why viewer 2.0 is not so easy for newbies (in my opinion)

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.



Filed under Second Life, viewer 2.0

13 responses to “why viewer 2.0 is not so easy for newbies (in my opinion)

  1. Some valid criticisms – with which I agree on the whole. I particularly hate the way music plays automatically as the default setting. On the whole, however, I like Viewer 2. The shared media on a prim feature is great, and I like the ease with which it is possible to track back through the places you have just visited – plus the history going back several days. I also like the easy way in which you can view yourself from the front to see how your new clothes look. My wife (a fashion addict) loves this feature and the way in which V2 handles outfits (she has 100s of outfits).

    I am running a face-to-face workshop on Viewer 2 at EUROCALL 2010. My tutorial materials have already been written and can be downloaded from Section 14.2.1 of Module 1.5 at the ICT4LT site: http://www.ict4lt.org

    I’m just hoping that the Linden Lab techies don’t introduce too many changes before my workshop. They have promised to revise V2 in response to users’ feedback.


  2. Just checked a couple of things:

    You wrote:
    “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!!!”

    It doesn’t happen to me when I use text chat. I just see myself typing as in V1.

    You wrote:
    “As well, for some mysterious reasons, the voice button tend to activate itself when you write in chat.”

    This doesn’t happen to me either. I have to press Speak in order to activate voice chat.

    BTW, I am using a PC.

    Have you seen my videos?



  3. antonella

    Hi Graham,
    I’m using a pc. And I know that if you modify your setting you can avoid many problems (like the voice chat starting every time you type a P in chat), but I deleted my version, dowloaded it new and pretend to be newbie: ie, do not know how to go to preferencies and make all the necessary changes.
    I don’t think it happens only to me, because in all the meeting I’ve been lately I’ve seen an increasing number of “out of control micros” :o)

    I guess that my “flying around” instead of chatting depends on the fact that you can move as well with the keyboard (never remeber wich keys: w s and something). To avoid it you can: look in preferences to fix it, or press enter before writing in chat (that does not come natural to me 😦 and

    Your videos are great and really necessary. I think I will have to do some in Spanish. There are some good video tutorial in Italian but by now I’v not found any in Spanish for viewer 2.0.

    I hope that this the new version there will not be big changes but a lot of improvements :o)

    • I have never had the problem with voice chat starting up when I type. I have installed SL on two other computers in my house and the problem does not show up on them either. My wife has never changed the default settings on her computer and it’s OK. Even in Viewer 1 we had lots of out of control mics during meetings – people just click on buttons by accident and often forget to switch off their mics. I had one mouse (now thrown in the bin) that switched voice chat on all the time. I never found out why.

      Three more points:

      You know this anyway: Regarding IMs, you can set SL up so that all your conversations are gathered into one tabbed window, similar to that in earlier SL viewers. Open Me > Preferences, select Chat and then check the Tabs radio button under Show IMs in.

      I always see a notification when friends log in or log out. It’s easy to change under Me> Preferences >Notifications. I cannot remember what the default setting is.

      Re landmark offers, I always advise newbies to open their inventory and click on the RECENT tab if someone sends them a landmark, an object or a notecard.

      In the end it’s a question of the devil you know. I found it difficult to change over to Viewer 2 to begin with – and there are some features that I don’t like very much – but newbies whom I have taught don’t know anything different and don’t seem to mind. But that automatic music is VERY annoying!


      • antonella

        Hi Graham!
        I’m happy to know that my “newbies” problems with SL are not shared with the majority of residents.
        In July I will have to handle a good number of newbies and I was rather scared by it!

        I’m oldie, and I know how to tinker the viewer to make it easier for me, but you cannot expect newbies to go straight to “me” and “preferences” 🙂

        I’m sure you already know it, but I let here some nice tutorials for those who are interested in knowing more about viewer 2.o. They helped me a lot!

  4. Helen Myers

    I agree with Antonella regarding the Newbie experience and it is really helpful to identify those 4 key areas. I’m so keen to introduce people to SL.. it’s hard enough to dispel the fear of a virtual world … but then you are thwarted further by the features which hinder intial communication: music drowning out chat, confusion over using voice, IMs separate from chat and TPs somewhat ‘hidden’. Do you think there would be any disadvantages to these suggestions Graham? I am now considering how to overcome the music problem on our land.. I’m torn between wanting to help newbies and enjoying hearing Italian music whenever I land in SL …!!! Aiutate!

    • antonella

      Hi Helen!

      Well, there is a way to disable it in preferences. I think that the best solution would be to:
      a) at the very beginning, just tell them how to stop the music (upper right corner)
      b) create a board explaining how to disactivate the damm thing.

  5. If you look at my tutorial materials in Section 14.2.1 of Module 1.5 at the ICT4LT site you will see that I try to keep a balance between getting newbies started and also explaining to them how to tinker with the preferences. I took this approach to Viewer 1 as well, as it worked well in all the V1 workshops that I led. I always include a brief tour of the most important menus in my workshops, focusing on moving around and chatting initially. Just download the materials and read them at your leisure. You can use them with your trainees if you like.

    Then I get people to do things in the EUROCALL Building (Section 16 of my tutorial materials): moving around, clicking on things, picking up and putting on a teeshirt, reading and saving a notecard, sitting down and standing up, using the viewing screens, using the internal teleport system, picking up a set of landmarks. I designed the EUROCALL Building specifically for this purpose. And then it’s possible to go further in the EUROCALL/CALICO area – using the holodecks, picking up items from the resources centre, and viewing Web pages on the shared media screen. You are welcome to use the facilities there – that’s what they are for, but avoid 8 and 9 June as two CALICO workshops are taking place there: for newbies on 8 June and on holodecks on 9 June. I shall be teaching online in collaboration with Randall Sadler and Shawn Fitzpatrick, who are leading the f2f workshops at the CALICO conference in the USA. We’ve done this kind of thing a couple of times before, and it works well.

    My wife Sally often helps me out if newbies ask about changing their appearance and acquiring new clothes. Sally is an expert in SL fashion. She knows all the best places for picking up clothes free or at a very low cost, e.g. L$1! She has won 1000s of Linden Dollars in prizes in competitions. This picture of her shows her in a nice outfit:


    I link to the YouTube Linden Lab tutorials frequently in my tutorial materials, as it’s often better to see things demonstrated.

    I don’t think people are necessarily put off by having to change preferences. They should be used to this idea. You have to change preferences in a browser, in Word, in Facebook, in Blogger, in Twitter. I note that Facebook has now simplified its horrendous privacy settings.

    I have indicated in my tutorial materials that I don’t like the media controls – they confuse newbies (and me, to begin with). I hope Linden Lab sorts this out. In the meantime I have opted not to play media automatically in my viewer – and I advise newbies to do the same. Muting media applies right across SL, regardless of which sim you visit.

    • antonella

      Thanks for all the useful advices, Graham. For what I see from the section 14.2.1 you mentioned above, there is a huge ammount of information.
      And yes, I too changed all my preferences when I started to use viewer 2.0. But then reintalled it anew to analise what, in my opinion, could be the difficulties for newbies.
      I’m starting as well (slowly and with time) to do some viewer 2.0 tutorials in Spanish, since I’ve not find any by now.
      I’m sure that your material will help me for this as well.
      🙂 thanks.

  6. Alpha Lorgsval


    I recognized in your description several annoyances I’ve suffered using the viewer 2.0, but I don’t share your fears.

    Since I first used viewer 2.0 beta, I’ve never entered again in world using the oldies, except in couple of times for comparison reasons.

    I have the impression that the Lindens don’t want to restrict the possibilities that Internet allows and the Shared Media solution shows a way for improvement without putting a load on the performance of SL. This improvement alone is worthwhile to accept the new viewer.

    About some of your troubles:
    ·If you control region media, just stop it (it’s my suggestion). If not, go to a silent place to receive your newbies. Then explain the basics for communication including how to customize the SL settings. But remember that explaining how to solve many problems before they are really problems for them it will be useless. Also remember you may not be everywhere to save your newbies from SL dangers and awful situations, and those are part of the adrenaline rush involved.
    ·The second about the voice button, may be that it is activated when you (inadvertently) click the mouse wheel, and it’s irrespective of where is the mouse pointing to. It happened to me when I was very busy clicking here and there. I don’t know if it affects to people without a mouse wheel through a different key combination.
    · IM and Local Chats were often misused writing to the wrong window and sending out of place or inappropriate messages. Now I click on the guided window showing the grayed text “Click here to IM to Anna Begonia” not to send the message to any body else.

    My concern:
    I dislike those so blacky parts in notes, menus and panels where I don’t distinguish the scrolling bar, the moving upper bar, the expanding window corner and if a text is or not a button.

    Globally I see that:
    · Being born in world is very complex by itself and it is so, both, using either the new or the old viewers. Newbies will find everything new, exciting and at the very first moment, they will wonder even how to walk or look sideways.
    · I feel Lindens want the viewer to become easier to use so every user comes back and may keep the SL business running· Most of the changes go in this direction.
    · The Lindens have started solving the big problem educators had to bring information in world such as multimedia. They will have to go on still to cover other needs.

    · I hope the Lindens will mend the many bugs still present in the 2.0.1 beta version (duplicity of formats for profile pictures 4:3 and 1:1, clothing+ fitwear + …) and
    · I acknowledge your effort to play the role of newbies and make their instruction to SL as fast, clear and effective as possible.

    • antonella

      Hi Alpha,
      first of all thanks for helping me and discovering for me the reason of my strange open chat behaviour (seems that the two viewers are connected. Therefore if you had changed the preferences in the old viewer… they remain so as well in the new – even when you never changed them there. To solve the problem, go back to the old viewer, change preferences there… and cross finghers).

      Me too “I dislike those so blacky parts in notes, menus and panels where I don’t distinguish the scrolling bar, the moving upper bar, the expanding window corner and if a text is or not a button”, and thinkig that the average age in SL is not 20, and there are many oldies that are oldies in RL too (like me), I wonder why they decided this outlay.
      As well I hate the fact that in the meny main folders do not have icons anymore: that forces you to read what’s there (landkarks, notecards). Icons are quicker and easier to spot.

      about: “I feel Lindens want the viewer to become easier to use so every user comes back and may keep the SL business running· Most of the changes go in this direction”

      I do not see many problems for newbies that are attending a workshop, a class or that have someone welcoming them and helping them out in SL. (but for them, also the old viewer was ok)
      And I do not think Lindens were thinking about them when designing viewer 2.0
      People in a workshop, a course etc, have already more chance to stay or come back. If they don’t, it’s because they don’t “get SL”, or have other priorities in their lives.
      But I think they represent only a tiny little percentage of all the potential users of SL.

      In my post I was thinking of those, who like me in 2006, come into SL on their own, by chance, couriosity or whatever. And I wonder if retention rate is really improving. But I think we will have to wait for next year statistics.

      About shared media… you know I’m among those who are only moderately trilled by it. But it depends on my teaching style in SL and probably as well on my subjects

  7. I had the same problem as Alpha, with my mouse wheel activating voice chat – in Viewer 1, not in Viewer 2. I discovered that it was due to an accumulation of dust round the wheel, which caused it to move each time that I left-clicked and to activate voice chat. I solved the problem by giving my mouse a thorough cleaning.

    The positive side to Viewer 2 is that it now operates more like a Web browser, e.g. you can go forwards and backwards to locations in the same way as you can go forwards and backwards to Web pages, and you have a history of recent visits. This, combined with shared media on a prim, is probably the most exciting development for educators.

    I have stopped using Viewer 1 now, as it seems to confuse my cache if I keep switching from one viewer to the other. The solution is to clear the cache each time you switch – and to do this is other problems arise too. There have, of course, been many teething troubles with Viewer 2, but they will be resolved in the end, I am sure.

    • antonella

      Yes, from the first release it has improved a lot.
      I saw that now search works a bit better.
      Let’s see how viewer 2.1 will be

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