Comparison of single-wall versus multi-wall immersive environments to support a virtual shopping experience

Patrick Carlson, Carl Kirpes, Ryan A. Pavlik, Judy M. Vance
Virtual Reality Applications Center
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011

Livien Yin
Reed College
Portland, Oregon 97202

Terrence Scott-Cooper
Morehouse College
Atlanta, Georgia 30314

Troy Lambert
Tennessee State University
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

Carlson, P., Kirpes, C., Pavlik, R.A., Vance, J.M., Yin, L., Scott-Cooper, T. and Lambert, T., 2011, “Comparison of single-wall versus multi-wall immersive environments to support a virtual shopping experience,” ASME 2011 World Conference on Innovative Virtual Reality (WINVR 2011) Proceedings, June 27-29, Milan, Italy, WINVR2011-5582


With the proliferation of large screen stereo display systems, major consumer product manufacturers are using this technology to test marketing ideas on consumers. One of the performance factors that is of interest to retailers or manufacturers of retail products is the ability of consumers to quickly and easily locate their products within a retail store. Virtual reality technology can be used to create a virtual store that is easily reconfigurable as a test environment for consumer feedback. The research presented in this paper involves a study that compares the use of a multi-wall immersive environment to a single-wall immersive environment. Users were given a list of products to find in the virtual store. A physical mockup of a shopping cart was created and instrumented in order to be used to navigate throughout the virtual store. The findings indicate that participants in the five-wall immersive environment were significantly faster in locating the objects than the participants using the one-wall immersive environment. In addition, participants in the five-wall condition reported that the shopping cart was easier to use than in the one-wall condition. This study indicates that the use of multiple walls to provide an increased sense of immersion improves the ability of consumers to locate items within a virtual shopping experience.

Keywords: Virtual reality, shopping, immersive environments, human-computer interaction.