Placing the audience first in virtual reality storytelling

The d.school's Media Experiments team has been busy on a number of different projects, among them a human-centered approach to designing story for virtual reality audiences. The project was overseen from our end by Media Experiments Project Lead Tran Ha and featured designers Katy Newton and Karin Soukup as media designers. The project lead to a number of valuable insights around audience experience (AX) design for virtual reality storytellers, which they chronicle over on Medium

Here's the question at the heart of their work: 

As VR storytellers, we are charged with molding experience itself into story, and none of our storytelling tools have prepared us fully for that. As we stumble our way into this new, mysterious medium, we ask ourselves, “How do we tell a story for the audience when the audience is present within it?”


Being bodily present in the story seeds the need to be active, to “do.” But how does the audience know what to do? And how do we take their needs and perspective into consideration? To even scratch the surface of these questions, we need to better understand the audience’s experience in VR — not just their experience of the technology, but the way that they understand story and their role within it.
— Katie Newton & Karin Soukup

We highly encourage you to continue reading through their entire piece over on Medium, "The Storyteller’s Guide to the Virtual Reality Audience". Also, make sure you get all the way down to the end for a great list of collaborators well beyond Tran here at the d.school. It's a great example of how strong, radical collaboration can lead to valuable learning in a still-growing space.