VR Tandem | Collaborate on rapid VR prototypes

What is a VR Tandem?

Inspired by Hyper Island’s 90 minute prototyping workshop and by continuous user testing. A VR Tandem is an exercise for rapidly working through small VR concepts and continuously iterating with a colleague providing real-time feedback from preview.

Pairs divide into designer and tester. They can swap throughout.

As the designer creates a concept, the tester sits in the preview and actively provides feedback for refinement. This is great for providing an expert review as a design is created. And in the unique space of VR, the designer can take advantage of a strategic third-person view, while their colleague provides tactical first-person insights.

Steps to VR Tandem

Here are the basic steps to facilitating a VR Tandem session. The timings are flexible. Just make sure there is enough time for participants to ideate, design and present. Keeping the problem space small and preparing lots of templates are both reliable ways to ensure this.

Step 1 – (5-10 min)


  • Provide participants an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the matchboxxr editor. This could be the day before, or for 20 minutes before beginning the session. Share the How-to guides for this.
  • Welcome participants to the session. Explain that they are going to create interactive VR prototypes to be shared and presented.
  • Make it clear that the aim is to work fast and iterate. Nothing will be perfect. The aim is to learn from doing and have fun.
  • Divide everyone into pairs. Each pair must have one computer and one VR headset. Alternatively, two computers and no headset will do.
  • You can allocate designers and testers, or pairs can do this themselves.
Step 2 – 5-10 min

Find a problem

  • A flexible step. Each pair needs a brief. Problem statement, user story, requirement or ‘how might we’ all work.
  • You can bring challenges faced by your team, your business, or the industry/society as a whole. And present each team with a problem individually.
  • Or you can ideate requirements together using a fast ideation activity such as Hyper Island’s Mash-up.
  • Keep things small. Keep things spatial. This isn’t for testing different colours of UI. This is for iterating placement of elements in a spatial design.
  • E.g. “how might we help a VR novice to get started in a VR health & safety training app?”
Step 3 – 15 min


  • Pairs discuss and ideate. They can make notes and scribble on post-its.
  • Lightweight journey maps can be nice way to quickly explore a linear concept step by step. This can be quickly critiqued. Apps like Miro do make it easier, as maps can be copy/pasted to iterate quickly.
  • Opportunity trees are a great way to work back from a problem towards a range of possible solutions.
  • Jobs to be done is a nice way to start with a user’s desired outcome, rather than a problem to be solved.
  • Consider making some form of templates (e.g. empty journey maps) to speed this stage up.
Step 4 – 30 min


  • Time to design! Pairs open matchboxxr and the designer starts adding elements to a project.
  • Tester uses the preview URL to join the preview. They do this in a VR headset or their separate computer.
  • To help make the most out of this stage, walk around the room and offer help throughout the exercise.
  • Remember the matchboxxr How-to guides are there to help users quickly make the most out of the tool.
  • Consider setting up some template projects, if you know what participants will be doing, to help save time.
Step 5 – 15 min


  • Each pair presents their idea for 2 minutes or so. Make sure everyone discusses the problem, their concept and then the design.
  • They can share a URL to the idea and let others explore the prototype. Or present in a structured way, with some form of screen share.
  • If you have time, invite feedback from the room on every idea. Lead this discussion yourself, if the room is quiet.
  • Another great way to invite engagement is to ask everyone to vote for their favourite ideas.
Image by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/group-entrepreneurs-checking-vr_7523043.htm#query=vr%20workshop&position=3&from_view=search&track=ais">Freepik</a>
Step 6 – 10-15 min


  • Invite thoughts and learnings from everyone on how the session went.
  • Ask everyone what action they’ll take, as a result of the workshop. This might be an approach to design/feedback, or a tangible product idea they unearthed during the activity.
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