Virtual Reality as an Empirical Research Tool - Exploring User Experience in a Real Building and a Corresponding Virtual Model

Kuliga, Saskia Felizitas, Thrash, T., Dalton, Ruth and Hoelscher, Christoph (2015) Virtual Reality as an Empirical Research Tool - Exploring User Experience in a Real Building and a Corresponding Virtual Model. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54. pp. 363-375. ISSN 0198-9715

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.09....

Abstract

Virtual reality allows highly-detailed observations, accurate behavior measurements, and systematic environmental manipulations under controlled laboratory circumstances. Therefore, it has the potential to be a valuable research tool for studies in human-environment interaction and ‘pre-occupancy' building evaluation. In order to fully understand VR as a valid environmental Virtual reality (VR) allows for highly-detailed observations, accurate behavior measurements, and systematic environmental manipulations under controlled laboratory circumstances. It therefore has the potential to be a valuable research tool for studies in human–environment interaction, such as building usability studies and post- as well as pre-occupancy building evaluation in architectural research and practice.

In order to fully understand VR as a valid environmental representation, it is essential to examine to what extent not only user cognition and behavior, but also users' experiences are analogous in real and virtual environments. This work presents a multi-method approach with two studies that investigated the correspondence of building users' experience in a real conference center and a highly-detailed virtual model of the same building as well as a third study that virtually implemented systematic redesigns to the existing building layout.

In the context of reporting users' experiential building evaluations, this article discusses the potential, prerequisites and opportunities for the implementation of virtual environments as an empirical research tool in the field of human–environment interaction. Based on quantitative data, few statistically significant differences between ratings of the real and the virtual building were found; however analyses based on qualitative data revealed differences relating to atmospherics. The main conclusion of this article is that VR has a strong potential to be used as an empirical research tool in psychological and architectural research and that future studies could supplement behavioral validation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: user experience, pre-occupancy evaluation, ral building; research tool, building usability
Subjects: C800 Psychology
K100 Architecture
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
Depositing User: Ruth Dalton
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2014 14:47
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2017 15:06
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/17171

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