Experience breathtaking views on top of some of the world's most iconic structures via the Otis Virtual Reality Experience.
Role: Creative Director / Art Director / Creative Strategy / UX & UI Design
Otis Elevator is a sponsor at the CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat) conference in mid-October 2016 in Shenzhen, China. We were asked to create a highly engaging and enjoyable experience to drive foot traffic to Otis’ program room, spotlight brand differentiators, and encourage social media sharing. We created a truly own-able experience called Otis 360° View Virtual Reality Experience, that not only transported guests to its many marque projects from around the world, but also served as a perfect extension of its brand—enabling people to move to new heights. Go from experiencing the Empire State Building to the observation deck at Shanghai World Financial Center. The experience was further enhanced by an audio tour of the views as well as interesting Otis facts. This experience is not only breath-taking, but it also highlights Otis’ global footprint.
When a user wears the VR gear they are completely disoriented. We rely heavily on our vision to give us context of our environment, therefore we need immediate and positive feedback to orient us and reassure us of the new environment that we are experiencing. Otherwise we risk having the experience feel artificial, frustrating and in some cases: sickening.
Here are a few usability quick wins that we learned in the process of developing the Otis experience:
First make sure all of the intended content is directly in front of the users vision. The 360° does have a "safe" zone to consider, so it's important to keep checking the experience as you begin to develop the UI. There is a tendency to place content too far up or too low where the user has to look up to the sky or at their feet in order to view any interactive or directional components.
Make sure the experience has a clear start and finish with a designated time indicated in the experience. We learned that people would spend a long time taking in a view instead of exploring the entire experience, but as soon as we introduced a timer, people felt more compelled to keep exploring the environment seeing that their time was limited.
Make sure to include visual cues that help provide feedback to the user. You can achieve this by showing where the users eyes are pointing in the screen. Some experiences use crosshairs or some other simple device to achieve this. This is essentially a replacement for the mouse in a digital experience. Make sure to include hover states for interactive components. This can be a simple graphical treatment, like scaling, glowing or the classic underline. But this helps reassure the user that they have correctly engaged with a CTA.
Audio feedback is immensely important in a VR experience, especially when engaging with an interactive component to let the user know that they are currently hovering or that they have "clicked" the action. Audio is also a great way to help guide the user to what the desired action is.
Creating More Opportunities
The VR experience was so well received that we tried to extend the experience to have an online presence. The team had captured a lot of material for us to be able to further tell Otis' story of how it has enable mankind to build some of the largest structures in so many culturally diverse places from around the world. We realized that this isn't simply Otis' story, but our story as people and what we've been able to achieve through out history. This led us to discussions with the Connecticut Science Center, to see if we could create an installation that could be both educational as well as entertaining for kids.
Otis signed up for additional locations to be captured in 2018.
The Future of Otis.com
We created a vision piece to help Otis overcome some of its challenges in a highly competitive global market. Otis knew that unless their products aren't part of the initial project plans, it’s highly unlikely that they would be selected as a vendor. We helped them simplify the process of choosing the right equipment, finding service contact information to meet their customers’ needs.
The site vision included a customization feature that would serve regional content based on the visitors location. This would eliminate some of the initial concerns with product availability, compatibility based on regional standards and requirements. The site would also display the Otis regional representative's contact information right on the homepage. This feature was catalyzed by a large sale that fell through when the potential customer couldn't find the appropriate contact for their region.
We also envisioned a real-time remote desktop component that would be integrated into live chat feature. Having access to what the customer is viewing on the site would allow the Otis representative to guide them to the exactly information or product that they are looking for.
We also envisioned a simple tool to help people quickly input their buildings specification to see what products were recommended for their specific project. The best part of the new website would be a user dashboard where they could have their projects saved for future reference as well as allowing the Otis representative to populate it with new project specification and documents that they client would request. A centralized location for all current and future Otis projects to live that can be accessed from any place at any time on any device.