Virtual tours usability - any research in existence?

23 Jul 2012 - 3:50am
607 reads
brumguvnor
2010

Hi everyone; I've got some virtual tours on a business event and conference venue site [http://www.venuebirmingham.com/meet/all-virtual-tours] created that are OK - but that I am aware break a lot of usability guidelines and heuristics...

For example, at the moment they sit outside the standard design and IA of the site... - for very good reasons (the CMS cannot import them and display them, like it can with standard images) - but that's irrelevant to the visitor to the site; to a visitor they are stuck in a ghetto outside the standard site structure.  We're changing this, but another usability issue highlighted in our testing was that there were no instructuion on how to use the virtual tours.

I'd assumed (being the most expert user of our site that will ever exist) that everyone always knows how to use virtual tours... - and of course over-familiarity with my own content has caused me to be incapable of seeing it for the first time...

And so I am very keen to get the usability right this time - and so I looked around for research on virtual tours usability and my usual go-to experts (Jakob Nielsen and Gerry McGovern) let me down this time... - even Steve Krug and the Econsultancy chaps were unable to help... - and so I decided to come here to the real experts!

Does anyone know of any research or best practice guidelines on virtual tours usability? - specifically on the format of instructions for use: should it be visible, floating over the tour? - should they disappear when a user clicks? - and if so, how should instructions be re-displayed?

Many thanks in advance!

James

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