It was an absolute pleasure to participate in the World VR Forum 2017 event in Crans Montana. The World VR Forum brings together professionals and enthusiasts in the fields of immersive design and media, focused on virtual and augmented reality technologies. The event combines talks and workshops as well as demos, so that participants can explore the current state of immersive experiences. A big topic in immersive experience design is storytelling and how the structure of stories are realized in VR and AR projects.

I structured the talk around story structure (with a focus on the Hero’s Journey), world building, and the way a story can be driven by character or the environment in which the story takes place. In VR, the question becomes who the audience represents, either a viewer seeing the story unfold, or as a character in the story experience. Currently many VR experiences focus not on a linear story line, but seek to toe the divide between a tangible spatial experience or traditional story.

The story structure naturally defines the direction of the user experience (UX) design of an immersive project. Given the large variation in VR and AR technologies, there is no single established form for what a VR or AR story should entail. We can then employ techniques from UX research, such as customer or user journey maps, and combine this design approach with the tools used by film makers, such as storyboards or mood maps. Pre-visualization tools can additionally be used in parallel with script writing to build the technology needs of the immersive project alongside the story.