The application of an immersive design process to investigate theories for motion sickness in virtual reality data visualisations
University College Cork
Virtual Reality (VR) technology allows a person to be taken from their current environment and into an entirely new, digital and immersive one. Because of this capability, it has been used in several fields as a data visualisation tool to completely immerse researchers and industry professionals in their data. In industry, companies derive value from their data by relying on their employees’ ability to create meaningful information from it. Data literacy, in brief, is the ability to effectively manage, use, and understand data to produce meaningful information. However, given the recent increase in volume and complexity of data, the data literacy ability of these employees is now often inadequate. It has been speculated that, by addressing the core pillars of data literacy with VR instead of more traditional 2D visualisations, this problem can be addressed more effectively. This thesis conducts research to examine how this can be done. A common concern of creating VR visualisations is that they can be problematic to design in terms of the design process used. The design process for immersive visualisations can often be based on trial and error. This is not the optimal process for design as it is more time-consuming and relies on the designer guessing what the client wants instead of relying on requirements and feedback from them. To address this problem, this thesis details a novel design process which was created using the Design Science Research (DSR) methodology. This is then tested and iterated on in a real- world industry collaborative project. Another concern of creating VR experiences is the adverse effects on the user. Motion sickness is one of the most prominent physiological effects users experience. However, while there have been numerous studies into what causes it and how it can be mitigated, there has yet to be a study into why it occurs in VR data visualisations and how severe it could be. While the Sensory Conflict Theory is the most widely accepted reason for motion sickness in VR games and simulations, it has yet to be determined if this is the case for motion sickness in VR data visualisations. This thesis describes an experiment that was conducted to investigate this issue and determine how severe the effect of motion sickness could be in VR data visualisations. 2 The research objective of this thesis is to examine how an immersive design process for data visualisation can explain the effects of motion sickness. As a first step, data literacy is examined and, once a more comprehensive understanding is achieved, the research then investigates how VR can theoretically be applied to increasing data literacy. Once this theoretical grounding is provided, a practical application of VR is then examined which consisted of creating a prototype immersive visualisation in conjunction with State Street to visualise their numerous financial product and service offerings. This project not only resulted in a completed prototype but also in a research chapter detailing the creation of a novel process to design immersive data visualisations. Once this design process was created, a new research question was discovered in terms of how much of an effect motion sickness can have in VR data visualisations and what are the potential reasons that can cause it to occur. This led to an experiment where two different navigation conditions were implemented to determine the theory that best describes motion sickness in VR data visualisations and how severe motion sickness could be. Through these chapters, several new insights into immersive technologies and VR can be gained. Firstly, a greater understanding of the relationship between VR and data literacy can be appreciated. Secondly, the thesis shows how to design an immersive visualisation in a more efficient manner. Finally, potential reasons for, and the effect of, motion sickness on users of VR data visualisations are detailed.
Virtual reality , Data literacy , Design process , Motion sickness
Hill, U. 2020. The application of an immersive design process to investigate theories for motion sickness in virtual reality data visualisations. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.