Here at i2, we like to keep one foot firmly in the present, and another in the future. We’ve taken this approach since we formed as a team (almost 20 years ago now). The result? Insights, methods, measurement tools and expertise from our earlier research are now more relevant than ever. And we want to make sure you know about it!
We’re guessing you’ve noticed how much Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are in the mainstream and tech news these days. Engaging immersive experiences, and optimising a user's sense of 'presence' (being there) in content streams delivered to rich multi-sensory displays, are vital goals for immersive content/product developers. Whether for gaming and entertainment, learning and rehabilitation, social media, or other commercial digital spaces, knowing how to optimise the user experience is essential. To know what works and doesn’t work needs a valid, reliable, and accessible measure of user experience in immersive content. And that’s exactly what we developed back in 2001, and we're happy to say it is is still relevant, useful and well used today.
After extensive development work, in 2001 we published a new scale for measuring user experience of immersive environments (the ITC-Sense of Presence Inventory: ITC-SOPI).
Unlike many other tools available at the time which were bespoke for particular types/applications of technology, our measure was designed for a wide range of evaluation scenarios. It followed good psychometric development practices and the results gave us confidence in the generalisability of the measure. It has been available under a copyright usage agreement since 2001, following the paper’s publication in the MIT Press journal, Presence, Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. You can read the original paper here: http://eprints.gold.ac.uk/483/1/PSY_Freeman_2001a.pdf).
Since then, over 500 researchers from around the world (largely from academia but also several commercial innovators) have licensed the ITC-SOPI to use, and sometimes to translate it. It has been cited in the academic literature almost 800 times, demonstrating its value to the users of the measure.
We’re delighted that we continue to receive a steady increase in the number of usage requests as VR technology has become part of today's day-to-day reality.
If the ITC-SOPI sounds like something you could make use of in your work, or to understand how our knowledge and insight into user experience of immersion in VR and other media, please contact us for a chat! Email us at
notes: The development of the ITC-SOPI built on i2's founder (Prof Jonny Freeman)'s PhD work in an EC funded project (Framework Programme 4, ACTS - TAPESTRIES) led by the UK's Independent Television Commission (ITC), after which it was directly funded by the ITC. Its uptake was further supported by the EC's Future and Emerging Technolologies (FET) programme in Framework Programme 5 under FET's Presence Research Proactive Initiative (in the projects OMNIPRES and EMMA) and then in the EC's Framework Programme 6 (in the project PASION).