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Inclusive creation
of VR environments

VR4ALL is a European Erasmus+ project whose aim is to is to investigate the use of immersive VR in the preliminary phases of the design thinking process, emphasising on inclusive design.

How can a product be accessible, usable and inclusive? Products have to incorporate the “Design-for-all” methodology

“Design-for-all” stands as an umbrella term referring to the design of products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors.

Empathising with users is the first and foundational phase in the design thinking methodology.

The most effective way for a designer to gain empathy comes in the form of immersion: direct experience of the lives,contexts, environments, and activities of the targeted audience so as to experience first-hand what it feels like to be the enduser.

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Empathising with users is the first and foundational phase in the design thinking methodology.

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But why VR?

Virtual Reality (VR) represents an effective tool for simulating experiences which can be similar to those of the real world. The recent uptake of immersive VR technologies allows users to immerse themselves into an artificial environment that replaces users’ real-world surroundings convincingly enough that they are able to suspend disbelief and fully engage with the created environment.

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How does this work?

Immersive VR may be used to simulate disabilities with a high degree of ‘ecological validity’. Disability simulations can be implemented as virtual environments (VEs) featuring an avatar that the user can embody to enable a first-person perspective. The user -through the avatar- can assume the perspective of a disabled person, e.g. to see herself seated on a wheelchair. The simulation of such disabilities may be implemented through programming custom reusable software (“assets”) which are incorporated into VR applications.

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Participants without disabilities are put in situations designed to mirror the lives of those with disabilities as realistic as possible.

Three ways of achieving it

VR environments
VR environments
Training: for product design teachers
Training: for product design teachers
Pilot testing: for product design students and professionals
Pilot testing: for product design students and professionals

Project Number: 2022-1-PT01-KA220-HED-000090242

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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