At the start of 2017, Air Canada approached Neutral Digital to create a VR experience to promote their new 787 Dreamliner Business class seats. We designed the digital experience as well as providing the hardware, which would be shipped to international exhibitions and events and used by thousands of people around the world. You can see the project for yourself here.
During the testing of the experience, we encountered a continual issue – users would accidentally click the ‘Oculus Home’ button on the controllers. This was jarring for the users as it took them out of the experience, so we needed to find a workaround.
The Oculus Touch controllers are designed with a button that allows access to Oculus Home – the ‘menu’ central to the Oculus Rift experience – at any time. Users often pressed this button accidentally while getting used to the experience and discovering the controls. Suddenly, without being aware of what they had done, they would be out of the experience, and to anyone observing it was also unclear whether there was any issue or whether this was simply part of the flow.
Our initial approach toward finding a solution was digital. We tried to disable the button inputs using a key remapper or through modifying the controls in Unreal Engine – the software we built the experience in. However, the manufacturer had ensured that the Home button could not be tampered with as it was seen as essential to the everyday use of the product for retail customers. This meant we had to pursue a physical solution.