In SL I’m considered a rather old avatar, and I’m very proud of it. (In RL I’m a middle age human being, and very proud of it too, but that’s another story).
Therefore, when Viewer 2.0 arrived and, unlike many of my colleagues, I was far from enthusiastic – to say it euphemistically- I firstly thought it’s was due to aging. I was becoming a grumpy old avatar!
That’s why, after things settled down (the 2.0 viewer is not beta anymore), I decided to analyse the new viewer with newbies eyes and see if it really can help newcomers to feel at ease, enjoy their experience and stay.
To see if people are going to go smoothly along their learning curve and stay, I think that we have to go back to the registration process and Welcome Island, where we all started.
So, here I am, going through the registration process again (and now regretting I did not document my other registrations: It would have been nice to compare).
Once I have registered and confirmed by mail my new avatar I’m greeted with this screen.
Now, for what I know for my personal experience and for talking a lot with newbies (and I meet every trimester many, since I’m e-tutor in a course about SL and new trends in learning), what scares away most new potential user is: to be asked for money. I mean: would you give money to someone you do not know and for something you do not know what it is and are not sure if you want to buy? So I do not think it wise to start talking about money too soon (and I do not agree with Linden: what makes you stay is to buy something. I have the impression that most people start to spend money after 6-12 months of being in SL, but of course I’ve no statistic data).
I click on “Not now”.
The following screen ask me to choose between welcome island and community gateways.
If I remember it right, there was this choice as well the last time i created an avatar, but you were not asked to “chose” so directly. If you did not know what was this about you could simply skip the step and you land in welcome area. My newbie brain would hesitate quite a bit at this point, since I do not see which one is the “default” choice.
Obviously, in this case I decide to go to Welcome Island, since I want to have a look at it.
Next step is clear: download the program, install it and …. a quick guide. Very nice! Since I usually get bored while downloading and installing programs, there are many chances that I start reading the quick guide.
I click to the Quick Start Guide.
This screen explains the main functions of the 3 bars. Hovering my mouse on the numbers I can read what they are for. If I want to learn more, I have a neat sidebar with an index. 1 point for this.
Yet, since I’m an old grumpy avatar, I wonder: do newbies, with no experience in MUVEs or MORPGs and the similar, as I was when I arrived in SL, understand what “teleport”,” gesture” and the likes mean?
Ok, the viewer 2.0 is installed, let’s get in.
The first think i see is… my avatar all grey. Ok, that’s normal and I can say I’m lucky. Other newbies around me are ectoplasms. In front of me there is a big board explaining how to change appearance. I do not notice at first the arrows on the floor saying “use keyboard arrows”. So I pretend I did not see them, and let’s follow instructions to try to change my outfit.
I click on the icon, I select an outfit. And I do not see any “wear” button. Of course If I had learned first to move, I would be able to go nearer to the Board and see where number 3 is pointing. At the end I spot it, at the bottom of my sidebar, black on a black background… very easy to to see ;D.
In the meantime I got a freebies landmark from a guy who is 2 weeks old. No lindens or no welcoming staff around.
But let’s see if other newbies here manage to change outfit.
Time: 1:57 pm SLT: There is an avatar in front of me, near the Appearance Board. She is in her undies. Let’s call her Newbie 1. Let’s see how long does she take to find the “wear” button.
Time: 2:03 pm SLT: Newbie 1 is now editing appearance, has is voice on and i can hear that he’s clicking or hitting on his keyboard.He became a man, by the way.
Time: 2:06 pm SLT: newbie 1 still in the same position, still cliccking with no result. Two new avatar arrives. Let’s call them newbie 2 and newbie 3. That’s getting interesting. Will they manage to learn how to use SL?
Newbie 3 goes straight in the direction pointed by the arrows. Will it be an “old” avatar disguised as newbies, or did she simple see first the arrow indications?
Time: 2:10 pm SLT: Newbie 1 still stuck, newbie 2 disappeared (crashed? gave up? went to do something in RL?) newbie 3 is going very fast, stop only briefly at the boards. I don’t see her practicing the actions suggested by the tutorial but I’m not always watching her, therefore I cannot be sure.
Time: 2:14 pm SLT: newbie 1 is still stuck. I’m strongly tempted to help him, poor thing… But I need laboratory animals! New newbies are arriving, some skip altogether the “appearance” board and go into the building.
Time: 2:18 pm SLT: Newbie 1 still stuck. I have a new avatar beside me. He does not do anything. Don’t move, nothing. Not bad looking, by the way After a while he disappears (at 2:24 pm SLT). Newbie 3 is still around but I do not know where.
I sent a message to newbie 3, to see if she is a real newbie. Here is her answer. I think she’s is used to communicate at least in chat or she is young, since she uses “lol” in her IM.
[14:13] adalgisa Braumley: hi
[14:22] Newbie 3: Hi
[14:22] adalgisa Braumley: just a question. are you new here?
[14:22] adalgisa Braumley: how does it work?
[14:23] Newbie 3: yes very new, cant find my way out of this room again lol
[14:23] Newbie 3: hehe I dont know much about how it works, just arrived
[14:23] adalgisa Braumley: me neither(1) (1)hem hem, ok I lied, but I was force to! I did it for the science!)
[14:24] adalgisa Braumley: I was asking you because i saw that you were very quick
[14:24] Newbie 3: hehe
[14:24] adalgisa Braumley: doing the tutorial
[14:24] adalgisa Braumley: I’m still trying to change my appearance
[14:25] Newbie 3: ahh, ok, I will be happy with my look for a while, until I find out how it all works
[14:27] adalgisa Braumley: )
[14:27] adalgisa Braumley: may be i follow your advice
Time: 2:28 pm SLT: newbie 1 is still stuck, and still trying to get unstuck. She will stay: she’s stubborn
I get fed up and decide to follow the tutorial and take snapshot of the different part, so you will not need to make a new avatar to see the new Orientation Island and may be you will be able to help your students go through it.
(by the way, newbie 3 is back to the landing point (time: 2:34 pm SLT), at least two avatar crashed/gave up/went back to RL and did not relog)
Board 2: camera controls
As you see, we learn straight to use the keyboard. No mention whatsoever to the “view” button and the Camera Controls commands. May be Linden Lab agrees with most of old grumpy avatar and thinks that the new version of Camera controls is messy and clumsy?
Board 3: communicate
Ah, the old parrot is there, with a new, improved look!
Here I discovered an interesting features. If you click on the language name at the bottom, you will see the board in the chosen language. Very nice indeed. I just wonder why, in the two occasion I spent time in Orientation Island (I came back later to check things) all the board I was seeing were in English. Does it mean that people do not notice/understand this feature or does it simply mean that each one see its own version of the board? Would be interesting to find out.
board 4: sitting
They forgot to explain how to stand up… I can assure you that not all newbies get it.
Board 5: flying
It works: people are flying.
Board 6: explore
Ok, I teleport in one of this places and .. then? And why newbie 3 did not find her way out? Are these board not clear enough?
I met a group of avatar and asked some questions. Here are they.
[03:40] adalgisa Braumley: by the way, did you find this tutorial useful?
[03:40] adalgisa Braumley: did you have problems for understanding it?
[03:40] *** Droverson: kind of … its pretty cool i can fly!
[03:40] adalgisa Braumley: )
[03:40] adalgisa Braumley: ok, i tell you the truth )
[03:40] *** Droverson: have you understood everything?
[03:40] adalgisa Braumley: i’m a teacher. I’m here to see how is the new orientation island
[03:41] adalgisa Braumley: would you like to share with me your first impressions?
[03:41] *** Droverson: of course
[03:42] *** Droverson: where should i add my comments?
[03:42] adalgisa Braumley: here, in chat
[03:42] adalgisa Braumley: then i will publish them, without your name
[03:42] *** Droverson: okay!
[03:43] *** Droverson: well to be honest im procrastinating supposed to be working but its awesome. very realistic. kind of like sims!
[03:43] *** Droverson: *suposed
[03:44] adalgisa Braumley: ah, but in world there are a loot of sims that are much more beautiful that this )
[03:44] adalgisa Braumley: did you find it easy to learn to do all the things they are explaining here?
[03:44] *** Droverson: yeah pretty much
[03:44] *** Droverson: i was a bit confused at first
[03:44] *** Droverson: then i saw the arrows on the floor
[03:44] adalgisa Braumley: why?
[03:45] *** Droverson: just didn’t know where i was!
[03:45] *** Droverson: i think im guna try to go to london
[03:45] *** Droverson: anyone want to come with?
[03:45] adalgisa Braumley: well, ***, you are in orientation island, a “no place”
[03:45] *** Droverson: oh okay!
[03:46] *** Droverson: good luck with your blog
[03:46] *** Droverson: bye bye
[03:46] adalgisa Braumley: thanks!
[03:46] adalgisa Braumley: bye and have fun!
[03:47] Cellestina ***: Hi I’m just learning First steps ))
[03:47] adalgisa Braumley: and how does it feels, celestina?
[03:47] adalgisa Braumley: easy? did you have any problem, difficulties?
[03:47] Cellestina ***: I’m not skilled in games at all ))
[03:48] adalgisa Braumley: but you already learnt to wear a bag. that’s really good!
[03:48] Cellestina ***: I like it Here
[03:48] adalgisa Braumley: if you like it here you will like much better all the nice places that there are in Second Life
[03:49] adalgisa Braumley: some are awesome
So you see… I’m an old grumpy avatar