Analysis of users’ heart rate data and self-reported perceptions to understand effective virtual reality characteristics

New study:

Designing engaging virtual-reality (VR) experiences to promote a tourist destination is a challenge for destination managers. There is still limited research on which VR characteristics (i.e., format, field of view, presence of animated elements, presence of sound effects, and perceived realness/vividness) have greater impacts on memory recall (i.e., what a person remembers from the VR experience) and favorable behaviors (i.e., intent to visit, repeat the experience, recommend the product, and engage in word-of-mouth advertising). Thus, to investigate such aspects, this study discusses a protocol that includes the use of heart rate (HR), a specific biophysical data, and self-reported perceptions of users exposed to a VR experience. A case study of a VR experience developed by Ticino Tourism, a regional Swiss Destination Management Organization, to promote a destination was conducted, including the participation of 23 users in pre- and post-experiments that tracked their HR data. The findings show that specific characteristics of the VR experience, such as presenting an unusual viewpoint to the user and incorporating animated elements, hold potential in encouraging the formation of strong memories.