, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA

Designing the user experience is a topic normally attributed to art, games and theme park entertainment, but not typically to "serious" VR research.  There, we may be concerned with the experience of our "unprimed" user with the bare installation we provide.

When VR applications are presented, typically much more information is conveyed to the user than the bare planned presentation, whether on purpose or by accident. The wording of the invitation, the details of the introduction, and the visibility of the technical environment are factors that influence the way a user experiences our applications and demos; they are all colored by, and add to, the mind and experiences of the user. This fact can also be used in a supportive way. Priming, for example, can help to fill in gaps that the technical environment is not able to convey, and the user's frame of mind can be guided to complete and enrich an experience.

The purpose of this panel is to discuss the topic of accidental and purposeful experience design, the pros and cons of "designing for the user experience," and what can be done to guide the user’s frame of mind in VR and games. The panelists will provide different perspectives of this topic including:

  • The user’s mind: ingredients of a user experience
  • VR therapy and user experience
  • Priming versus not priming in psychological testing
  • The theme park designer’s way to prime users
  • The game designer's approaches to creating a user experience


  • Craig Alexander, Turbine, Inc., USA
  • Steve Danuser, 38 Studios, USA
  • Larry F. Hodges, Clemson University, USA
  • Mark Mine, Walt Disney Imagineering, USA
  • Mary C. Whitton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA