It's not that Hololens is good or Aperture Robot Repair is bad. It's just a different experience for people. When designing for new mediums, consider how much information and guidance users should get inside of their experience. Perhaps developing novel objects such as the “Chent” or the “Spak” is the right choice for your VR experience, but it will slow down your users and cause more effort, especially if you only give them one path to learning it (vision) instead of multiple pathways in the brain (language and vision). Let’s consider what is the right amount of information to help people learn and track information inside of a digital experience.
ACCESS TO LABELS SPEEDS PROCESSING
Language speeds cognitive processing and reaction times. That means that if you want to introduce new objects, make access to language and labels easy. I’m saying “access” to labels because designers don’t have to specifically label a red, round fruit with the word “apple.” However, they can use objects that are easy for people to label with their own mental resources. The following excerpts are from Drunk Tank Pink:
"The notion of that labels change how we see the world predates the blue-matching experiment by almost eighty years. In the 1930s, Benjamin Whorf argued that words shape how we see objects, people, and places. According to one apocryphal tale, the Inuit people of the Arctic discern dozens of types of snow because they have a different words for each type. In contrast, the rest of the world has perhaps several words - like snow, slush, sleet, and ice. The story isn’t true (the Inuit describe snow with roughly the same number of words as [non-Inuit] do), but it paints a compelling picture: it’s much harder to convey what’s in front of you if you don’t have words to describe it. Young children illustrate this difficulty vividly as they acquire vocabulary - once they learn to call one four-legged creature with a tail a “dog,” every four-legged creative with a tail is a dog. Until they learn otherwise, cats and ponies share the same features, so they seem just as doggish as real dogs.”
There was a clever experiment that tested this phenomenon. Due to linguistic differences between English and Russian, cognitive scientists were able to parse how the ability to label a color with specificity affected people’s reaction time.
“Colors and their labels are inextricably linked. Without labels, we’re unable to categorize colors - to distinguish between ivory, beige, wheat, and eggshell and to recognize that broccoli heads and stalks are both green despite differing in tone. To show the importance of color labels, in the mid-2000s, a team of psychologists capitalized on a difference between color terms in the English and Russian languages. In English, we use the word blue to describe both dark and light blues, encompassing shades from pale sky blue to deep navy blue. In contrast, Russians use two different words goluboy (lighter blue) and siniy (darker blue).
The researchers asked English-speaking and Russian-speaking students to decide which of the two blue squares matched a third blue target square on a computer screen. The students performed the same task many times. Sometimes both the squares were light blue and sometimes both were dark blue, and sometimes one of them was light blue and the other was dark blue. When both fell on the same side of the blue spectrum - either light or dark blue - the English and Russian students were equally quick to determine which of the squares matched the colors of the third target square. But the request was quite difference when one of the colored was lighter blue (or goluboy according to the Russian students) and the other was siniy (darker blue). On those trials, the Russian students were much quicker to decide which square matches the color of the target square."