Viewer 2.0 was born, for what I’ve understood, above all to improve newbies experience and to improve the retention rates.
Let’s analyse it then from this point of view.
The first thing that happens when we land somewhere is that… we are forced to listen to music. May be Linden Lab thinks that we will go straight to a disco… bah. What I know is that I got startled the first time it happened to me and needed help to find out how to shut up that thing. And I’m not the only one: since then I’ve helped many newbies and oldies to find out how to deactivate the music (otherwise no communication would have been possible). Now I wonder: why didn’t Linden didn’t do the other way round (as it was before)? What makes you stay in SL? Listening to loud music when you do not want to (may be in the middle of the night?) or being unable to listen to music in a party and having to ask for help to someone nearby?
Let’s suppose (just suppose, eh?) that a newbie arrives in world, meet someone and wants to ask some questions (typical newbies question: can you explain me how this game works? Answer: what do you want to know? Newbie: everything. Odlie thought: Oh dear!!). Well, usually we all tend to use chat, and only later on voice. I click with the mouse on the chat field, write my question in world and then press enter. When I want to write another sentence… I start moving around!!! How embarrassing! What’s happening? Ah, you forgot to click again on the chat field (or to push enter again before starting to write.. yeah, how logic!).
This was not happening with the old viewer… is it an improvement? Doest it make communication easier and more intuitive? No!!!!
As well, for some mysterious reasons, the voice button tend to activate itself when you write in chat. That’s very useful, above all when there are many people around. Everybody can hear the music you are listening, your conversation at home, coughing, eating (yes, we sometimes eat in front of the pc) etc. Of course you are not aware of it most of the time, and of course this makes communication easier 😀 and makes newbies feel at ease, above all when they attend to some event and people are continuously asking them to close they micro.
IM are now separate from chat. Now, when your eyes are focused on your chat, you cannot see anymore if someone is sending you an IM. This new feature is very good! Newbies now do not answer anymore your IM writing in open chat: they simply do not see your IM most of the time and… do not answer them. Ok, it’s true that there is a “ding ding” sound when you send the first IM, but either they spot your message immediately (on the opposite corner of the screen: you know, chat and IM are sooo different in concept that you cannot put them one beside the other) or…better for you to use telepathy to communicate with them.
(by the way, now with the default setting you are not aware anymore when your friends log in. Ok, it was annoying for us oldies, but I think it can be very helpful for newbies)
With teleport offers or friend invites, is much better! You don’t even get the “ding ding” sound. A little black windows appears on the bottom right of your screen and disappear quite immediately. Why? Was it un-aesthetical to have it somewhere? Is Linden testing us to see if we pay attention? Aha, you did not click quick enough on it: now you will have to look trough the different IM icons you have (all looking the same, since not everybody puts a nice photo in it… and even so, I do not remember the “nice face” of all my contacts in SL) to find it.
Now… imagine to have a group of newbies in SL, and to send them a tp…. Got the picture?
In case someone send me a landmark, I will have to click first in “show” (why “show”? bah), then the sidebar will open, and I will have to locate the new landmark (ok, it’s the first one on top, but when the sidebar opens I see aaalll my landmarks). Will a newbie locate quickly the new landmark?
Of course the new viewer has many nice new features, (all educators are trilled with the html on a prim… ) and many other that could be (or were in the old viewer) much better ( I’m thinking of camera controls and search, just to quote two) but those I described above are not understandable if the main point was to improve the first hour experience and increase retention rate.
Newcomers need to be able to move around and to communicate easily with people, to make new friends and to keep in touch with them easily. All the other, the will learn with time.