Oculus Rift

It doesn't matter if you start your day with a little VR cardio, end your day with some VR entertainment, or you're sliding the headset on in the middle of the day for an important meeting in VR, chances are you put that headset on for a reason. One of the amazing things about VR right now is the ability to offer escape or focus by removing the other elements around you. And it doesn't matter which headset you use right now, they pretty much all do a decent job of this.

That is, right until something asks you to remove your headset so you can go do something on your phone or computer.

Oculus Rift Install

This happens in a couple of different ways, and they're all equally terrible user experiences. Several Google Cardboard apps ask you to remove the headset in order to log in to things. Samsung's Gear VR can't launch the Oculus experience unless the phone is unlocked and awake, and offers a spoken message to remove the phone from its casing to unlock the phone. Nearly every app you install from the Oculus Store on an [Oculus Rift](/The user experience in VR, especially right now, is incredibly important.) asks you to remove the headset in order to click a "Final Install" button on the Desktop. None of this is fun, and nearly all of it can and should be dealt with from inside the headset.

The user experience in VR, especially right now, is incredibly important.

The Oculus "Final Install" button is an obvious one. You give users access to the Desktop from within the Oculus launch area and be done with it. The HTC Vive does this with no problems at all. Most of the Google Cardboard messages could be dealt with through a virtual keyboard that users point at with a crosshair to log in to things, similar to what Netflix does on the Gear VR. Samsung has an interesting challenge with the Gear VR's launch message, because the Oculus software isn't a part of the Android OS. It's bad form to mess with the security of the phone to make the Oculus software launch no matter what, so it has to be something that can only launch when the phone is unlocked. There's probably no way around that without compromising personal security, but any other "remove your headset" dialogue in the Gear VR is as bad as the rest.

Removing the headset may be the fastest way to solve a problem, but that's a decision the user should be able to make for themselves. The Hulu app for Gear VR is a great example, making it so you can either log in manually with the virtual keyboard or you can take a short code to the Hulu website on your Desktop and enable your new viewing method. That appeases users who just want to get to the next task as quickly as possible, and at the same time makes it so you don't have to take the headset off. The user experience in VR, especially right now, is incredibly important. Things like user agency and user comfort should be the biggest parts of developing an interface in VR, and in far too many cases that isn't happening right now.