Interactive virtual experiences are known to be a viable medium to elicit emotional reactions from their users and to provide meaningful experiences. However, establishing meaningful interpersonal connections through interactive experiences can also be difficult, due to the toxic online environments that can stem from anonymity, and a general online hostility towards women or other traditionally under-represented groups. This project aims to create a welcoming online virtual space that gives users the opportunity to establish meaningful interpersonal connections with one another. These connections are facilitated by encouraging users to work together, interact with each other, and talk about themselves while in the virtual space. These connections are made more impactful by utilizing Virtual Reality, which allows for intuitive and immersive communication through gestures and body language. This paper describes the process of creating a welcoming virtual space, specifically focusing on the technical challenges of building a networked virtual reality experience, the design process in promoting positive interaction between users, and the implementation of accessibility features for both the VR experience itself and the social situations it affords.
Herrschaft, Gene, "Facilitating Meaningful Interpersonal Connections Through a Virtual Space" (2018). Honors College. 337.