Discussion and conclusions

The results of this study revealed numerous experiential elements that arose from stepping inside the virtual application. Upon a more holistic analysis of both the questionnaire and interview data, we found that there were many facets of the experience that could not come to fruition unless other specific aspects had already been fulfilled.Jordan (1997) introduced a model called the Hierarchy ofUser Needs, where functionality was placed at the bottom of the pyramid, followed by usability, and pleasure resting at the top. This model is often referred to when showing the hierarchy for the experience-related aspects. The base needs should be met before the next level of needs in the pyramid can be met. Functionality and usability are sometimes therefore referred to as “hygiene” factors in this model. Therefore, the data from our study made sense from a bottom-up approach: to be able to enjoy the more hedonic aspects of the experience, the more practical aspects must be satisfied first.Thus, we present a model for the Hierarchy ofUser Experience Components in Immersive Journalism, shown in Figure 11.2.

Hierarchy of User Experience Components in Immersive Journalism

FIGURE 11.2 Hierarchy of User Experience Components in Immersive Journalism.

At the base of our model are the basic physical characteristics of the technolog)' that can affect the VR experience. If motion sickness results from use or if the headset itself is uncomfortable, the user will be distracted from all other elements of the experience. In the next tier, the elements pertaining to usability can be found, such as issues with navigation or spatial understanding and the quality of the audio and images. Pixilation of the viewing content can be highly distracting and cause annoyance, and is therefore on one of the bottom tiers of the model. These are the basic elements that need to be of high quality for the user to be able to focus on other aspects of the experience. Storytelling sits next in the pyramid, and includes the core elements that will connect the viewer with the content, encouraging exploration and fostering engagement. As explained, storytelling is an integral piece of journalistic VR and, if the basic experiential components are first fulfilled, the story is what will grip viewers and pull them deeper into the experience and on to the top tier of the model: Satisfaction. For a user to be fully satisfied with an immersive experience, they will have most likely connected emotionally with the content and story and will be more motivated to try a similar VR experience. They will feel fulfilled and content after the experience, likely to form positive memories related to it. In addition to the elements within the pyramid, our model also integrates the influence of immersion and presence. Related to the more practical qualities of the experience, immersion increases as the bottom tiers are fulfilled. Similarly, presence increases as the more subjective needs are met in the higher tiers.

Based on previous research in the field and our own experimental observations, the Hierarchy of User Experience Components in Immersive Journalism offers journalists, researchers, and designers a basis on which to create positive VR experiences. It is also possible that these results could be applied toVR content in other fields and industries, at least when it comes to building memorable experiences and engaging UX.The novelty of VR will not last forever, and content creators can no longer rely on rollercoaster gimmicks or 360-degree content too blurry to even recognize. Users are looking for well-crafted adventures and immersive experiences that pull them away from the binds of day-to-day life. We hope our model introduces the most important experiential elements of VR that will allow journalists and other content creators to impact each viewer in a memorable way, aiding in the next level of VR creation and experiences. Future work should build upon the current model to better understand the specific elements within the tiers and discover further elements that might be missing, such as the effect of the context of use and possible differences between individual preferences and current creation standards.

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