I am working on a virtual reality application that is designed to be passed from user to user. We detect when someone removes the headset from their face, and detect when the headset is activated again. Our dilemma is that this might either:

  1. be the same user, who intends to resume their session after taking a break; or
  2. be a new user, who should start the experience from the beginning.

To address this, we have a pause menu dialog with buttons to either restart (go to the start of the experience) or resume. We are unsure how to label these buttons to create a consistent experience for both flows.

 [ Restart ] [ Resume ]

For the "old" user (1) the labels 'Resume' and 'Restart' make sense, consistent with a normal pause menu. However, for a "new" user (2), who just put on the headset for the first time, these labels make less sense. I feel like we would have to instruct everyone to click the 'Restart' button when handing them the headset, or else they might choose 'Resume' expecting the application to already be prepared for them. They might also be disinclined to choose 'Restart' out of fear of resetting something (speculating here).

The new user flow (2) happens most often, so the dialog should primarily be designed for new users and the primary action should be to restart. We do want to keep an option to resume, though. We used to auto restart after a number of seconds of not wearing the headset, but this occasionally led to lost progress.

I'm currently torn between two options:

[ Start new ] [ Resume previous session ]

I specifically mention 'previous session' to emphasize the user would be continuing with the previous user's progress. This is the most explicit wording I could come up with, but I worry it might be too complex.

Start from beginning?
  [ Yes ] [ No ]

This is the simplest dialog I could come up with, but I'm wondering if it might be too simple. Also, I generally try to avoid Yes/No prompts because I feel users might be biased towards 'No' if they are unsure (speculating again).

I would appreciate any input or suggestions!

1 Answer 1


(speculating here)

My first recommendation: Did you ask a few potential users already? Stop speculating, do some user research. And be really worried if your product management cannot give you access to a dozen potential users...

Regarding the design, I understood that you have the entire screen size available. So there is no need to be brief, as in your example messages. Why not be a bit more approachable and write like a real person would talk:

"We noticed you've put on the headset. Thanks for your interest!

Do you want to [start the experience]?

Or did you take a break and want to [continue]?"

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