Usability Test for loaning PlayStation Virtual Reality headsets

In October 2017 the Libraries acquired PlayStation Virtual Reality headsets. We had questions about how easy it would be for patrons seamlessly use these devices. We conducted usability tests that revealed a few tips patrons will need to know.

Overview

In October 2017 the Libraries acquired four PlayStation Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, two each for D. H. Hill and Hunt libraries. We had questions about how easy it would be for patrons to check out these devices from the Ask Us desks, connect them to the console, and seamlessly use them. We conducted usability tests in November in the Hunt Library Game Lab that revealed a few tips patrons will need to know.

Research Questions

What difficulties will patrons have with a PlayStation VR headset, a device unlike any other in our current technology lending program? Most gamers will be unfamiliar with the device. How intuitive will it be for them to connect the headset to the console, wear it, and use it?

What we found

What worked well

  • Connecting, selecting a game, and playing the game.

Issues

  • None of the participants found the two headset adjustment buttons without help.
  • VR interface on the PlayStation console was difficult for participants to reach.
  • One cable in the kit confused participants.
  • “Move controllers” were extraneous.

Suggestions from participants

  • We had imagined a multi-day lending period to enable patrons to take the headset and learn it over time. Participants told use they expected a 2-4 hour lending period during which they would plug and play, like with other games.

Recommendations and Changes

  • Create an instructional card to go in the PlayStation VR headset kit that describes the 3-4 step process to connect to the console and points out the headset adjustment buttons that participants did not notice. (Note that other complex game devices coming in the future are also likely to require this.)
  • Reposition the VR interface on the PlayStation console for greater ease of use.
  • Install a cable in the Game Lab rather than provide it in the kit; don’t make patrons connect it. This follows Jakob Nielsen's Usability Heuristic of “Error prevention.”
  • Remove “Move” controllers from kit; loan them separately. This follows Jakob Nielsen's Usability Heuristic of “Aesthetic and minimalist design.”

How We Did It

We brought 4 undergraduate students to the Game Lab at Hunt Library, one at a time. We asked them to inspect a kit that contains the headset, Move controllers, and cables. Then we asked them to connect the device to the PlayStation console, select a game, play the game for a few minutes, and talk aloud. Participants received boxed lunches as incentives.

 

Team