Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 July 2019
Use of virtual reality (VR) is considered beneficial for reviewing 3D models throughout product design. However, research on its usability in the design field is still explorative, and previous studies are often contradictory regarding the usability of VR for 3D model review. This paper argues that the usability of VR should be assessed by analysing human factors such as spatial perception and taking into consideration the complexity of the reviewed product. Hence, a comparative evaluation study has been conducted to assess spatial perception in desktop interface-based and VR-based review of 3D models of products with different levels of complexity. The results show that participants in VR more could perceive the fit of user interface elements, and estimation of the model dimensions had a lower relative error than in desktop interface. It has been found that various sensory cues are used to perceive the model size and that the employed sensory cues depend on the level of complexity. Finally, it is proposed that differences between a desktop interface and VR for reviewing models are more evident when reviewing models of higher complexity levels.