Locomotion Real Walking Joystick Control Teleportation Menus Object Interaction Presence Socializing in VR Avatars


How a user moves through a virtual world.

Research suggests that although there are over 100 methods of locomotion, the best methods are: 


Criteria for judging these types of locomotion typically include the level of presence, the precision of control, ease of use, level of motion sickness, etc. 

Best Practices

  • If the virtual environment is similar to the space alloted for the user, it is recommended to use real walking when possible
  • Teleporting is next recommended, types of teleportation should be decided based on needed functionality. Resources are listed below for types of teleportation.
  • Joystick control is more accessible but can negatively affect the level of presence. There are also various types of locomotion using joystick control. Resources for different types are listed below.

Real Walking

Real walking is the most user friendly option for movement in a virtual environment. It is most intuitive as it mimics the walking we do in the real world. However, oftentimes the user will have a limited amount of space that prohibits them from being able to explore a virtual environment adequately.

Best Practices

Pay attention to the visual, auditory, haptic, and internal feedback the user is experiencing. These contribute to the believability of the locomotion method which helps presence for the user.

Repositioning systems (such as a treadmill) can be helpful where space for ground walking is unavailable.

If real walking is necessary but users may not have enough space, look into redirected walking. It is a form of real walking that redirects the user’s walking while manipulating their perspective to make them think they are walking straight.

Joystick Control

Joystick control in Virtual Environments is similiar to how games are generally played on a 2D screen. The user uses a joystick to indicate which direction and how fast to

Best Practices

Having a range of speeds dependent on the severity of the action on the joystick can help increase presence.

Joystick locomotion tends to have the least amount of performance and presence but it is often easier for users to get the hang of.


There are two different types of teleportation based on what self-motion cues the user is able to implement. In partially concordant teleportation, the user can control their view, or where they are facing in the environment, by moving their head or body, but are only able to change their position using teleportation. In discordant teleportation, the user changes their view and position by manipulating the controllers rather than moving their body.

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Partially concordant teleporting
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Discordant teleporting: the arrow shows which direction the user will be facing when they arrive at the spot they teleported to

Best Practices

Provide landmarks near the user and allow for rotational self-motion to mitigate disorientation (Teleporting through virtual environments).

Use self-rotation and self-translation when possible to prevent disorientation and use boundaries withing the virtual environment to help users orient themselves when teleporting is necessary (Spatial cognitive implications).

Body-based motion cues help uses form a better mental map of the virtual environment (Rotational self-motion cues).

Example Applications of Best Practices

A house should be decorated with unique objects such as paintings, plants, and toys in all areas to help users remember where they’ve been and decrease disorientation. Outdoor environments should have unique landmarks such as trees, mountains, and buildings for the same reason.

When using teleportation, users should be able to turn and look around by moving their body to help decrease disorientation.


Cherep, L. A., Lim, A. F., Kelly, J. W., Acharya, D., Velasco, A., Bustamante, E., Ostrander, A. G., & Gilbert, S. B. (2020). Spatial cognitive implications of teleporting through virtual environments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 26(3), 480–492.

Evren Bozgeyikli, Andrew Raij, Srinivas Katkoori, and Rajiv Dubey. 2016. Point & Teleport Locomotion Technique for Virtual Reality. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’16). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 205–216. DOI:

Massimiliano Di Luca, Hasti Seifi, Simon Egan, Mar Gonzalez-Franco. “Locomotion Vault: the Extra Mile in Analyzing VR Locomotion Techniques.” In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-10. 2021. (DOI: 10.1145/3411764.3445319pdf)

J. W. Kelly, A. G. Ostrander, A. F. Lim, L. A. Cherep and S. B. Gilbert, “Teleporting through virtual environments: Effects of path scale and environment scale on spatial updating,” in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 1841-1850, May 2020, doi: