WooCommerce in VR

eCommerce in Virtual Reality hasn’t been explored much and we don’t know where it’s going to take us or how it’s going to be implemented but I thought I’d give it a shot.

Many people envision a virtual reality eCommerce experience where you’re in a shopping mall. While it’s nice to imagine, I don’t think it’s where the shopping experience will occur anytime soon. Instead the shopping or checkout will occur after a product has been experienced in VR.

A great example of this is the IKEA VR Experience. You can’t purchase the products on the app but instead you can preview and experience the products IKEA has to offer before shopping at their store. Ikea.com doesn’t offer you the opportunity to experience their furniture the same way VR can.

ikea_vr

I created VR WooCommerce and VR WooCommerce Products using aframe and WebGL to experiment with this. They are definitely not to be used for production but it’s fun to see how this might work.

VR WooCommerce creates a new tab for each product. For now it uses the featured image but ideally you’d have another field to upload your 3d model.

VR WooCommerce Products takes up an entire window and will show your products all around you.  It’s a great way to showcase many items in a single view.

Note: This is a personal project.

What I Learned Being a Subreddit Mod

I’m a moderator of /r/Oculus which has over 76,000 subscribers.

I’m a moderator of /r/Oculus which has over 76,000 subscribers. That’s more than /r/Twitch, /r/Japan, and /r/MLS.

The rules of the subreddit are simple:

  1. This is a place for friendly VR discussion, so don’t start drama, attack, or bait other redditors. Be civil or your post may be removed.
  2. Read the FAQ before posting a question.
  3. No low effort submissions; memes, gifs, image macros, etc.
  4. No buying/selling: Use /r/RiftForSale.
  5. Link flair is required for all submissions.

The most common rule that’s broken is #1.

Listen to Yourself

I’ve gotten a couple death threats and out of those two only one of them decided to track me down on Twitter and Facebook. That was a wakeup call that I’m not a moderator of a small community.

We have a moderator inbox called modmail where all discussions to the moderators of the subreddit go to. If you break any of the rules that requires the removal of a comment or ban, we message you with a short reason. This is seen by the whole moderator crew and any of us can respond in the modmail. It’s great for transparency and gives the other person the opportunity to discuss any issues.

Most people don’t bother to respond but a few fight back that their comment was legitimate and they don’t see why it was removed or fire back with more hate. Sometimes we get lucky and the person apologizes.

lmao it was clearly a joke. get over yourself.

OH NO FIRST AND LAST WARNING

please no, please mr super serious oculus mod. don’t ban me from your awful subreddit full of terrible people and rude mods

please don’t do it

The modqueue is where all the reported posts go. Any reported in /r/Oculus will go to this queue and is human checked. Since it’s impossible to review all posts in the subreddit, it helps us when reports are issued. We also have a bot that auto moderates for certain flags (for example if you curse) then we can either remove or approve the post from there.

It’s never ending. There is always drama, a post that needs to be removed, or someone is really angry at us.

The most obnoxious argument I often hear is that we’re paid by Facebook or Oculus to moderate /r/Oculus and remove any positive mentions of HTC Vive (their competitor) or critical posts of Oculus. It’s obnoxious because moderating a major subreddit is not an easy task and can be very time consuming. It’s free work for very little reward. People think that we’ve somehow been brainwashed or seeking ultimate power over a subreddit community.

The mod team has a small Slack team where we talk about reported posts, whether we should ban someone, or casual discussions about what we’re video game playing. It’s a fun group and couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with.

So why do I do it? It’s because I’m a huge fan of virtual reality and enjoy working with the community. There’s plenty of really awful people but they are the minority. I truly believe virtual realty is the future and being a part of helping that grow is rewarding for me.

/r/Oculus

I’m Sounders ’til I Die

I grew up loving soccer. I remember having a Boca Juniors and Maradona poster in my room as a kid. My family would gather around during big tournaments and shout at the TV.

I had a collection of trophy’s at home from playing all throughout elementary school. I didn’t play in high school because after changing schools, I was nervous about joining a team in a new school.

Once I moved out and started traveling around the world, I forgot about soccer. It became tricky to follow as timezones were hard to follow and I kept moving around. My busy work/travel schedule didn’t allow much for other hobbies outside of travel. It’s also hard to relate and feel connected to a team without the connection of it being part of your home. Seattle is my home and the Sounders are a part of that. While I still follow many European and South American regional teams, I don’t have the same connection as I do with my local team.

My travels have slowed down and finally settled in Seattle for awhile. I didn’t follow MLS much before I moved but I got lucky and happen to be in one of the greatest soccer cities in the US. There are very few cities in the US with a huge soccer passion as much as we have here in Seattle for the Sounders.

The finals of the Women’s World Cup were in Vancouver so we got to see the US in the finals. We also got to see the US Mens win a match in the Copa America tournament in Seattle along with Argentina as well.

I’ve marched with the Sounders supporters group, contributed to the ECS supporters group, helped paint tifos, and chanted many times during games. This will be my second year in a row purchasing season tickets and I couldn’t be happier about supporting the Sounders.

 

Open Vacation Policy

The first benefit that’s highlighted on Automattic’s Work With Us page:

Open vacation policy (no set number of days per year). We encourage all employees to take the time they need for vacation, to pursue their own interests, to stay healthy, and to spend time with friends and family.

Since working at WooThemes and now Automattic, I’ve never worked for a company that cared more about the personal well-being of their employee’s than at WooThemes and Automattic.

Typically on Labor Day, employee’s in the US have off. For us at Automattic, it’s completely optional. I prefer this. I can take off on days that are important to me rather than a holiday that I’d sit around playing video games all day anyway. It’s important to me that days off are days that are productive in some way and not taking off for the sake of just having the day off.

I choose to rarely take off on US holidays and instead save those days for days that are important to me and my family. This allows for greater flexibility and planning around travel and family visits. I can avoid the high costs of travel around the holiday and instead take time off when it’s convenient for me.

Due to the flexibility of vacation time and remote work, sometimes I work even while I’m on vacation and on weekends but there’s no pressure nor is it expected to work on those days. I just do it because I want to.

VR is the Future

I pre-ordered an Oculus Rift for $600 and I’m incredibly excited.

I pre-ordered an Oculus Rift for $600 and I’m incredibly excited. I watched the countdown tick on January 6th to 8am PT as I hit F5 often. As I ordered my Rift, I took a step back and realized I’m witnessing history. It sounds melodramatic but I think it’s true. I just pre-ordered the first consumer ready virtual reality that will hit mass market and change technology forever.

If you’ve never tried VR, please try it. Go to a friends house that has an Oculus Rift DK2 or HTC Vive. By April (after release of Rift and Vive) there’s going to be a lot more devices out there and a better chance of you finding a friend that has one.

With VR we’re going to be connected in ways you never could have imaged seeing in your lifetime. It’ll change gaming forever but more importantly, our everyday lives. You’ll be able to virtually attend school from anywhere in the world, virtually time travel to any major event in history and see what it was like, virtually transport yourself to a hangout among other friends while watching Netflix on a giant movie screen personally made for you and your friends, co-work with your coworkers in a virtual office space. Once you try on VR, your imagination will explode with ideas on all the different use cases this could be good for.

To prepare for this amazing future, I’ve been very involved in the VR community locally and online for a long time. I’m learning Unreal Engine and Unity Engine to create my own worlds and have experimented with WebVR for a virtual web. I really enjoy all things VR and can’t wait to see where this all leads us.