Design patterns for Immersive Tech

Virtual Reality patterns

Reverse side of hand menus

User goal / Problem this is trying to solve

Access options quickly without needing to open another menu.

Enables more functionality to be packed into the same area of menu real estate.


This pattern is essentially an extension of displaying menu on controllers, however the principle can be applied to any panel or menu that can be physically moved or manipulated by the user. For example a menu the user can hold in their hand and move around could also support this approach.

  • The user sees the hand menu or menu attached to the controller in the usual way
  • The surface area go the menu panel is deliberately kept small so it can remain open without interfering too much with the tasks the user is trying to complete
  • There are further options on the reverse side of the menu panel
  • The user can rotate the menu by rotating the controller to access the options on the reverse side
  • Essentially, the user gets twice the amount of menu options for a given six of menu panel

Linked to: Raycasting & hand menus & Displaying a menu on the controller


  • Allows more options to be packed into a smaller area of menu, which in turn reduces the intrusiveness of the menu
  • Low effort to access the hidden options once the user knows they are there. Rotating the wrists (assuming no disabilities) is a fairly intuitive and low cognitive effort interaction.
  • Allows the most important options to be prioritised at the front, or using the front and back to create 2 groups of functions (e.g. tools on the front panel, and colours or other options related to the tool that has been selected, on the back)


  • The user may not realise there are further options on the reverse side.


Google Blocks (HTC Vive)