The design process for XR experiences
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The act of telling stories has been a core part of the human experience since the days of cavemen standing around a fire to tell the story of the day's hunt (Balter). As new technologies are being developed, such as virtual reality headsets and cellphones with augmented reality capabilities, the designer's process has been challenged. We are increasingly living in a world where human experiences are separating from physical reality and moving toward an extended reality or XR. “Extended Reality” (XR) is the umbrella term used to describe VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality) as well as all future realities [any new experiences that might be created outside of the already existing realms] such technology, might bring. XR covers the full spectrum of real and virtual environments'' (Scribani). The challenge Designers are facing is how to effectively tell engaging stories using new and increasingly prevalent technologies within the XR envelope. Many experiences utilizing XR tend to focus on the technology and tools rather than the story. XR is the new “Wild West” in storytelling. There are no hard rules and no defined creative processes for crafting a successful experience within the technology. This thesis asks the question, can the theatrical design process help to create more successful XR experiences? Success being more social interaction and long-lasting engagement. Can a focus on human-centric stories make the experiences more engaging? In this thesis, I will be investigating three XR experiences and their varying design processes. The evaluation of this research will be qualitative rather than quantitative. The success or failure of these experiential XR designs will be determined through the lens of a collaborative theatrical designer.