Come Look at This: Supporting Fluent Transitions between Tightly and Loosely Coupled Collaboration in Social Virtual Reality


Collaborative work in social virtual reality often requires an interplay of loosely coupled collaboration from different virtual locations and tightly coupled face-to-face collaboration. Without appropriate system mediation, however, transitioning between these phases requires high navigation and coordination efforts. In this paper, we present an interaction system that allows collaborators in virtual reality to seamlessly switch between different collaboration models known from related work. To this end, we present collaborators with functionalities that let them work on individual sub-tasks in different virtual locations, consult each other using asymmetric interaction patterns while keeping their current location, and temporarily or permanently join each other for face-to-face interaction. We evaluated our methods in a user study with 32 participants working in teams of two. Our quantitative results indicate that delegating the target selection process for a long-distance teleport significantly improves placement accuracy and decreases task load within the team. Our qualitative user feedback shows that our system can be applied to support flexible collaboration. In addition, the proposed interaction sequence received positive evaluations from teams with varying VR experiences.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Early Access