Powerchair is an NGO oriented to giving wheelchair users the chance to participate in Argentina’s most popular sport, football. Initially players would get together at a set location to play soccer with their motor-powered wheelchairs. These players often have little to no mobility and therefore need to be accompanied to the physical location of their training sessions. The national squad players live far away from one another, which makes it difficult for them to practice together consistently. Since not many people know about this NGO, it takes a lot of effort for them to achieve their goals. These difficulties impeded their growth as a team and did not allow effective improvement.
The key challenges were to achieve the most real VR training platform possible and adapt its hardware to the wheelchair so it can be used by the players in their homes. They had a very specific set of needs regarding training that were at the core of our thinking. Fulfilling those needs would help us achieve our objectives and help the team to get the kind of results that would attract media attention and more players to the sport.
With this mindset, we set out to develop a design approach solution to the problem. Using human-center design we were able to discover the solutions that would help us fulfill the needs of the players by designing a functional system on a relatively new platform that could be replicated very easily. We designed our environment around player provided information, that helped us to take advantage of the player’s knowledge of the game and include it in the digital experience with the maximum fidelity so it feels as real as possible.
"The players, with whom we met many times, every step of the way, along with their input, were essential to make the simulation feel as realistic to the sport as possible."
- Mariano JegerVP Executive Creative Director SS LATAM
We co-created the VR simulator exercises with the coach based on the players need. We mapped problems according to the context and prioritized them. The biggest challenges were:
- Low training frequency
- Necessity of constant supervision because of their condition
- Logistic challenges for moving the athletes from one corner of the country to the other
So, we created a VR simulator to help players to improve their skills allowing them to train in a virtual space without going through the hassle and logistics of being transported to the same training space.
We did it based on 4 experience pillars:
We worked with tech, creating fast proofs of concept and trying them with the real players, we had feedback and validations every week, we tested them in controlled environments and validate them out in the field to make it as real as possible.