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Archive for the ‘New Resident Experience’ Category

Please visit this blog for a great, comprehensive report on the current new resident experience.

A panoramic view of a newcomer’s Learning Island circa September 2013

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(NOTE: I continue to make these posts available for perspective, reference, and historical interest. Locations and links may not be currently active.)

Return to Welcome IslandI decided to put on one of the new avatars and revisit Welcome Island Public4. (Okay, okay … I tweaked the avatar a bit.) I was not at all surprised to find that the public Welcome Islands were empty. Most SL residents don’t read the blogs and don’t have a clue as to how to find out what is happening. They remember Orientation Island and Help Island from their own new resident days and if they are looking for new residents to help, that is where they go.

Slipping into Female Designer Outfit off I went to re-experience Welcome Island. I made sure to enable my media viewer and set to auto-play as I was led to believe this would impact the experience favorably.

It didn’t. I tried all stations both with and without media playing. The only change was that in very tiny print at the bottom of each poster was an option to view the textures in languages other than English. This instruction should have been in a separate LARGE poster at the arrival point.

Teeny Tiny Print

At Station 5: Flying, where I had a complaint before, with media disabled and knowing what to look for, I saw the little icons at the upper right corner of the posters that indicated to which system the poster referred to use to fly. With media enabled, both posters showed the same thing – using the Page and arrow keys. I guess Mac users with media enabled are out of luck here.

Finally reaching the Destination Station, I was interested to know what I had missed by not having media enabled on my first visit. The posters to the side are a slide show on how to use the destination guide. If I’d followed those directions, I would never have made it to Discovery Island. The side posters direct you to blindly teleport away from Welcome Island, without mentioning that you can’t come back if you missed anything.

I decided to teleport on to SL DiscoveryIsland Public3. A young female avatar wearing the tag VOLUNTEER was there and I stopped to ask her a few questions. She insisted that Welcome Island and Discovery Island were only in the testing stages and was surprised that new residents were directed to Viewer 2 as the default download. She didn’t know the answer to the most basic questions about the V2 interface. She purported to be member of Mentors !, comprised mostly of ex-Linden Lab mentors. I had to wonder about the training. She indicated that because Lexie Linden was a member of the group, that made it an official group. I suppose then that Looney Labs Fans is an official Linden Labs group because Babbage Linden is a member. It seems that newbie predators are discovering Discovery Island.

All in all, my opinion about the Welcome Island and Discovery Island experience hasn’t changed. If anything, I even more disappointed in it.

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(NOTE: I continue to make these posts available for perspective, reference, and historical interest. Locations and links may not be currently active.)

 Discovering Shopping in Second Life

At last I am ready to approach the Shopping area. The entrance is rather imposing, like a temple of some sort, and I’m pretty excited to see what’s there.

Mall Directory

At the entrance is a sign which tells us what is on each level of this structure. (I’d really like to discover my hair.) I tried clicking on it to teleport to the levels but the sign isn’t interactive. Guess I’ll have to walk or FLY!

Buying Lindens

You all know that I tend to go left in a new situation so after reading the sign, I moved over to the video screen on the left to “Learn How to Shop and Purchase $L.”

Can I just mention here that there is an option in BUILD to automatically sit when clicking on an object? Mousing over the chairs doesn’t give any clues as to how to sit. Using the auto-sit function (which Torley promotes in his build vids) eliminates the whole “right click, find sit in the menu and click again” thing.

Torley starts this 3 1/2 minute tutorial by explaining how to buy Lindens using the viewer, but doesn’t mention that you have to have previously provided payment information to Linden Labs through your account profile. Moving on to how to buy Lindens through your website dashboard he mentions providing payment information there. There is no mention of buying Lindens at a reduced rate on Xstreet SL or from third parties (but I guess you wouldn’t expect that unless Linden Labs was trying to encourage a free market economy).

What to buy! Oh the choices!

He tells us that we can buy cool things in world and explains that most of the content is created by Second Life residents so that by purchasing from them we are supporting small businesses! Unspecified services, real-world goods and “lots of land” are available from Second Life entrepreneurs, according to Torley. (Interesting aside: Do you guys know that selling real world goods on Xstreet SL is prohibited?)

Torley shows us a “3 dimensional” shopping experience and buys a dress then pages through Xstreet SL and buys a dress. Ya gotta love Torley for his bold fashion choices. He races through finding your purchases in your Inventory without mentioning the Recent Tab.

The instructions are hard to follow because your open windows cover the screen

The best feature of this tutorial is how to open a box! This screen illustrates one of the worst features of this viewer: with the windows open, the screen is mostly obscured. Torley uses this opportunity to mention Sandboxes as a place to open boxes.

Appearance Vidtuit

I’m excited to find out how to change my avatar appearance. At long last, perhaps I can get some hair. After some chatter about what an Avatar is (comparing it to a dress up doll), Torley gets to avatar customization.

Trying to follow the video with your inventory open is futile

Wow! This is confusing. He says to open the MY PROFILE tab and choose click on the Appearance button at the bottom. There isn’t any on my MY PROFILE tab. As a new user, it is only AFTER I select the Cancel or Save Changes button that a normal MY PROFILE tab comes up.

I open up the Appearance menu and my focus moves from the video screen to me and I can’t get back to the video screen without closing the Appearance menu so it’s not a very interactive experience. Torley spends a whole 27 seconds on customizing your avatar.

Me at last praise god I'm ee at last!

He spends more time telling us how to use prepared Outfits from inventory. This is when I FINALLY get my hair. Through experimentation I discover I am wearing the Female Designer Outfit, so I locate the folder in the My Outfits folder and click the Wear button. Haired at last.

Why are gestures part of appearance?

I’m not sure why Gestures are included in Customizing Avatars. This snap show the “convenient” way to use gestures. Doesn’t seem so convenient to me. Why doesn’t Torley tell how to use them from the keyboard? I completely missed the seqment on Animation Overriders the first time through the video. It wasn’t a really good explaination and didn’t explain how to use the free animations so I guess I didn’t really miss anything anyway.

For those who are intimidated or confused by this introduction to avatar customization, Torley reminds them that they can buy ready-made items on Xstreet SL. Let’s support those small business entrepreneurs.

Born ready to shop!

I am SO READY to shop now … having finally discovered my hair and outfit I want something new right away. The first floor features avatars and vehicles. Heading to the carousel on the left which shows off some really nice women’s clothing, I look for information telling me about the clothing, where to get them, who made them … ANYTHING!!!! But alas, this is a static display and new residents can only look and wonder.

Wandering through the displays, I look in vain for any kind of information about what I am seeing. Daringly taking a tip from a poster, I type “tinies” into the search bar. Not really knowing what tinies, are the results make no sense to me. I’m also a little scared of just going someplace to explore (but this is a memory from my past life as an Oldie showing).

The static displays on the first floor, Avatars and Vehicles, are beautiful and sincere, but they tell me nothing about the things they feature. Beautifully and sincerely useless.

On the second floor, featuring Furniture, the video about Linden Homes is repeated. Each of the Linden themed areas is shown with representative furniture. Again, there is no information about the creators or shopping venues , aside from a brief mention of Xstreet SL in the video. The wonderfully creative displays are wasted space.

But I wanna buy sumpthin'!

Torley’s vidtuit (video tutorial) on avatar customization is repeated on the 3rd level, which is full of free avatar accessories. BUG ALERT: The free Aidan Bangles doesn’t have anything in it. (As an Oldie, I am happy to see that slutwear is not the preferred give-away anymore.)

The Shopaholic’s Other Sister bought everything she saw! And … oohh …. discovered the “wear clothing now” button by accident. Time to try my first outfit on. Oh no, the “wear clothing now” button doesn’t work as advertised. After futzing around a bit, I got my new outfit on and my old outfit off. But my new choker takes its name seriously and the Female Designer skin leaves my granny undies hanging out.

There was one last thing to do before leaving SL Discovery Island5. Remember the Free Animation posters? There are 9 posters scattered through out SL Discovery Island5 urged us to collect them all and I did (save yourself the trouble, get the one at the front of the Temple of Shopping). The poster promised that a video in the shopping building would teach us how to use them but nowhere was there a video explaining its use.

Finally I wore it and discovered that it is an ugly HUD (heads up display) which attaches in the middle of the screen. Most of them contained the same three gestures: Smile, joy jump, and clap. A few contained six additional gestures: peace, pump, blowkiss, muscles, backflip, and whistle. There is space for additional gestures but no clue as to where they can be found. Can you imagine what I’m kissing off in the picture above?

I think I’ve exhausted all that SL Discovery Island5 has to offer. I’ve spent hours exploring it and trying things out. Frankly, I have no idea where to go from here. For a clue, I returned to the entrance and watched the Welcome video again (where were the flying flowers?). No help there so back to the video about exploring Second Life. Also not a big help. I guess I’ll stop here today and decide where to go first on another day. Any suggestions?

Note: It’s taken me a while to get this bit together because I really didn’t like the whole “shopping” experience. Also, I removed both V2 and 1.23 from my computer and reinstalled them so that my settings would be the default experienced by a new user. Didn’t fix the problem of crashing on log out.

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(NOTE: I continue to make these posts available for perspective, reference, and historical interest. Locations and links may not be currently active.)

 Its the Hollywood Bowl!

At first glance, SL Discovery Island5 reminded me of the Hollywood Bowl or the lobby of some big hotel in Florida. All shiny and teal. Since everything seemed a bit blurry, I went to EDIT>ME (Doesn’t that sound like it should be related to editing appearance?) and reset all my graphics to Ultra. Everything was still soft and unrealistic so it must be a stylistic thing. I also enabled Media and checked Allow Media to Auto play. (I had edited preferences before logging in and disabled almost everything.) (Did I mention my lack of hair?)

I had to click on the media screen twice to get it going and once I did I was like “OMG, is that Torley Linden doing a bad Ricardo Montalban?” (Forgive me Torley! I love you!! Kisses!!!) (Not that Torley actually READS my blog.)

The Welcome video was a disappointment: All PR and no content. There are no arrows or posters to indicate where to go next. And my hand is stuck in the pointing position, which I later discovered can be overcome by clicking on my own avatar.

Free Animations ~ Okay, now what?

The first poster I encounter promises free animations and tells me that I’ll learn how to use them through a tutorial in the shopping building. Even with high end graphics, I had to zoom in on the sign to read it. Although I’m told that I was given an Animation Menu, I don’t see anything new on my screen. And what are these bizarre floating discs!

I'm a Dancing Queen!

Being a good little explorer, I decided to go left around the perimeter before heading into the interior. The first thing I came across was one of several “Dance tree” palm trees planted around the area, with “Click Me” on the pads around it. Clicking on the tree shakes leaves around you and clicking on the pad dances you to a lovely drum beat. As you can see, the “staying selected” bug is still present. Another annoying thing is that almost every time you stand up from a “Click Me” you automatically fly.

This is awkward!

This isn’t me flying; this is me after sitting on the Flower Thrower. It apparently exists to toss you into the air, where you flail around for a bit and have to stand up and fly and land.

The photo booth, which you will see all over being used for different things but with the same name

The next thing was a Photo booth where you can send a postcard outside of SL. They don’t tell you that it’s either that or save it to disk, because it takes Lindens to save it to inventory. I wonder how much Linden Labs would lose if they gave all new residents $10L to take one picture. Billions?

People will flock to SL after seeing this picture!

Maybe this should be my profile picture. (At least standing up from here doesn’t make you fly.)

Its CenturySL Real Estate!

A web link and video advertisement for premium membership and the new Linden homes is next. It bothers me that a new resident is led to believe that the only way to have a home is to become a premium member and get one from Linden Labs.

Discover shopping

There are more Flower Throwers, Dance Trees, and Photo Booths around the rim, but precious little content. When I got to the Discover Shopping poster, I clicked all around it looking for something more, but sometimes a sign is just a sign.

Things to do at Discovery Island

I spent some time exploring the glass walk-overs, rotating seats, and interactive objects. Many of the objects were created using megaprims, which I’ve been led to believe would be phased out.

Discovery Island items made from a 20x20 prim
Do as we say, not as we do.

Again I met new residents who complained that they were lost and didn’t know what to do next or where to go. One fellow discovered the Landmark tab and got all excited about Help Island and Orientation Island landmarks. I asked him to let me know about his experiences there.

[07:30] Dannie NewResident: hey any idea how to go about in this game

[07:47] Rachele NewResident: I’m lsott

Central Courtyard at Discovery Island

In the central interior area are 4 video screens showing 3 Torley Linden vidtuits (video tutorials). Being a good maze explorer, I returned to the end nearest the entrance and began with the video to the left.

Using the crippled Search non-function to explore

Learn How to Explore is about 50 seconds long (not counting the titles) and starts with typing something into the Search bar. This is the first time the Teleport function has been mentioned. Torley then discusses the Destination Guide briefly.

Learn How to Make Friends in Second Life is shown on two screens and is about 3 minutes long. It touches briefly on the profile, Friends List and adding friends, IMing, Groups, using the Map to locate areas with lots of avatars, and the new Linden Lab acquisition, Avatars United.

Torley talks to Ravenelle!

The last video is How to Talk. (I hope Ravenelle gets paid for guest appearances.) It was almost shocking to hear Torley say “Most of the other avatars you see in Second Life are real people.” I mean, aren’t all of the avatars real people? Even ‘bots have a real, if absent, person behind them. In 2 minutes Torley touches on individual and group chat, IMs, in-world Voice, offline emails, and receiving phone calls inworld from out of world phones through the AvaLine service.

Making Friends Vidtuit (video tutorial by Torley Linden)

All in all you get about 6 minutes of practical application video tutorials in this area.

That’s all for now folks. Later I’ll tell you about entering the TEMPLE TO SHOPPING!

Approaching the Temple of Shopping

*Technicalish aside: I did seem to have a lot of trouble hitting the “sweet spot” when clicking objects. It may have been my computer or mouse rather than the environment. That said, in some instances I clicked all around the “Click Me” signs and finally went into Transparency View to find the right place to click. (ctrl-alt-T on PC or cmd-alt-T on Mac for any newbie actually reading this)

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(NOTE: I continue to make these posts available for perspective, reference, and historical interest. Locations and links may not be currently active.)

LOGGING IN AT WELCOME ISLAND

Full of enthusiasm for the “streamlined introduction to our online world, one that is simple, linear, and integrated with Viewer 2” guarenteed “to make Second Life more welcoming for new Residents” I created a new account and logged in to Welcome Island 11.

Logging in at Welcome Island

After rezzing as a cloud (as a newcomer, I didn’t know what that was and panicked for a moment) my avatar’s shape took form.   I imagine a newcomer expecting to look like the avatar she picked might wonder why she has no hair.

As you can see, the side bar obscures the arrows that the poster is telling us to follow. And there aren’t directions telling how to close the sidebar. Also, theres no information on the location.

Already a daunting experience for a newcomer.

At the Chat station

Station 3 is chat. You get a talking parrot and a poster about typing in the chat bar. That’s it. Still no hair.

Station 5 ~ Fear of Flying

At Station 4 you learn to sit on an object. Problem is the object stayed selected after I sat on it no matter what I did. Also someone was IMing me and getting irate because her IMs weren’t popping up and staying up and I hadn’t gotten to the station about answering IMs yet so I didn’t know how to answer her. Still no hair.

Station 5 ~ Fear of Flying

Station 5 – Flying (is that so important it has to be the fifth thing you learn?) Uh, what key is FN? I don’t have one of those on my keyboard. I do have a Page Up and Page Down key.

By the way, that new resident who was IMing me? She quit.

14:58] Meghan Bowler: hello

[14:58] Second Life: Friendship offer accepted.

[14:58] Meghan Bowler: are you new here cuz i am and its really confusing

[14:59] Meghan Bowler: hello????

[15:05] JessieJ Frostwych: i am new here … this is really confusing

[15:05] Second Life: User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.

Still waiting to unfuzz

Problem with using posters as main communication is the time they take to rez. Maybe the posters should specify MAC and PC. Or have informative text when you mouse over them. 3 minutes later PC directions poster has still not rezzed. Yes, I cleared cache, set preferences, etc. before beginning this journey. What do you take me for? A newcomer?  (Still no hair)

What exactly are we learning here?

At last, I arrived at Station 6, the entrance to Discovery Island. This station is one of the six easy steps to learning about Second Life? What exactly are we learning there?

Now where exactly am I?

I was interested in the “You are here” arrow and so opened my map to examine my surroundings a little closer. I wasn’t where I was!

They don't know where they are either!

Putting the anomaly aside, I carefully read and moused over the posters. In many PC video games the cursor changes when you mouse over interactive objects so I was looking for something like that as a clue to what to do next. None of the posters caused the cursor to change when moused over. In fact, naming conventions and cursor change to show interactivity were inconsistent throughout my experience. This wouldn’t have been allowed in any game of which I’m aware.

Are you lost too?

I checked the Destination Guide on the Sidebar but Discovery Island wasn’t listed so I took a chance and typed “discovery island” in the Search bar of the guide. It appears that Discovery Island is a privately owned sim, not a Linden Labs property at all. I foresee the private owner may have a few unwanted visitors in the future. (Yes, the picture shows I was already at SL Discovery Island because I forgot to take a picture the first time.)

At last I managed to click on just the right spot on the poster and some map coordinates popped up. Taking a breath I clicked on the coordinates and held my breath … and turned blue, because I did not go to Discovery Island. Instead the map opened. Keeping in mind that as a new resident, using the map, looking at place profiles, and teleporting have not yet been explained, this was confusing. I moved the map aside and looked at the place profile and again …. Taking a breath I clicked on the Teleport button and held my breath … and went to SL Discovery Island5. (Can I mention here that I still have no hair?)

NOTES: Carl Linden made some good points in response to my comments on another thread https://blogs.secondlife.com/message/160492#160492 I did not have Auto Play enabled for media during my walk-thru, which probably would have made a few things a little easier.

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(NOTE: I continue to make these posts available for perspective, reference, and historical interest. Locations and links may not be currently active.)

On Sunday April 18, 2010 I intended to complete Viewer2Tips. I stopped at a courtyard with what appeared to be 3 screens. Although my media settings were on, I didn’t see anything on the screens, so I lowered my Graphics settings and did my usual “380” (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT 3, C-A-S 8, C-A-S 0, C-A-S -, C-A-S =, CTRL-ALT-F5, CTRL-ALT-F6 to turn off rendering for linden tress & grass, ground, clouds, particles, fog, and foot shadows). Clicking on the sign I got a texture saying “Site Undergoing Maintenance: The site is currently undergoing an upgrade and will be unavailable for most of the day. April 18.” So I popped over to SL Grid status and didn’t see any scheduled maintenance for whatever site is feeding that particular feature.

Media Kiosk on Viewer2Tips wasn’t working on April 18 or on April 23. Did it ever?

On Friday April 23, 2010 I returned to Viewer2Tips Island and discovered that the screens are still not working. How about an “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon” sign guys?

Note: For the next section I used the Second Life 2.0.1 upgrade. The first thing I noticed was that the cursor now changes over interactive objects. Yes, it’s that annoying black background but at least it’s something. Actually, it’s a little thing that makes a big difference. Thanks Linden Labs!

So I went on to visit the Inventory Features Building. You are so NOT going to believe this but see those two posters? THAT’S IT! That’s all they have to say about the gi-normous changes, additions, tweaks, and doubtful improvements to Inventory and its control and manipulation issues.

Opening a new inventory window is the same INVENTORY TAB>FILE>NEW WINDOW. This opens a separate window that acts more in the way V1 UI users are accustomed. It still has a tool bar at the bottom, but it is a detached window so you can move it around the screen.

V2 UI APPEARANCE TAB>WEARING vs. V1 UI INVENTORY SEARCH>(WORN

Wow, now you get a list of what you are wearing using the V2 UI APPEARANCE TAB>WEARING but that window is seriously limited in action.

If you right click on a modifiable item using the V2 UI APPEARANCE TAB>WEARING you get a grayed out Edit option plus a Take Off option if applicable. To do anything else like edit the name or move it to another file, you must still go to INVENTORY SEARCH>(WORN, thus increasing the number of steps to do a simple task. Also, it appears that worn items are now listed in more than one location, making it difficult to locate the folder it is in. And question: Does this increase our Inventory count? I SO DO NOT NEED MORE USELESS INVENTORY!

The posters over on the left are copies of the textures for all of the Features. They would be better placed in each of the individual areas.

BUILDING FEATURES

As a builder it was with great anticipation I headed over to the Building Features Building. Perhaps I am a bit naïve, but I crossed my fingers that this experience would be different.

An important change, FILE>UPLOAD has been moved to INVENTORY TAB>FILE>UPLOAD. The shortcut for a single image upload remains CTRL-U, so at least you can still “one-click” it. Related is the Save Texture AS function. This is now located on the Open Texture Window, at the bottom right or by right clicking the texture in Inventory and choosing Save As … (last option).

In another example of clueless organization, the relocation of the V1 UI VIEW>PROPERTY LINES and VIEW>BANLINES to the V2 UI WORLD>SHOW> PROPERTY LINES and BANLINES is shown next.

One of the controversial changes in the V2 UI has been the elimination of the V2 UI EDIT and TOOLS menus and consolidation of only the prim construction aspects of editing under the V2 UI BUILD menu. As a builder, I have not found this consolidation helpful, but this isn’t the place to go into that in depth. The relocation of EDIT and TOOLS features is not at all intuitive and you’ll have to hunt around for some of your favorite tools.

Another feature moved to an anti-intuitive location is the relocation of the V1 UI feature VIEW>HIGHLIGHT TRANSPARENT to CTRL-ALT-D>ADVANCED>HIGHLIGHTING AND VISIBILITY>HIGHLIGHT TRANSPARENT.

IMPORTANT ASIDE ABOUT THE ADVANCED MENU: I’ve talked with many new users who have been looking to solve very simple problems, like “how do I stop dancing.” When you tell them they have to open an ADVANCED Menu, which the Wiki still says is “at your own risk,” they are really confused. Many of them cannot use CTRL-ALT-D because this is also used for Camera movement. You have to tell them to move their cursor to the very top of the screen before doing that. The poor dears are already so confused and frustrated; this is just an additional hassle.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

This experience is highly flawed. It presents information in a disorganized jumble. Important changes are glossed over by poorly designed and labeled posters. Most of the media presentations are not working. The environment is harsh and glaring, the poster fuzzy. Teleportation from the central area often leaves you flailing in the air due to poorly set coordinates.

That being said, I advise all V1 UI users to visit and become familiar with the area as it’s all we have. The V2 UI is changing faster that Linden Labs is updating their online documentation. I urge you to give feedback, positive and negative, to Linden Labs.

At long last, my visit to Viewer2Tips Island has come to an unsatisfactory and frustrating end. Now, where should a new resident go to learn more about the amazing world of Second Life? Any suggestions?

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