So i listened to Ebbe’s Interview on the drax files radio hour as well as reading bits from various Blogs and i can’t help but find It a bit infuriating. The topic of ‘New User Experience’ was once again something the CEO wants to try and improve like every CEO thats been before him, and it feels a little bit like we’ve been taken back to the start of the level again.
Im not infuriated at Ebbe. Its just why are we still having this question of ‘Why don’t more people stay’ from the 4th CEO, i mean seriously, since its such an important part of the business in getting users to USE the platform, why is this still a question being asked????? WHY TORLEY WHY!!?????
Anyways It was also mentioned that LL had tried various ways to improve New User Retention, and that LL had tried to give a more Simplified Viewer Experience. Does anyone remember the Basic Viewer?
It was supposed to be a stripped down version of the viewer to see wether New Users experiences of Second Life would be improved by decluttering the UI, making it more focussed on experiencing SL and not creating. I liked the basic viewer and thought it was a step in the right direction, but it also highlighted problems with simplifying Second Life. The Basic Viewer removed the inventory and the ability to buy things because learning to search, find and add attachments and items is more complex than the basic viewer needed to be. But with the inventory hidden it became apparent that there is no simple way to interact with experiences in SL. I could not get a free Bumble Bear to ride.
This maybe partly why the Lab started to work on the Experience Permissions tools that would allow you to have a great experience with attachments and items that did not need your inventory. In fact when Linden Lab do get round to introducing the Experience Permissions System a basic style Viewer could work a lot better without the need for an inventory.
For the past 6 years people have had ideas on how to improve New User Sign up, yet you could probably count the different ideas the Lab has tried on one hand from what i can remember. User arrives, user is taught how to walk, user is left alone to motivate themselves into finding something to do with no idea what there is to do. The most recent change was to give new users topical doors to walk through and end up at random places of interest. This is fine if you don’t care what your potential customer does next.
I still think that perhaps the Lab needs to play a bigger role in the start of peoples Second Lives. Not necessarily hold peoples hands but give a few pointers at the start of whats available for them to do…
“Welcome to Second Life, would you you like to do next? 1. Explore the many Destinations? 2. Make new friends? 3. Play an Experience? 4. Learn to Create? 5. Be Free to explore Second Life.
“You have Chosen Make New Friends’, Here is a list of ‘ChatSpots’ where you can meet new people.”
Maybe pissing about with orientation and magical doors is pointless?
I still STILL believe that Groups in Second life could have a bigger role to play in improving User Retention. The biggest SL communities all have external websites because Second Life Group tools are a billion years old and SUCK. SLfeed was a great step, i socialise with so many more people on that and see new places to visit, but it feels like Linden Lab don’t have the inclination to build on that or even unify it with other SL systems such as Marketplace or Groups.
Groups is the thread that holds every community in Second Life together. If people are going to keep coming back to Second Life, the pathway to finding groups that support their interests needs to be VISIBLE from the start. The crazy thing is the SL communities are more than willing to welcome and help but the outdated way groups work simply won’t allow it.
I try not to write Blog Post like this anymore, because i just end up writing the same stuff i’ve written before which is depressing and does not reflect how i feel when building a huge Sky Pirates Floating runway. Anyways here are a list of ALL my blog posts over the years about improving Group Tools and communication.