//Should You Make Your VR Apps Interactive?

Should You Make Your VR Apps Interactive?

Should You Make Your VR Apps Interactive?

This past week we released a new feature, allowing for time-based Hotspot auto-play for WebVR. You can see an example of it below.

The user can passively view your VR experience and Hotspots, without needing proactive engagement. And you can time when the Hotspot appears and disappears. The new feature led to the following question:

Should you always make your VR apps interactive? 

The obvious answer seems to be: YES! In fact, we wrote an article last Fall titled “Why You Should Make Your VR Apps Interactive“. But the truth is, there are some times when it makes sense to create passive VR. Where the user can just put on a VR headset, relax, and watch.

Below we’ll discuss a few scenarios where you shouldn’t make your VR interactive, making use of our auto-play hotspots and auto-transitions between video scenes.


Scenario #1: At an event or conference, where you’re expecting a large number of users but don’t have a large number of headsets

In a perfect world, all VR headsets would be priced like Google Cardboards. But that’s not the case. So many companies have a fixed budget for Gear VRs, Daydreams, Rifts, and Vives. Even if you purchase lower priced headsets like Oculus Go, travelling on a plane might limit the total number of headsets you can take to an event.

If the number of people wanting to see your VR far exceeds your number of headsets, you’re better off making it passive and auto-play.

Why? The interactivity slows down the user navigation of the VR experience. Users will slowly look for hotspots, initiate them, close them, etc. And if you give them multiple “next scene” videos to choose from, they may take time to decide.

That’s why for events with a large amount of foot traffic, you should probably go with auto-transition videos and auto-play hotspots. You can reserve a few headsets for interactive apps you’ve built on InstaVR, for special users. But in the interest of time, it’s best to make use of some of our automatic features.


Scenario #2: When your users are brand new to VR, and you’re not able to guide them on how to use Navigation or Hotspots

One of the questions we sometimes get when showing off VR apps like the Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick WONDER 360 is: OK, what do I do? 

If you audience has never used VR before, they might not be familiar with Navigation Links, Hotspots, etc. If you’re showing them the VR in-person, you can explain how to initiate the gaze-based or hand controller-based interaction.

But if you’re distributing your VR widely to novices, they might not know how to go from scene-to-scene or initiate hotspots. In that case, our auto-transition video scenes and auto-play hotspots take the work out of their hands.

One alternative though if you want your VR interactive: create a customized splash screen. This is what many of our advanced Pro users do to explain navigation and icons. For a great example of that, see below.

HIA Qatar VR


Scenario #3: You’re utilizing WebVR, and want to get the user’s attention

If you’re publishing to WebVR, you’ll want your web site visitors to know you’ve embedded VR into that page. That way your audience will know they’re not just looking at a standard image or video.

For that reason, we have a feature called auto-rotate for the first embedded pano. See above for our mall store example.

But you can also add the aforementioned auto-play hotspots. This will allow the hotspot video to start, with the audio or video grabbing the attention of the people on your page.

For instance, if you have a 360 home tour embedded on a page advertising a house… you may want to have a video auto-play with a real estate agent explaining how the WebVR works, and what you can do in the 360 experience. (ie navigate room to room, engage hotspots, pull up web pages, etc)


Scenario #4: You want to link 360 video scenes to make for a linear, uninterrupted experience

If you record 360 video scenes, and you want them to flow naturally together like a movie, you’ll want to take advantage of our auto-transition feature between scenes.

If you’re fluent in Adobe Premiere Pro or your 360 camera comes with intuitive software, you can edit scenes to transition them seamlessly.


You can save time and use InstaVR’s auto-transition feature for 360 videos. This makes it so your users don’t have to do anything to go to a next scene, and you don’t have to learn or utilize Adobe or similar video editing suites.



The ability to make interactive VR is definitely one of the cool features of InstaVR. But it’s not one you always have to take advantage of.

If you fit into any of the above scenarios, you’ll definitely want to consider auto-transitions and auto-playing hotspots. They’ll definitely add to your VR experience, and will make it so your users can enjoy the 360 experience without doing any work.

For a complete how-to guide on building mobile VR applications using InstaVR, check out our new guide: https://www.instavr.co/articles/general/how-to-make-and-publish-ios-android-and-google-cardboard-vr-apps

Thanks for using InstaVR!

2018-03-26T16:25:15+00:00 March 23rd, 2018|General|