Essential tips for getting your non-VR app ready for the VR revolution
Virtual Reality (VR) is coming, you hear about it everywhere. While there will be many newly created apps that take advantage of VR, a large portion of apps will continue to be better suited for use with typical finger-to-screen interactions.
These more traditional apps do face a challenge as people use their phones as the base for their VR experience. For example, one challenge for traditional apps occurs once the phone is locked into a VR headset. This function makes interacting with normal notifications a bit of a hassle, requiring the end user to stop their VR session to undock the phone. But developers of non-VR apps can make it easier for users to do basic interactions without having to undock from their VR headset.
3 Tips to Improve Your App
1. Make Your Notification a Complete Interaction
Many phone-based VR systems allow notifications to popup. However, the lack of screen contact limits interaction. Given the confines of a notification, try to make your notification a complete interaction. If the user can read and understand everything they need to know without taking further action they won’t need to exit VR mode.
2. Investigate Allowing Further Interactions to Be Done by Voice
While in the VR experience, some systems like Samsung’s Gear VR allow voice interactions without needing to exit VR mode. If your app notification can be taken care of using an “Ok Google” type of interaction you free the user from needing to exit VR mode. Type the phrase “Android developer voice actions” in your favorite search engine to find out more about how to develop voice actions. As a bonus, supporting voice actions also helps your app when the user is interacting using a wearable device.
3. Minimize Battery Usage
VR apps tend to be battery heavy. Making your app battery savvy will help allow a VR session to last a little longer. I’ve ended more than one VR session because of a low battery warning. The typical VR experience uses about a third of my battery per hour, and streaming in VR uses even more. After encountering the battery warning a couple of times during a VR session, I went into settings and found a popular app that was battery heavy, and uninstalled it. Don’t let that be your app! Check out the free AT&T ARO tool to help streamline your apps battery usage.
As phone-based VR solutions continue to advance, many of these limitations will be lifted. In the interim, with just a little thought, your app can be easier to use in conjunction with VR headsets, and perhaps become a little more popular.
For more on articles on AR, VR and all things video, see our new AT&T Video and VR site.