When a Perfect Experience is Critical, VR Testing is Key
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) have become synonymous with video gaming and sports training, but this immersive technology goes far beyond play. Currently, VR devices and methods are used in a variety of sectors from healthcare and education to manufacturing and design.
Because the experience is connected to a person’s senses, including not only sight, but touch, hearing, smell, and sometimes taste, the experience needs to meet the user expectations without fail. A single glitch can impact the efficacy of the product and damage the user’s perception of the device or software.
VR testing is key in addressing the challenges to mitigate error in an otherwise seamless experience. Let’s break it down.
QA Innovation Through VR, AR, MR, and XR
Most of us have heard of VR and AR in everyday language, but there are a couple of other VR style technologies that should also be considered (and they all require ample testing). MR refers to mixed reality while XR is referred to as extended reality and includes a combination of the three used together.
The technology is expanding with growing potential conducive to business improvement across the globe. With widespread adoption in many sectors of business, immersive tech is pushing innovation in education, training, design, and sales.
Along with the evolution of tech comes the inevitable challenges, and with immersive tech, the complications lie in understanding both the hardware and the software. The standards have yet to be set so with the innovation that these applications deliver, QA and QA testing innovation will follow suit.
The major challenge that immersive technologies present in VR testing is their inconsistent compatibility for automation. While some QA companies are working hard to implement automation in some areas of VR testing, the manual testing process can also be physically draining and is uncharted territory for many QA companies. An experienced test team must be able to stand up to the physical and mental testing pressures that VR presents.
But before we talk more about testing the technology, let’s look at some of the specifics of the industry, including statistics that are driving widespread adoption across multiple business sectors.
Growth in User Base and Revenue
The industry is exploding such that the speed of growth is remarkable. Statistics research experts suggest that the global VR market size is projected to increase from less than $5 Billion in 2021 to more than $12 Billion by 2024. Currently, the market numbers look like this:
- VR Market Size: $4.8B
- VR Gaming Market Size: $1.4B
- VR Headset Unit Sales: $6M
Global Hardware research expert, Thomas Alsop indicates that in 2020, consumer and enterprise virtual reality (VR) revenue amounted to $3.89 Billion, a reduction from the previous year as a result of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, VR revenues are expected to climb once more to $4.84 Billion. Alsop’s research also indicates that the sector most likely impacted by immersive technologies over the next 12 months will be healthcare and medical devices.
The healthcare sector is already using VR for training simulations and 3D research, but they will join education and manufacturing in utilizing the technology for immersive teaching experiences and software development as well as product design and prototyping. While VR often refers to a simulated experience different from the real world, for an industry like healthcare, the simulation is as real as it can get.
A comprehensive and informed VR testing strategy is vital in making sure the simulation is sustained and seamless.
Other sectors adopting the immersive tech revolution include:
- Real estate
Considering the number of industries using the technology, the challenges for VR testing companies are clear and come in two parts: hardware and software.
Currently, the VR headsets are designed as a bulky wraparound display (HMD) that eliminates exterior light to create the best experience possible. Leading US Brands including Oculus, Sony, HTC, and Valve are continually working to improve the hardware profile by making the headset smaller and more comfortable. They are hoping that a more practical design in the hardware will broaden the consumer audience while expanding the use of VR across more industries.
For the VR testing environment, the focus is on software integration.
The goal of VR testing is to help provide the best VR experience by analyzing the functionality, reliability, and compatibility of the product. Performance testing on the software as it translates from headset to peripherals and app is key. Additionally, usability testing will ensure the set-up, install and optimization of the hardware and software for the most efficient and robust VR experience possible.
While much of QA testing is done with a focus on empathy from the user’s perspective, VR testing magnifies that approach. Virtual Reality puts the user inside the system both physically and mentally which adds a new level of user requirements. Physical immersive technology can sometimes result in motion sickness, seizures, eye strain, and headaches. A full understanding of what could go wrong physically is critical in the testing process. As such, understanding those mental and physical user expectations is vital in a successful VR testing program.
QA Testing Expertise Inform VR Testing Results
At QualityLogic, we approach VR testing like we would any other quality assurance project — with a clear scope of the work, broad perspective of the technology, and innovative expertise driving the strategy. Our experienced testing technicians are familiar with the VR platform specifics and partner closely to determine both client goals and user requirements. We can combine manual and automated testing to ensure a meticulous and efficient process and timeline. Finally, all VR testing is done in the U.S. to avoid time zone, language, and cultural barriers.
We define milestones, clear deliverables, and expert solutions tailored to your needs with benefits as follows:
- A team of VR/AR test technicians brings a level of expertise and innovation to an optimized, efficient, and quality testing process.
- A team of VR/AR-specific test case writers to maximize the effectiveness of our test plans.
- A protected VR testing environment that allows our engineers and test technicians to interact in a space that is safe, consistent, and conducive to the full analysis.
- VR/AR testing on the latest hardware or specific equipment as required.
Immersive technology and quality assurance go hand-in-hand, and as VR, AR, MR grow so too do the strategies to test for them. QualityLogic has spent over 3 decades growing along with the technology that we service, so as the VR sector evolves, the adoption of the technology grows, and VR testing is needed, we intend to be there for whatever it takes to help make the experience smooth and the business a success.
With a quick, informal call, we can help you assess your options and clear the clutter or quell the chaos for the straightest line to success.