Im not a fan of themes. I see SLB akin to the WWDC or E3 of Second Life. An expo for the community at large to display their little parts of SL and a chance to see what everyone else is up to. But a theme can help give focus for some to build around.
This years Theme was ‘Looking forward, looking back’ and while it’s easy at 10 years of Second Life to look back at how we all got here, not much has been said about looking forward. Although i will admit i’ve still got three quarters of SLB to get a look at so some may very well have looked forward.
So anyway i decided i would write a few posts on my thoughts looking forward, starting with simplification.
I’ve started ignoring new users. It’s terrible, i shouldn’t but i have. My work, my projects my clothes are all designed and created for the user who knows what they are doing. At my Island town centre there is a steady influx of new users, dressed in new user basic skin tight clothing, just stood there trying to work out what to do. Where they go after that is a mystery to me but i find myself ignoring them as being a nuisance of sorts almost wanting to say “go away and come back when you’ve learnt how to use SL” – terrible, i feel terrible.
With the lab removing the tutorial island from the start New Users are left to fend for themselves in the open wide grid randomly arriving anywhere in the destination guide. At first you may think “THIS IS MADNESS”, well only Linden Lab can know that as I’m sure they are monitoring the retention difference since going this new route. Letting new users just get out their on the grid may actually be a good idea and perhaps i as a destination owner could be doing more to educate new users. But i’ve tried and its too hard because every time i try to simplify tasks, they end up still to difficult to grasp.
So can the Lab do something to make this task of educating new users easier? well, yes and they are. Many moons ago you may remember the New Gaming Tools promised by Rodvik. It lead many to comment “Bah SL is not a Game, we don’t need Gamification tools“, well yeh , we do actually. You see the Game tools, now renamed to ‘Experience Tools’ could help me to make tasks easier for new users to get to grips with SL.
Imagine your self as a new user arriving randomly at a place and that place automatically attaches a discreet HUD that encourages you to take part in a task in an interesting way thats unique to that place. The Experience Tools will not just be about making games, it’ll hopefully make it easier for us to perform simple tasks in more immersive and intuitive ways. And perhaps the Lab themselves will use the tools to build more education places for new users.
The wait hopefully is nearly over with rumours of a Beta/project viewer just around the corner. So looking forward I’m seeing an easier to interact with Grid. But only if content creators embrace the new tools.