Design patterns for Immersive Tech

Virtual Reality patterns

Wearable hand accessory

User goal

Provide persistent access to key options at all times whilst in the virtual environment


There is a need to access key functions from time to time. Usually the user needs to search for a menu or option that is not always visible on screen. Some menus are accessed via a dedicated button on the controller (and in this case visualising the controller and mapping the commands onto it via hints are 2 key patterns). However, if the controller is not displayed in the experience there is a question as to where persistent functions should be placed. They need to always be visible or at least accessible and the user needs to know where they are. One solution is to place an interactive wearable on the user’s hand or arm. Essentially the principle is similar to attaching a menu to the controller.

  • The user has a watch or bracelet visualised on their wrist
  • The bracelet has button like icons and interactive elements on the strap
  • These can be on one hand or on both hands
  • The user uses their other hand to activated the options they need (either with a ray cast or with a finger selector)
  • This can be extended to include more options on the arm or on the hands.

Linked to: Pointing & selection with finger & Displaying a menu on the controller


  • Intuitive once discovered as all controls are mapped to the user’s two hands
  • The system is naturally quite extendible
  • The options are not always in the central field of view, which is a benefit when they are not needed as they do not obstruct anything


  • Only really works on systems that have 6DOF on the controllers
  • Only works on systems that track the hands (currently limited to Oculus or Leap Motion), or at least the controllers
  • It may not be clear the options are there initially so some kind of prompt may be required
  • If using a wearable on both hands, it may not be obvious to the user that there are more options on the other hand


Facebook Spaces (Oculus Rift)

Wearable straps are available on both hands