Design patterns for Immersive Tech

Virtual Reality patterns

VR finger slider

User goals

  • Set a value as an input using a slider
  • Increase or decrease a variable efficiently
  • Interact with interfaces in a natural way resembling real world interactions


Using fully articulated hand tracking the user can use their finger to move a slider up or down, or left to right to adjust a value or variable (e.g. volume).

For fully articulated hand and finger tracking a tracking device such as the Leap Motion is needed on the VR headset. Alternatively a method of mapping the index finger position is required such as that afforded by the Oculus touch controllers.

  • A visual representation of a slider is presented to the user. It can be horizontal or vertical depending on the context.
  • The slider has a set-point (often a circle or other shape indicating the current position of the slider)
  • The user uses their finger (usually the index finger) to move the slider position to a new value
  • moving the finger away from the slider stops the interaction
  • For maximum usability this should provide instant feedback that the variable has changed without the user needing to save the setting or go to another area to view the change.
    • For example a sound would communicate the volume increasing or decreasing and perhaps a visual volume level or state would be shown to change value
    • Information would scroll up or down with the slider movement
    • A value reader would show an immediately increasing or decreasing value


This interaction does not have a step to engage and disengage the interaction such as a grab or pinch motion, so the system must interpret at which exact point the user is acting on the slider. How close does the finger need to be? How precise is this distance? If it requires absolute precision in terms of the fingertip just touching the slider, this may make it fiddly and frustrating as the user’s hand is likely to move a little. If it’s not precise enough then it risks acting on the slider even if the finger is some distance away and the user had no intention of using the slider. Combining the interaction with gaze or eye tracking can help infer intent in such situations, which is an approach taken by Magic Leap throughout its UI.

Linked to: Direct manipulation slider (AR)


Leap Motion interaction demos