Impacts of Multiple Textures on User Navigation Performance in a Virtual World

Daniel CliburnJohn KrantzPrabin Bariya

This paper reports on a preliminary experiment designed to analyze the effects of multiple wall textures on a user's ability to navigate throughout a virtual environment (VE). Two subject groups searched the same maze-like VE twice for six randomly placed red spheres. The mazes for each group were of identical layout; however, the maze for group 1 had the same wall texture throughout, and the maze for group 2 had different wall textures in each room. Analysis of the experiment's results show that the difference between the mean search times, mean distance traveled, and the mean total number of degrees turned was not statistically significant, but that subjects in the single texture group tended to travel at faster speeds. Subjects in the multiple texture condition were, however, more likely to improve their overall search time from the first trial to the second. Results provide some evidence that use of multiple textures assists users in the formation of a mental map of a VE, suggesting that this approach is deserving of more investigation as a method to support user navigation through unfamiliar VEs.

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