Vectorform to redesign Second Life
"First Hour Experience: Shortly after I started, we kicked off a project to reinvent what we call the “first hour experience” (our web experience, the viewer, and the way we acclimate and acculturate users inworld) for new users. We’ve made great progress and will be working with an award-winning interactive design firm to help us complete the reinvention and bring it to life. Yes, we are creating a viewer that is new user friendly! Stay tuned for updates."
To most Second Life newbies and critics the userinterfacing and crude navigation has always been high on the list of Second Life mishaps. So this redesign should be very much welcomed.
On the forums or other official newswire there is no additional information to who this 'award winning design firm' is, but popular pick is it will be a prolonged teaming with Vectorform with whom Linden Lab partnered up back in April to redesign Landmarks and Navigation.
Especially if one looks at the jobvacancies at the Vectorform website, you'll see they're looking for much more experience than is needed to redo Landmarks and Navigation , besides that beta project is pretty much finished. Dusan Writer says:
"Now, that doesn’t sound to me like the kind of list that you’d need for their work on revamping the landmarks part of the viewer, about which Prokofy has comments and which will be included in a new release candidate that’s expected soon, according to Benjamin Linden.
What IS encouraging about the job posting is that it sounds like Vectorform takes usability analysis seriously - and have some serious process and innovation to back them up."
(Read full article)
Over at Massively Tateru Nino reported that Vectorform submitted the beta version for revamping Landmarks and Navigation.
"The project adds a new user-interface element to the screen that applies Web-style browsing semantics (forward/back/location) to virtual environment positions. Vectorform say that they recently submitted a beta of the modification to Linden Lab and are awaiting QA (Quality Assurance) feedback."
What I read here is dat Vectorform just submitted their ideas for QA review. Massively shows an image of the new design which comes from a powerpoint presentation which actually dates back to July and can be found at Second Life's Jira. What I think, in combination with Mark Kingdon's remarks is that the QA review has been completed, Linden Lab is satisfied and have decided to continue their partnership with Vectorform in order to revamp the entire interface.
I can't say with certainty the QA review has been completed, at least one is: Prokofy Neva has reviewed the new Landmark and Navigation extensively in her blogpost Destroying User Content to Make SL "Like the Web"
"Jacek is just splitting hairs, and it's not interesting to debate. But what he does say in refuting M Linden is that the Lindens' "Landmarks & Navigation" project may be what they *do* insert into the viewer. Alarm bells went off for me, because I remember seeing something about this on the God-awful wiki some time ago, and thinking "I better to something about this" but it was one of many things. I remember seeing that a group of graduate students were being hired by SL to work on tagging and such; but this seems to be an actual firm now hired by LL as an outsourced viewer-fixer."
It actually is fun to read the full extend of Proky's ranting. As Second Life's resident full-time critic she does have a point at a few issues. It may well be worth to read these remarks from a user point of view, and not only look at things from a design or technical point of view. That should be the core of interaction design. I know we IT guys screw up often enough in that area, creating marvellous things that work, but can't be handled.
Tag 'em & Bag 'em I'd say.