Saturday, March 26, 2011

Latest SL Beta Viewer has Basic and Advanced Modes

In the Linden blog entry on March 18, Rodvik Linden talked about Linden Lab making efforts in customer service, lag, and usability. The latter was the main point of the post:

Many of you have noted that Second Life is difficult to use, both for yourself and when inviting friends inworld. This usability issue is more complex than the user interface as it not only includes finding people and places, but it is also is dependent on some of the items above. We want to make an experience that helps you overcome some of the big usability hurdles that you’ve shared with me.

Today, we’re launching a new version of Second Life Viewer Beta which introduces two modes that are available to everyone who downloads it--Basic and Advanced.

Basic mode is an easier, simplified experience designed to introduce users to Second Life. It includes simple communication and navigation tools such as click to move and hold to move the camera, a choice of 24 pre-configured avatars, and an integrated Destination Guide to help you connect to friends and interesting places quickly and easily. Certain functionality, such as voice capability, building tools, and the ability to purchase virtual goods, is not available in Basic mode.

Advanced mode is for those already familiar with Second Life who use the full feature set of the SL Viewer.

There were numerous comments in the feedback forum. Among them was Shockwave Yareach, “Click to move comes right out of Blue Mars. I hated it then and I hate it now.” Opinion was mixed, some feeling it was useful for newcomers, others feeling it was flawed one way or another, or overall too stripped down.

Yours truly downloaded the beta viewer, but was unable to run it. Looking for reviews elsewhere, Daniel Voyager’s Blog had a Youtube of the Beta Viewer’s Basic Mode.

In “Dwell on It,” Tateru Nino wrote she liked it overall, though thought it was difficult to move around, “the click-to-move feature gets tangled up with the rest of the UI, causing a lot of unexpected frog-hopping, plus that feature’s tendency to jam the avatar through walls and other intervening obstacles.” Still, in her opinion it was good for someone coming to Second Life for the first time. But wrote that the idea that all that was needed to attract and retain newcomers was a better viewer was "dead wrong."

Hamlet Au in New World Notes commented on the feature in which one could change the avatar’s appearance in a single click, “This will likely change a new Second Life user's understanding of an SL avatar, making it seem less like a concrete persona that represents important aspects of your real life self or personality. (Which is how most long-term Second Life users see their avatar.)” He saw a resemblance to “The Sims,” which Rod Humble worked on before coming to Linden Lab, “So it's a very significant change. And, in my opinion, a good one: The Sims franchise is many times larger than Second Life ... But as The Sims begins to show its age, it's a safe bet than some Sims fans will look to a revived SL to take their imagination to another level.”

At the end, Hamlet joked one might expect to find new residents from “The Sims” to ask where the bathroom was.

Sources: Linden Blog, Daniel Voyager's Blog, Dwell on It, New World Notes

Bixyl Shuftan

1 comment:

  1. There is a very good reason why Phoenix is used by the majority of people who log in to SL - it's because it's the best viewer out there. LL has consistently failed at it's attempts to update the "official" viewers, and should stop wasting it's time and money - just hire the Phoenix team and be done with it.

    "Basic" mode is not what is needed. What *IS* needed is a restoration of the old "Mentors" program, which LL foolishly and unceremoniously torpedoed some time ago.

    When I first joined SL over 5 years ago, I had a hell of a time figuring out how to do anything. Thankfully, some very nice people - SL Mentors - were there to help me through those first few awkward weeks.

    I propose that LL take all the money they are wasting on developing viewers that people don't really want, and instead use it to bring back something that really helped new users - the Mentor Program.