VEmap: A Visualization Tool for Evaluating Emotional Responses in Virtual Environments
VEMap (virtual emotion map) can be seen as an advanced application of virtual environment (VE) technology to aid with design activities in architecture and urban planning, which can assist designers to understand users’ opinions. The aim of this research and development work is to create a software application that allows designers to evaluate a user’s emotional response to virtual representations of architectural or urban planning environments. In this project, a galvanic skin response (GSR) test is adopted as an objective measurement for collecting skin conductance data representing emotional arousal. At the same time, the user’s self-reports are used as a form of subjective measurement for identifying emotional valence (i.e. positive, neutral, and negative). Finally, all of the information collected from both GSR readings (objective measurement) and self-reports (subjective measurement) are converted into coloured dots on the base map of the corresponding virtual environment (VE). According to the results of the VEmap evaluation and validation procedure, the beta-testing and evaluation of this project has been confirmed that VEmap may interpret users’ emotional changes as evoked by VE mostly. From a usability perspective, there is no obvious difficulty present for participants on all the controls. Moreover, according to participants’ comments, VEmap may increase users’ interests and promote their involvement if it is applied in architectural design and urban planning. However, gender might have influence on self-report part, and virtual reality usage or 3D game experiences might affect navigation in VE.