The target audience for my VR experience, would in reality be mostly everyone as littering and helping stop the contamination of the oceans is something that involves everyone in all places. Regardless if you live in a city that may not be next to the ocean, your litter can and often does end up in the ocean eventually. It would be an educational experience that would be accessible in museums and at temporary exhibitions located on or near busy beaches across the UK and other countries.
There are a few points that I need to keep in mind; Virtual reality is something that would be more interesting for kids and young adults as this sort of technology is more likely to be used by these age groups. The reason for this I think is that VR content developers often tend to focus towards the gaming market. The gaming demographics are high for the 18-35 age group but as well for the 10-18 range, these stats vary depending on the source. Of course there can still be people of all ages interested in this technology and specially now days.
Since this is meant to be an educational experience younger people are more likely to be influenced by such an experience so that is another reason why I want to keep the age group from teens to young adults.
As for the content some of the information and imagery used might become a bit distressing for younger age groups. This is something that could be avoided by providing a kids version of the experience perhaps. I do think it would be important though to have the information and reality of the experience be as unfiltered as possible because it’s the only way to really drive home the issue, and I don’t think there is much point in sugar coating the environmental impacts as it would defeat the purpose of the experience.
There are some usability issues that may deter older age groups such as when using a VR headset a condition called “simulation sickness” may occur. This is when users of such VR headsets experience symptoms including dizziness, nausea, sweating and vomiting. Simulation sickness is when your brain thinks you’re moving, while the body senses everything is still. Even though this is something that can affect anyone, I can definitely see this as a deterrent for older folks to try it out given prior warnings. For kids another issue that excludes them are the headsets; the headsets available now days are not “one size fits all” therefore they are often clunky for children to wear and would not allow for a comfortable and full experience.
I created a few different persona profiles and ran them through my VR experience to get an idea of how different people might interact with the concept or potential users for it. The first one Johnny an 18 year old student from the UK. Johnny and his mates like going to the beach on the weekends during the summer. They like to take some beers and food with them as usual, but after a long day out on the beach when it’s time to head home they don’t see any bins anywhere near so they decide the ‘small’ amount of rubbish they have left thinking it won’t really make that much of a difference and surely someone will pick it up anyway. Johnny and his mates leave most of their rubbish behind because “they can’t be bothered” and don’t think it’s really going to make much of a difference.
This sort of profile I think is very common with younger people as they are in an age when they often don’t really care about those kinds of things and may just not be aware or chose to ignore the problem. It’s also a problem that is not apparent in ‘real time’ and thus may not see the consequences of their actions. Having had a previous exposure to my VR experience concept it might have made him more conscious of his actions.
The second persona is Kelly 30 from Australia, she likes going snorkelling. Through out recent years she has seen an increase in litter in the ocean reefs she likes to visit. It’s slowly becoming a part of her regular visits and she is disheartened by what she sees. Kelly has first hand experience of such a problem and is very aware of it, but seeing that there is an exhibition out there trying to promote awareness and making people proactive at least in a virtual sense she hopes this will get people to be more responsible. She can recommend this to her friends and family that may not have the opportunity or just don’t like swimming in the ocean as much as she does.
Mat 25 is on a day out in London, he doesn’t have a particular interest in the ocean but he likes anything to do with technology and gaming so this virtual experience at the Science Museum grabs his attention. After checking it out he learns a lot about the issue and gets inspired to make a change himself. He decides to share it with his friends on social media, and thus spreads awareness even more.