The 4 dissonance effects of Virtual Reality (VR)

  • When designing products for VR, it seems to be that you need to consider 4 major dissonance effects. These dissonance effects can be used to create moats for the products and can help you think through newer experiences:

    • Focusing Effect: when you put a VR headset on, you are ultra focused. Nothing in your real physical world matters anymore. Distractions are dramatically less likely than a user being on a computer / their phones. The friction to remove the headset & move away from the dark environment in the VR headset to do a different task is too high, as such most of the time users are ultra focused for longer periods of time.
    • Time Compression: research shows that users in general think they have spent 50% less time than they actually did when they wear a headset. So a person could be playing for an hour, but think that they have only spent 30 minutes. What if productive work was done on VR? Would it make us feel more tired than we expected to be after the tasks? or does time compression also have the effect of energy preservation?
    • Higher ranges of motion: a research paper (citation incoming) showed that for people with knee pain, they were able to jump higher when wearing a VR headset than without. The primary reason for this is that the dissonance with reality helps reduces your pain symptoms.
    • Empathy generator: wearing a VR headset gives you an immersive POV, by seeing the world in this immersive POV of a different individual, you are more likely to generate empathy for others.

    I am particularly excited about the future of VR, it looks like a toy now & is primarily used for gaming, but I believe the VR of the future will look and feel dramatically different from what we see today.

The next big thing will start out looking like a toy. Read: