Considerations for making a splash with VR for mobile

Wireframe design image of mobile application dialog options

With the advent of VR quickly reaching a $200 billion market share, there is a very good reason for investing time towards understanding the tech’s capabilities. If you’re considering VR development for use in a collegiate environment, mobile deployment may be your best option. One initial solution on the mobile VR front is Google Cardboard, which uses smart-phones as a vehicle for experiencing virtual reality. However, Cardboard is on the road to deprecation in favor of Google’s new mobile VR solution, Daydream. Whichever mobile VR platform you’re considering, the foremost concern in an academic environment is student access. Essentially, all students need to be able to experience your content, regardless of having a VR viewer to drop their phone into. That requirement has tripled our team’s design & development requirements. Basically, we are making our VEU VR application usable on Daydream, Cardboard, and also under regular, non-VR mobile application conditions.

We’ve discussed some of the challenges of developing a unified interface for Daydream and Cardboard users in a previous post, so here we’d like to ask a question regarding the inclusion of non-VR mobile device usage. If the user were to launch our VEU application on iOS or Android without a VR headset, the input and control methods will work like a typical mobile app (gesture-driven nav, etc.). But, because we are building in Unity 3D, the User Interface is configured for VR, which doesn’t play well with conventional UI system for mobile devices. This has presented us with a distinct challenge—what’s the best way to build scalable, symmetrical UI that locks appropriately to mobile dimensions, bundled in the same build with the VR deployment?

We open this question to your thoughts and feedback since we have not yet arrived at a solution.

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How do we build scalable, symmetrical UI that locks appropriately to mobile dimensions, bundled in the same build with the VR deployment?