The purpose of theming a location is a form of multi-sensory marketing intended for the visitor to potentially leave their every day own world behind without having to travel very far. Examples of themed areas might be indoors (i.e. a dance club featuring pirates and ships or a performance area such as a stage telling a story), outdoors (i.e. oversized plants in an amusement park that reduces the relative size of tourists to ants), and even underwater (i.e. a submarine ride that passes by sharks and tallking fish) through the use of music, lighting, props, and smells.
The tempo of the music and sound effects can set the mood of a themed area such as ghostly sounds in a cemetery scene or whimsical tunes in a cartoon area. Colored lights can also contribute towards the sensory experience which is the case when lightning strikes appear randomly in front of the visitor while drops of water fall onto them to simulate a rain storm. Finally, props are the most common elements of a themed area and are most effective when they are unique and memorable only at that particular location. Props should be time-period consistent with the intended theme and contribute towards telling the story without overwhelming the visitor nor saturating the area.
The use of props should enhance the intended focus of the area and not detract from it such as the case when large props improperly positioned or are overlapping each other. Questions such as why a particular prop is being used should be asked throughout the setup and/or performance time to determine whether that particular prop is really needed. Observation of the initial visitors are key in determining the effectiveness of a prop as their visit time and actions (i.e. are they distracted with personal tasks such as instant messaging with others or interacting with the props) should provide sufficient clues whether the excess or lack of proper theming has occurred.
If the goal is to get the attention of avatars whether it be signs, products, or some other attraction then such items should be rezzed at eye level. In the real world many retail stores will place merchandise at just before or at eye level, however in virtual worlds the most common eye levels are actually the avatar’s should up about two meters above the avatar’s head (sometimes referred to as camera angle and position). This is why, unlike in real life stores, many in-world stores stack items from the floor all the way to the ceiling.
However, as with any marketing methods there are always exceptions to the rule. When an avatar is in a seated position their camera position will be closer to the floor. This is also true for some of the smaller avatars in virtual worlds which is similar to real life stores who will place items such as toys and cartoon cereal boxes closer to the ground so that those products are at eye level with kids. Depending on the circumstances, an avatar in a seated position might also be in mouse-look view in which case the camera position and angle is from the front of the avatars eyes just like in real life. Shoppers tend to scan merchandise in the same method as they read a book (i.e. left-to-right such as in the western hemisphere) and will usually find the most expensive items at eye level which the lesser expensive or generic brands are located on the very top shelf or close to the floor.
The visual impact of wall decorations such as art, paintings, and photographs should also be located at eye level even if the room has a high ceiling. When rezzing such items keep in mind that the size of the artwork should be proportional to the space. Small pictures should not be placed on large empty walls and huge paintings should not be located on small walls. When there are several small decorations to be rezzed in an area they need to be clustered together with a common theme in order to fill up the space.
The entrance to your business is one of the first things visitors will notice and can greatly effect whether you make a sale or not. The visual appearance needs to be inviting to portray your business in a positive light. It should be attractive both around the entrance itself, but also the path leading up to the door.
One of the most common attributes of an store front includes awnings, plants, statues, and signs. The awning canvas covering adds an aesthetic appear as well as some shelter from the elements. The plants surrounding the entrance are usually in a contained area such as potted structure or sticking up out of a segmented area of the building Sometimes multiple plants are used to create a garden. foundation. Statues can either be either side of the door or placed out in the grass lawn area leading up to the entrance. Signage is usually above the door or on one side recessed in the wall flush with the entryway.
it is very important that any decoration around the entrance does not impede navigation around or through it. While virtual worlds generally do not enforce accessibility laws such as ADA (American Disability Act) like real-world stores do, it is still a best practice to not affect avatar movement nor cause one’s camera controls to unnecessarily be impeded as a result of objects in the doorway. The final consideration is to welcome any and all visitors either with non-obstructive signage (such as a welcome mat) and make it clear to the avatar how they can contact someone for additional assistance.