What the hell is water?

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

I’m going to show you an example of “water” that VR experience designers are aware of, but may not design for sufficiently. 

I created a small experience that requires your perception and action.  Start scrolling and follow the instructions below.  

 

 

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So how easy was it to do that task?  How quickly could you accomplish the task of raising the correct arm? 

Now let’s make an adjustment.  You can probably guess where this is going.  Scroll again and follow the new instructions. 

 

 

 

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How was that? I requested you to take the same action in both cases, same symbols, but the automatically coupling that you have in your brain already likely made the second task easier and faster. 

This is an extreme example of digital experience that either subverts or supports action-perception couplings that your user already has.  The relationship between action and perception is in continuous flux from the world, through the sensory system, into your body and back out into the world again in the form of actions that many people may not be consciously aware that they are forming and re-forming them. 

 If you want to create the easiest and most immersive experiences, you should strengthen bonds between your user’s perceptions and actions in order to make the easiest and most immersive experiences. 

In this blog you'll learn about how human thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors are affected by physical characteristics—embodiments of abstract concepts—and how you can capitalize on these effects to improve the reception and use of your digital experiences.

 

Further reading

Transcript of the 2005 David Foster Wallace graduation speech to Kenyon College. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/sep/20/fiction