User Experience and Interface Design Best Practices for Virtual Reality


Virtual Reality (VR) is being applied far beyond gaming, gaining popularity across various industries from education to healthcare. It’s estimated that the AR/VR market will reach $58.1 billion by 2028.

Given its immersive nature and incomparability with other available technologies, VR simulations bring exceptional results — for example, 63% training knowledge retention and 84% user engagement during a simulation.

However, simply creating high-quality 3D models and ensuring bug-free performance isn’t sufficient to fully harness the potential of VR. Thorough consideration of the Virtual Reality user experience (UX) and interface design is essential to avoid losing the unique opportunities this technology offers.

In this article, we will explore some best practices, such as establishing a sense of presence and body, which will help you to create proper Virtual Reality UX/UI design and maximize the value of VR experiences.

The Importance of User Interface and Experience Design in Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality offers unparalleled opportunities for immersive experiences across various domains, unconstrained by the limitations of the real world. VR’s immersive nature transports users into an enhanced version of the real world, making them feel comfortable in it.

In this immersion lies the uniqueness of VR, bringing all the benefits mentioned above. And the main goal when building a virtual experience is not to lose that sense of immersion. If users don’t believe what they see and treat the experience essentially as a movie, this will greatly reduce the effect of a simulation.

To avoid this, it’s important to prioritize VR user experience design, ensuring consistency in the simulation’s purpose and context, creating an interactive environment, and establishing a strong connection between the user and their virtual avatar.

VR user interface design also plays a critical role in maintaining immersion. Interactions with the virtual environment should closely mimic real-life actions, minimizing cognitive load. The rule is simple: the more overloaded the interface is, the weaker the illusion of immersion.

Common principles of UX/UI design, such as consistency, user-centricity, hierarchy, and usability are also essential in creating immersive and user-friendly VR solutions.

How to Create Immersive User Experiences for VR Software

To craft immersive UX for VR software, consider the following steps:

  • Understand the goal of the simulation. This will help you define the complexity of your future solution and the level of interactivity required.
  • Find the medium. Explore the capabilities and limitations of VR technology as well as the technical requirements for rendering UX design immersive environments in real-time. This helps you avoid designing a simulation that will be difficult to create within your capabilities.
  • Create a detailed simulation script. By understanding the required environment, sequence of action, roles included, etc., your specialists can build coherent VR UX design.
  • Engage specialized UX professionals. This may involve VR designers for crafting immersive and intuitive interfaces and 3D artists for creating lifelike virtual assets and characters. To assemble a proficient team, consider partnering with a specialized AR/VR software development company. They can provide the necessary specialists and offer guidance on achieving top-notch user experiences.

In addition to understanding the fundamentals, consider some best practices for building immersive UX design for VR.

Best Practices for Designing Immersive User Experiences in VR

When creating Virtual Reality UX/UI design, the goal is to ensure that users feel fully immersed in a simulation. If they perceive a virtual experience as real, while understanding logically that it’s not, your VR solution is truly successful.

To achieve this, consider the following factors:

  • the illusion of place;
  • the illusion of plausibility;
  • embodiment features; and
  • hardware capabilities.

Establish the illusion of place

The environment serves as the first touchpoint of the user and virtual experience. If it isn’t well created, you’ll undermine the user’s belief in reality from the outset.

The first rule here is that the place and context should align with the purpose of the simulation. For example, it would be difficult to convince a user to concentrate on learning materials if they appear on a beach instead of a virtual classroom.

The second rule is to create high-quality graphics, textures, lighting, and animations that resemble those in reality. The more realistic the visuals, the easier it is for users to suspend disbelief and feel immersed in the virtual world.

In an ideal world, you would add sensory feedback when users touch physical objects and odors if they smell them. However, currently available technologies can’t fully provide such capabilities.

Ensure the illusion of plausibility

While the illusion of place focuses on creating a convincing sense of presence within the virtual world, the illusion of plausibility takes this a step further, ensuring that interactions within that world feel realistic and coherent.

Consider the following scenario. While observing two virtual characters communicating in the next room, the user may initially believe that these avatars are real. However, if the user attempts to interrupt the conversation and the avatars fail to respond, the illusion of “being in reality” breaks.

So, your virtual experience needs to be truly interactive. For example, users should be able to interact with any virtual person and receive a response. Interacting with objects, such as rocks, books, etc., the user should have the ability to at least pick them up and put them down. This will help create a compelling sense of presence, enriching the overall user experience.

Provide embodiment features

Another important component that helps users believe in a simulation is the representation of body parts. In the real world, we see our hands when reaching for items. In VR, however, users may see rays or lasers, especially when using controllers.

If you aim to reach high-level immersion, consider providing representations of hands instead of controllers and incorporating other body parts. This allows users to perceive their virtual form as real, enhancing the sense of presence.

Consider your hardware capabilities

Unfortunately, currently available hardware may not have sufficient power to ensure the smooth performance of advanced simulations.

In such cases, it’s better to sacrifice, for example, the illusion of plausibility and provide interactions only with vital objects, rather than end up with overlapping performance. If users turn their heads but the environment fails to adjust smoothly, other advances become fluff, as the sense of reality is disrupted by poor hardware performance.

So, strive to find a balance between the limitations of your hardware and your VR UX design to ensure a smooth and immersive experience.


In essence, successful VR experiences hinge on seamlessly blending technology with user-centric UX for VR to create captivating and convincing virtual worlds. Maintaining immersion is the cornerstone of VR’s appeal.

To achieve this, prioritize crafting detailed simulation scripts, assemble a skilled team, establish the illusion of place and plausibility, and consider your hardware capabilities. These factors are paramount for creating truly immersive Virtual Reality user experiences, delivering unparalleled VR value across domains.

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