University of Oulu

Empathy and idea generation for color vision deficiency in virtual reality

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Author: Häyrynen, Eemeli1; Pitkänen, Severi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Computer Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 24.6 MB)
Pages: 44
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : E. Häyrynen; S. Pitkänen, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-27
Thesis type: Bachelor's thesis
Tutor: Georgiev, Georgi


Virtual reality allows immersive experiences of life and the activities of others in an unprecedented way. Immersed in such experiences, operators can understand and empathize with the life challenges of others. Such empathy and understanding can be pivotal for generating ideas on how to create products that improve the lives of people with specific needs. In this project, the effect of a virtual reality experience on empathy and the generation of ideas was investigated. We experimentally examined operators’ experiences of color vision deficiencies with their own eyes in a game. We evaluated if the immersive virtual reality experience will allow the operator to gain a deeper understanding and establish empathy with color vision deficiency users. Through this, we will identify the needs of color vision deficiency users. We further investigated should such experience lead the operators to generate better design ideas. We examined two virtual environments representing commonly experienced real-life places, a grocery store and a library. They were interacted with as games. The experiment was conducted in two sessions: a virtual environment on a computer screen and a virtual reality experience of the same environment using a head-mounted display. We measured if the experiences deepened the understanding and empathy with a color vision deficiency experience in the same game. The empathy of the 23 participants was tested with questionnaires after each of the experiences, on a computer screen and in virtual reality. We also inquired about lists of the five most common issues color vision deficiency users perceived by the operators on three occasions, before the experiment, between the two sessions and at the end. At the end of the experiment, the operators were asked to generate as many as possible ideas for tangible products that might help people with color vision deficiencies. The results show that the virtual reality experience helped participants deepen their understanding of the needs of people with color vision deficiencies. The idea generation was not found to be statistically significantly affected by the VR experience. Future work is needed to measure the difference between traditional virtual environments and virtual reality on humans understanding and empathy.

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Copyright information: © Eemeli Häyrynen; Severi Pitkänen, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.