What it does
Join VR allows a non-profit to design and create a virtual-reality event that people can attend with or without a headset and works with most modern browsers and devices.
How I built it
The first big problem has to do with how can we facilitate big events that give people a sense of social presence and engagement. VR headsets are still expensive, and many people are resistant to adopting VR in their daily life. Because of this, I needed a solution that would be accessible to the majority of potential users without the barrier of selling the idea of VR headsets. The brilliant folks over at mozilla have recently released a version of their VR in the browser platform called Hubs that allows you to run an instance of their client on your own private server. I decided to make this the main focus of my service offering because of it's accessibility and potential extensibility.
Leveraging Hubs custom clients is only one piece of the puzzle and I worked to try to understand from the organizations perspective, what they would need and require to host successful events. Much of that work is still happening now and is informing the features I build.
Why not just use Hubs?
Hubs may not be a viable solution for a non-profit or cultural institution in and of itself. How do you create avatars and 3D environments? How do you host events that exceed the room maximum? Do you have someone to help with all the technical and design problems that may arise? If an organization lacks the time and expertise, creating a custom hubs cloud instance can be a challenging task.
Challenges I ran into
One of the most difficult parts for me was trying to balance building the product while trying to find people from non-profits to talk to about what features they need. I feel like the project is at a point where I can finally get more into user research and start automating some of the design and event management tasks.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Hope to see it used to create successful events in the future.
What I learned
To much to list here.
What's next for Join VR
I'm exploring use cases for Join VR beyond non-profit fundraising and plan on building out solutions for whatever market needs it. I'd like it to someday be a shining example of how people can extend hubs to provide value to a specific group of people and solve more specific problems hubs can't address.