Human Factors influencing the VR environment

My first blogpost was called „Designing for VR“ – but currently I’m not sure if Virtual Reality is the right term but rather Mixed Reality.. To be honest I’m not sure yet but hopefully I’ll find out in my further research. 

As I have stated in my previous post the transition from designing flat interfaces to 3D worlds can be challenging for designers, especially since there are no best-practice approaches yet and a lot of experimenting is required. But there are also more possibilities because the user’s entire environment can be a potential interface. Nevertheless, there are some things to know about human factors, that should be considered in order to create enjoyable interfaces.  

Distance should be between 0,5m and 20m. Objects too close make the user cross-eyed and anything too far away will be blurry. 

Eye movement
The primary UI elements should be in the field of view (FoV), which is about 60°. This means, for the human eye an angle of 30°-35° looking left to right and up and down are comfortable. 

Neck movement
By moving our head the field of view can expand to about 120°.

Natural Gaze
Due to the fact our heads are naturally tilt down a little bit and our eyes are looking up, the average gaze is shifted 6° below the calculated point. 

Everything outside this area is described as the Curiosity Zone – the user needs a reason to explore this area. Even though VR enables the user to move around freely, they will sit or stand at one point most of the time. Also the arm length (average 50-70cm)  is an important factor when designing for VR/MR. Can the user interact through gesture or voice? Are controllers needed? 

Designing for 360° around a user. (Illustration by Jacob Payne 2017).

Payne, J. (2017). UX 101 for Virtual and Mixed Reality – Part 1: Physicality. Retrieved from:

Further literature:
Designing for Mixed Reality by Kharis O’Connell