Designing User-Centric Private Conversation Methods in the Metaverse

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Date
2023-08-21
Department
Major/Subject
Security and Cloud Computing
Mcode
SCI3113
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Security and Cloud Computing (SECCLO)
Language
en
Pages
62
Series
Abstract
The metaverse is an emerging medium for remote interactions, allowing users to engage in immersive experiences with others in virtual environments, such as attending concerts, business meetings, or social gatherings with friends. Private conversation is an important feature that improves the overall experience in the metaverse. This essential element of virtual interactions allows the exchange of sensitive information and promotes self-disclosure, a key factor in building interpersonal relationships. However, current methods for establishing private conversations have several limitations. In Private Talk, floating icons above the users' avatars do not feel natural and break the immersion. Meanwhile, creating private rooms and teleporting to them disrupts the flow of experience. The goal of this thesis is to design private conversations in the metaverse. First, we surveyed existing methods for establishing private conversations by assessing popular applications and online sources. Second, we developed our own application where we implemented two baseline methods for private conversations, Private Talk and private room. Next, we conducted a user study where we invited 12 participants to evaluate the baseline methods and propose their own methods. We employed questionnaires and conducted interviews to gather suggestions and valuable insights. A thematic analysis of the interview transcripts identified six themes; minimizing background noise, isolation for enhanced feeling of privacy, indicators and distinctions of privacy mode, easy and natural methods in virtual environments, and privacy concerns. From our results, we developed design implications for improving private conversation methods in the metaverse. Our findings aim to guide the design of the future metaverse.
Description
Supervisor
Di Francesco, Mario
Thesis advisor
Welsch, Robin
Keywords
metaverse, virtual reality, social VR, privacy, thematic analysis
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