Being Productive in VR

As a product manager on the Oculus VR team, my role focuses on building system capabilities that enable people to be productive in Oculus Home. It's an exciting area because I believe that virtual, augmented, and mixed reality are going to fundamentally transform the way people get things done, and Quest is helping move us toward that future of increased human potential.

The cool thing is that the transformation is already starting to take place with several of the capabilities that are starting to come together in Oculus Home:

  • Multitasking across up to three Oculus Browser windows to get things done efficiently across the web
  • Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support for efficient text entry and navigation
  • Passthrough environment to maintain spatial awareness

Together, Quest is actually starting to turn from a gaming device into a fledgling computer, with a superpower of complete focus and a multi-screen workstation I can take anywhere. It's still pretty bulky, and the virtual screens aren't nearly as high resolution as my 4K display, but it's reaching the point where I can spend 30, 60, or even 90 minutes in headset writing social media posts, Google Docs, and chatting with coworkers.

A few best practices have emerged for me that you may find handy if you try this yourself:

  • My typical setup is to work in a primary window, have a second window up for reference, and a third window playing music. Google Docs, Google Sheets, Outlook, YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud all work great in Browser although some sites will think you're on a mobile device and encourage you to download the app. Those messages can be ignored.
  • I highly recommend people get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that can connect to multiple devices. I personally use the Logitech MX Keys and MX Master 3. Even though they can't be tracked like the Logitech K830, the ability to use them across my desktop and Quest is invaluable. This makes it MUCH more likely that I organically use them in VR rather than needing to repeat the pairing process from scratch.
  • Since the MX Keys and Master 3 can't be tracked, the passthrough environment can be really useful for seeing those devices, as well as other things of interest around me. I'm a pretty comfortably touch typist, but it's still helpful to see the keyboard when typing obscure keys like symbols. That said, I find it MUCH easier to get into the zone with a virtual environment like Ryokan Retreat enabled. Working like this, it's easy to lose track of time writing entire documents in VR.

We're still in the early days of enabling deep productivity in VR, but I'm really excited about all the progress that's being made. While the platform is gradually proving itself as an immersive entertainment platform, reaching a point where people can use VR as their personal computer is going to be a real turning point for the platform and for people's potential to get things done more effectively.