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Wed Apr 28 21:25:55 PDT 2010

is going to bring only tiny cosmetic changes without addressing the
real problems of the UI's usability.

SL is a 3d virtual world. 2.0 UI with it's non transparent floaters,
inability to dock local chat history with other ongoing conversations,
obscures much of the world, making it into a facebook page with a
glimpse of something 3d behind it.

Local chat changes from 1.x to 2.x also show this facebook fixation of
2.0 design, moved from functional, usable display to something
resembling facebook or twitter updates. Try an experiment for
yourself, go to a busy club with a lot of chat in 1.x and 2.0 and see
the difference. If you get a couple of IM conversation goings + busy
local chat, there is hardly any world left to see.

Local chat input field is too small even for facebook or twitter style
updates. 2.1 makes this even worse by trying to jam more buttons on
the same line, so you get chat input, buttons, IM conversation items
and notification counts all on one line. Chat is a clear loser there,
but guess what, a lot of people come to SL to socialize and talk to
each other, so de-emphasizing chat like that isn't going to improve
the user experience. At the same time, we have this huge and mostly
empty address bar, so the message seem to be, let's make it look like
a web browser and heck with usability.

Also. the changes of focus handling for local chat between the the two
versions show that the designers of 2.0 have never actually used SL
for socializing, otherwise they would notice that people start jumping
around and doing other weird things because they thought input focus
was on the chat line.

Inability to open more than one user profile, or to look at a user and
group profile at the same time is also very limiting, and makes some
common tasks much more difficult. Just compare the list of user groups
and the task of opening them and discovering what they're about
between the two versions. This is how people discover things about
Second Life, open people's profiles, look at their groups, their
picks, and go visit those locations. The modal nature of 2.0 interface
makes this painful.->

Compare how to do common things, "how do i upload picture of my cat"
and share it with friends. In 1.0, it's file -> upload -> image. In
2.0 you have to figure out how to open inventory and that there is a
menu in there that allows you to upload. Current trunk makes this even
worse, you need to know that you have to click on a suitcase icon
first, then click on "+" icon on the bottom which opens a menu two
levels inside of which you find the upload. Just about as obscure and
as non-discoverable as you can get,

For a very good review of 2.0 UI I would recommend reading

In summary, getting experienced SL users (and most devs are) to invest
their effort in 2.0 will take more radical improvements to the UI
usability. Perhaps forward porting of the 1.x interface elements
(chat, profiles, group profiles, etc) is the way to go. I'm hoping
that your efforts on making LL more responsive and inclusive about
community contributions will help reignite the interest of OS devs for
the project.


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