Designing the first user-centric VR controller
UI and UX
Data and analytics

Designing the first user-centric VR controller

Enhanced usability for intuitive control and improved comfort.

Enhanced usability for intuitive control and improved comfort.

Virtual reality is growing at a phenomenal rate. Many of our team are big fans of VR and had paid close attention to the growth of equipment and suppliers in the industry. And after plenty of office discussion and lots of trialling new consoles and controllers, we came to a shared conclusion: existing virtual reality controllers weren’t up to scratch.

So we decided to make our own.

First let’s first define what we mean by ‘up to scratch’. VR at its best is a fully-immersive experience. Consequently, interactions or control methods within a virtual environment need to feel as fluent and intuitive as possible. Any physical discomfort, clunky gameplay or aggravating control process will ruin the experience.

We found that the existing controllers on the market weren’t delivering in terms of interaction and comfort. Binary buttons didn’t allow any nuance in interaction with virtual elements. Heavy and un-ergonomic controllers became burdensome to wear over prolonged gameplay. Battery life was another issue. We had a feeling that perhaps the existing controllers had been designed to meet technical specifications first, rather than with the true needs of users front of mind.

So we thought we’d try to do better. And to ensure user experience remained the primary concern, we developed our eteeController by following our user-first focused design methodology.


We looked into existing market solutions and likely consumer demand for a new type of controller. One key concern was ensuring we could develop the most user-friendly and intuitive controller possible. That led us to research many different possibilities for control methods. VR controllers need a trackpad for highly precise and responsive control in intricate situations. After exhaustive research, we concluded where the existing trackpads on the market fell short. And then we got started on developing our own.  

Define & Design

We began with ideation sessions to determine the best trackpad design considering the many fingers used in gameplay and the desired interactions. We also considered ergonomics, and other wider issues such as product weight, battery life, sustainability issues, and intuitive interaction. We evaluated and discounted many ideas, until we were happy with a way forward. The subsequent designs took into consideration the most effective position, shape and electronics required for the highest resolution and responsiveness.


The first prototype was created for machine testing to prove the effectiveness and responsiveness of the design. The initial machine testing delivered robust, repeatable interactions in a device that fit all our design specifications.  

Testing & Iteration

We believe machine testing can only deliver so many insights. True field testing involves seeing how humans and potential users interact with a new prototype. We took a qualitative and quantitative approach. First, we looked on as others engaged with and used the prototype, making notes and asking questions where appropriate. We tested the controllers in a variety of interaction scenarios, including VR but also controlling drones and other online experiences. We also generated hard data, by creating a custom algorithm that measured user finger input.

We then took this data, and iterated versions of the prototype in a continuous improvement loop. Finally, after many months of late nights, robust discussions and physical product tweaks, we were ready to release our design to the world.

The eteeController launch was a great success. We received double our target amount in crowdfunding, won press exposure, and excited hundreds of gaming enthusiasts with an entirely new approach to VR interaction. eteeController continues to build recognition and momentum as the future of VR control. And we put all of this down to designing a device with the user front of mind.  

++ Find out more about eteeController at You can read more about our UX-focused design methodology on our Insights page.

Alternatively, if you have a project in mind, contact our team here.