By Mentally Friendly
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Ursula Lane-Mullins

Experience Director, ACME Virtual

We talk about feelings and emotions in VR, the virtual world, optimising technology for our bodies, and more.

 
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Ursula co-founded mixed-reality start-up ACME Virtual in 2016. Coming from a UX/UI background she is interested in how UX paradigms can be applied to VR. She is currently working on developing a UX framework for Virtual Reality.

 
 

ON APPLYING 2D INTERFACE SYSTEMS TO VR

The way I used to describe UX is the feeling you get when you interact with a product. To me it always comes from feeling and emotion. I think VR is especially important in that area as it’s a very visceral medium.
 

ON DESIGN AFFORDANCES AND SIMPLIFICATION

There have been a lot of complex UI systems. We don’t need all this stuff. In the real world we have signs with one or two words on them.
 

EXPLORING FEELING AND EMOTION IN VIRTUAL REALITY

You know when you go into a cinema and the lights go down you know that the film is about to start. It’s a sign that something is about to happen.
 

TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO WORK WITH OUR BODIES

It’s a really uncomfortable experience when you really think about using a mouse and a little computer and the way our bodies are hunched up all over a machine.

The whole point of [augmented reality] is to ‘come back to us’. How do we interact? We interact with our hands... we don’t need to hunch over, I can have all my ‘screens’ around me.
 

TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO WORK WITH OUR BODIES

It’s always offering something new, it taps into that part of us that gets us addicted and hooked into anything that is unpredictable. We’re obsessed with that.
 

ON THE FEELING OF BEING TRICKED IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD

Are you AI bots, learning about humans? How do I even know you are real?
 

ON HOW VR IS INTERPRETED BY THE BRAIN

Your brain doesn’t necessarily distinguish a real environment from a virtual environment.
 

ON APPLYING 2D INTERFACE SYSTEMS TO VR

We don’t walk around looking at bunches of text in the sky.
 

ON AI POSING AS HUMANS

These robots appear real on the outside, but a part of you knows that it’s fake. There’s a feeling it creates in humans, it’s like this disgust or repellent feeling where things aren’t quite real.
 

ON THE LOSS OF AGENCY WITH PREDICTIVE AI AND ZERO INTERFACE

If everything is already there in your brain then what are you going to look forward to learning about? We’re all driven by trying to get better at something, or learning something, or trying to think of something a different way.