15-16 March 2018

thestudio, Manchester

Increasing user engagement: the 4 dimensions of emotional storytelling in virtual reality

Session type:

Session duration:
60 minutes

Presented by:

Paul Blakey

Hidden Creative

Liam Carter-Hawkins

Hidden Creative

Stephen Morris

Hidden Creative

About this Hands-On

Virtual reality (VR) is here to stay. With projected revenues of $5.2 billion from VR and AR (augmented reality) products in 2018, it’s clear that those of us in technology have a huge opportunity to shape how people experience them. But with opportunity comes new challenges that UX designers and developers are in a unique position to solve.

These challenges include:

How do we direct a narrative for users to stay engaged while balancing it with their innate desire to explore their own path?

How do you ensure your users are fully engaged in your story and not distracted by the vast range of interface problems that many fall prey to when experiencing virtual reality?

How do we create a memorable experience that keeps the user wanting more?

What accessibility issues do we need to consider when creating the experience in a 3D world?

In order to solve these challenges, we’ll show you how you can create experiences that are comprised of both emotional and functional interactions. By taking into account the 4 brand experience dimensions, this session will look at the resulting behavioural impact that emerges from using a storytelling approach.

You’ll be introduced to story frameworks such as the Hero’s Journey, Freytag’s Pyramid, scriptwriting, convincing voiceovers and tactful casting. You’ll then learn how to map your narrative to user interactions using VR-specific tools such as 3D wireframing to turn your idea into an engaging and memorable VR experience.

This session will challenge you to question your assumptions and reimagine the way you approach designing a successful VR experience. Following this, you’re encouraged to participate in a workshop where you’ll have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learnt to a range of stories, bringing it to life ready to create in VR.

Not only will you be able to take a practical problem-solving mentality to higher levels, you’ll also have 35 combined years of experience from the team at Hidden to guide you whilst you tackle it.

As well as insights from an experienced team of VR UX designers and developers, you’ll leave this session with a checklist of tools and tips for pushing boundaries, breaking the rules and reimagining VR experiences.

About the Speakers

Paul Blakey

Paul has a deep background in psychology and HCI. With a passion for making experiences simple and enjoyable, he has been helping businesses for the past 15 years to create engaging products. He has an unhealthy obsession with human interaction and how we are influenced by technology.

Along with this, he is a mentor to the Lancaster University Entrepreneurial society and has guest lectured at multiple universities across the UK. He leads the UX & Emerging Technology team at Hidden Creative.


Liam Carter-Hawkins

Liam is a user experience designer based in Manchester. He's worked with a range of clients - from global corporations to small businesses and start-ups - in a large variety of sectors.

Along with client work, he's spoken across the UK and internationally at events hosted by NASA, General Assembly and Google.


Stephen Morris

Stephen Morris is a senior developer at Hidden Creative, an international speaker and a 12-year veteran in the games industry. Having worked on experiential solutions for lifestyle IPs such as Disney Junior and Nickelodeon, he continually explores new interaction models and has spent the past 3 years closely involved in the development of VR initiatives for clients such as ThermoFisher and Disney.


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full programme