Multidisciplinary creative based in Los Angeles

My name is Soh Tanaka, Product Designer at Oculus. Self taught with over 14 years of experience, I bring a range of skills from visual design, interaction design, UX, to prototyping. I focus on creating rich seamless experiences between the product and the user. I'm always looking for creative people to vibe with, let's connect through my social channels below.


Systems Design / 2013 - 2017

From the humble beginnings of a Kickstarter campaign to becoming the world’s leading Virtual Reality (VR) company, Oculus gained its success by focusing on building a rich ecosystem that connected its community to its developers. It was a monumental experience working on the forefront of an emerging technology, contributing to create the first VR platform from the ground up to where we are today.

R&D 2013

As the 2nd designer on the team, I began by exploring what it means to design for VR. While some design principles remained constant, VR was a spatial experience and it required all touch points to how we interact with objects and our surroundings. It introduced new constraints to consider such as FOV (field of view), ergonomics, frame rates, and rendering capabilities. While the thought of VR felt so futuristic, our tools in 2013 to create for VR were still quite primitive and the hardware was still in its infancy.

Concept Mockup for Investor Review — Q4 2013

Gear VR 2014

Breaking old habits were also something we had to get used to. Design reviews on a monitor were no longer enough. Each interaction and motion design had to be experienced in the headset, it was a constant reminder of checking in VR early to avoid wasting time and effort. Some designs that clearly seemed to fail in 2D surprisingly worked well in VR. This led to a culture of truly embracing VR as our source of truth, moving away from the comfort of the framed screen.

Oculus Home — Q4 2014

Building a platform from scratch was not something we were familiar with. Fundamental elements that make up the foundation of the platform were easily overlooked. As simple as they were, we all tend to take these for granted. We swept each feature with all possible edge cases and covered for every error ensuring we left no user at a dead end.

Due to the ambitious timeline and small team, our challenge was relentless prioritization. Over scoping and working on features that was not within reach for launch had to be identified and corrected quickly. We kept our scope highly focused on core features in order to ship the minimum viable product.

Rift 2016

In 2016, we released our official flagship product, the Rift. With the power of the PC and 6 degrees of freedom, we took our existing infrastructure and continued to scale, pushing the limits of our platform for the PC division. Rift’s integrated spatial audio and haptic controller feedback opened new doors to leverage new forms of feedback to help assist our interface in VR. Along with hardware improvements, the platform also gained some new features including user identities/avatars, voice commands, and multi-player capabilities.

Oculus Home 1.0 — Q1 2016

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With new hardware came new design challenges. Input degradation was carefully considered as there were now multiple input methods available for the Rift platform. While the new fresnel lenses brought clarity by reducing the Screen-door Effect, high contrast colors now became an issue (e.g. white text on black background) which limited our color palettes.
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Our FOV plays a large role in how we digest information in VR. Due to its narrow view, what could be UI moving across the screen could feel as if the world was moving instead. Motion sickness was drastically reduced by ensuring objects in motion were clearly within FOV or by staggering the UI animation flow to make clear that the UI was the one in motion.

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