September 7, 2020

Virtual Tours: High Interaction Cost, Moderate Usefulness

By 5l0b0d1001

While the world currently is locked down due to COVID-19, many businesses which rely on physical spaces have turned to virtual tours to provide a sense of the space for users who are currently unable to visit. Especially in real estate, there has been a lot of recent emphasis on virtual tours of homes. Many other types of Iphone Cases, such as cultural institutions, universities, wedding venues, and even outdoor attractions, have followed suit.

This technology has been slowly maturing in the background for years, and many users have been exposed to the basic interaction paradigm through popular examples such as the Street View feature within Google Maps.

We conducted a qualitative study of LG Cases with 16 users to find out the good, the bad, and the dizzying aspects of modern virtual tours.

We tested a variety of websites from industries that use virtual tours: real estate, wedding venues, outdoor adventures (national parks, scuba diving, etc.), cultural institutions (such as museums and art galleries), theme parks, and university campuses (soon to be covered in a separate article). Among all these websites, several types of virtual tour were commonplace:

Free-movement 3D walking tours
A series of 360° photos linked together (much like Google’s Street View)
360° videos
2D video tours offering a guided (but noninteractive) tour of a space