Updated: Jun 13
Virtual reality is a technology that allows users to generate simulated environments and immersive experiences, providing them with direct interaction with 3D worlds. In addition to gaming, virtual reality has begun to be utilized in different domains by organizations. For example, retailers can offer their customers virtual fitting rooms and the ability to design tailor-made products. In addition, maintenance professionals can now use virtual reality headsets for remote access to valuable information about their work on the spot to understand potential fixes and defects. In this post, we discuss how virtual reality (VR) testing poses unique challenges and the potential solutions that can address them.
Machine-to-machine communications and virtual reality will be deeply integrated into the IoT. This should lead to significant growth in the market, which is expected to reach $16.8 billion in the United States by 2021. By that time, Statista predicts the VR/AR Market Share to increase drastically, surpassing $160 billion by 2023.
Top Challenges Associated with Virtual Reality Testing
Traditional testing practices, approaches, and toolsets are insufficient for validating virtual reality applications' end-user experience. As a result, the testing team and end-users must deal with additional challenges when testing these applications.
Virtual reality equipment can pose risks to the end-users vision and other aspects of their health. These risks can include eye strain, motion sickness, and skin irritation. For example, in the past, some virtual reality headsets had covers that caused skin irritation for some users. Therefore, testers must be aware of these safety issues when testing applications with virtual reality equipment.
Testing applications with virtual reality equipment because using it for prolonged periods can lead to health problems such as eye strain or nausea.
VR applications may behave differently on every type of device. There are currently few emulators available to test VR concepts on a variety of devices, so it is often necessary for testers to have access to actual devices or a lab with a range of devices if they want to test this new technology thoroughly.
Popular commercial and open-source test automation tools do not yet support virtual reality testing in their software packages. Manual testing is also time-consuming, so this presents an additional challenge for software testers when testing VR applications.
Virtual reality applications rely heavily on processing power, memory, and graphics capabilities, which can result in slowdowns and overheating.
Many virtual reality applications have accessibility issues that make it difficult for differently-abled users to enjoy the content.
Innovative Testing Approaches
To overcome the challenges of virtual reality (VR) application testing, one should define a comprehensive testing strategy, processes, and tooling strategy customized for VR application testing. Some of the critical testing considerations and solutions are highlighted below:
When defining a test strategy for your organization, consider the various functional and non-functional characteristics of current applications and those currently in development. The strategy should act as a general guideline for testing teams. However, each project should be assessed individually and customized based on product risk, impact, budget, and schedule.
Business analysts and testers should work closely to evaluate user stories or requirements. The team should also ensure that non-functional requirements related to software performance, accessibility, and the user experience are documented. Testers should review wireframes to provide early feedback and storyboard everyday life scenarios that will be the basis for end-to-end software testing.
Collaborate with developers to ensure that unit testing coverage is adequate. Most application development platforms, such as Unity, provide capabilities for automating unit tests and measuring the coverage. This is critical because these tests can gather early feedback on code quality, understand behavior on different platforms, and help to balance functional testing efforts later on. A high unit testing coverage will also help you balance functional testing efforts in the later stages of your project.
Invest in testing equipment that can help you validate compatibility and functional and non-functional behavior. The devices need to be shortlisted based on the devices used by end customers. Collect data from your testing sessions to help identify usability issues, body movements, etc. You might want to perform early testing if your application can be run on a desktop or laptop in 2D mode, which will help reduce fatigue for testers who must use the equipment in 3D mode.
Explore using platforms such as Air Test or Poco to automate manual testing efforts. These tools are Python-based and support Android, iOS, Cocos-Creator, Unity3D, Egret, etc.
Design a set of reusable test cases that will help to validate the usability and accessibility of your application based on industry standards. Consider using performance monitoring tools to analyze bottlenecks under various conditions; for example, the OVR Metrics tool can be used to collect performance data.
Consider using tools to monitor and analyze the performance bottlenecks of your applications under various conditions. Tools like the OVR Metrics tool, Unit Profiler, etc., can be leveraged to collect performance-related data. One should also focus on measuring performance across the various supported platforms and devices.
Crowd testing will help identify user experience-related issues and help improve the device-specific testing coverage. By partnering with a public crowd testing provider with access to VR headset testers, you may be able to accelerate and scale your testing. Additionally, you will be able to identify issues related to the user environment and conditions.
The Way Forward
In the next few years, virtual reality technology will be used to solve business problems. As the demand for these solutions grows, companies will develop new testing techniques and standards that will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of virtual reality testing.