Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Session Information

TitleVR Experiences for Kids: Design Best Practices
Presenter(s)Tobi Saulnier
TimeFriday, October 21, 2:30p-3:30p
LocationMSU Union Ballroom
FormatSpeaker
DescriptionMost of the hype associated with VR has been focused on high end devices, aimed at core gamers or sophisticated technical or scientific applications. We believe the true game changer is the accessibility that consumer level devices and experiences offer to those traditionally disenfranchised by lack of equal access to “wow” experiences that inspire and excite early learners. Google Cardboard and the related Expeditions experiences open this world to students of all socioeconomic groups, and all ages.

This talk will explore the design learning associated with creating a suite of five games for young audiences. These games range from a VR-book (The Three Little Pigs), to two motion managed exploration experiences (Stone Age Snap, and Squeeds), to two movement based play experiences (Super Box Forts, RAWWWR). Key design challenges unique to VR, and this age group, will be described, including

  • Dealing with the ergonomic challenges faced by a young audience
  • Managing the performance constraints of BYOP consumer VR
  • Accounting for young players lack of separation between real and virtual
  • Accommodating the current unknowns related to impact on vision and brain development
  • Strategies related to the current age rating for most VR devices


VR technology has the potential to transform the learning experiences of today’s preschoolers, similar to how access to the world wide web democratized access to information, however new design theory and heuristics are needed to unlock this potential.

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