Content Creation Improvement Week 33

The Content Creation Improvement User Group (CCIUG) has been discussing redesign of the Build Panel. Geenz Spad has been bugging me to get people interested in redesign of the panel. I’ve been like, “OMG! This is boring…” Now with the announcement of a materials system project, I understand his motivation. See: Second Life Materials System Announced.

Idea for New Build Panel – Enlarge

To implement the materials system will require design changes to the Build Panel. Whether anyone likes the idea or not the panel is going to change. So, you can either participate in the design process or not. HOWEVER… for all the clueless people that can’t handle change or cope with frustration and fill the forums with rants without participating in the process, remember. We will be pointing to this point in the design process to mock you. :p

Two Build Panels

Some think the Build Panel is already too complex for new people. They are thinking that perhaps splitting the panel into basic and advanced panels would be a wise move.

Consider. For moving furniture and adjusting prim attachments a simplified panel might be a good thing. That would be all new players would need. The Basic Panel could change into or perhaps link to an advanced builder’s panel, which would have all the tools.

There is consideration of whether the Basic and Advanced panels should be two panels that work together on the screen. This would save duplication of Basic controls in the Advanced panel.

Bottom Menu Tools

I suppose those could be buttons you could move around. Imagine having a move button. Click it and select an item and the move arrows appear on the object. It would make it easier for new users to move furniture and stuff.

There could be buttons for scaling and rotation too.

Not much more is really needed.

More Tabs

Some think a new tab would be all that is needed. The new materials setting could be put in a new tab. Little if anything else needs to change.

Move to a Sidebar

Some would like to see the build panel move into a sidebar. Remember the sidebar? I suppose something like that. Others think placing it in a side bar would be a horrid solution.

I don’t know which is best or better. I do know that I have to keep moving the Build Panel around the screen when I am building. It manages to keep getting in the way. I think it has to do with how the Alt-Left-Click-Hold camera control takes the clicked point to the center of the screen. A sidebar might solve that problem for me… or it might just eat up screen space.

Could the sidebar be dockable? I suppose so. That might be more popular with everyone. In my mind the question is: what to do with the docked buttons we have now?

What Goes Where?

As one starts to consider a redesign of the Build Panel one has to think of what controls need to be in the Basic Panel and which only in the Advanced panel.

What about textures? I think that is an advanced building skill. Think about each step one has to take to change texture.

Each item in the panel has to be considered and the controls divided up into basic and advanced. What would you put where?

Some think the dividing line should be based on whether the person is a ‘user’ or a ‘builder’. I’m not sure there is a clear dividing line there. Or that it is a good consideration. What about the problem of teaching people how to build? Now they see lots of controls to experiment with and may learn more just from being curious. Of course some may see the panel and feel overwhelmed. Speculation won’t provide a good answer to these questions. One needs actual user metrics. I don’t know if we’ll get that from the Lab.


I’m just touching on a few of the points that came up in week 33’s meeting. If this interests you, get to the meeting on Tuesday at 3 PM SLT/PT in Hippotroplis.

11 thoughts on “Content Creation Improvement Week 33

  1. Nope. You’re going at it completely wrong and I hate to be harsh, but you will not succeed if you continue down that path. In fact, you sound exactly like some meetings I’ve been in at Linden, and you know how beloved their UI designs are among the populace. You’re jumping to redesign and not considering WHAT tasks people need to do.

    Right now focus on tasks:
    Put a piece of furniture in the world where they want it.
    Edit an existing object in the world
    Edit an existing object on an avatar
    Build a prim-based object (way to vague, but it’s a start)

    Ignore what exists and just come up with a flow which works. Once you’ve gotten a prioritized list of the functionality needed to accomplish the task, group things and you’ll start to find where stuff should go.

    • I understand the Lab has a UI Team/group/experts/something that works on these things.

      I am still thinking UI design by committee is going to be a problem. A committee could come up with the tasks list and work flow patterns. Beyond that I think UI design should be by benevolent dictator if it is too have any chance of succeeding.

      I like Nirans works. If more people were experimenting with UI design we might find what works.

      • Totally agree with you! You go girl!
        Work flow patterns and tasks are probably what Linden is least qualified to do. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, they make the applications, they don’t, for the most part, use them like residents do. It’s the nature of a tool builder vs. a tool user.

        • I know the feeling, it was the same way I was giggling at the idea of snarky residents doing any sort of useful design, but I got over it and hope lives anew.

          If Nal can actually herd the good ones into doing it correctly and not trying to glue a bunch of otherwise unconnected ‘good’ ideas together, you have a chance of success.

  2. Would the gradient feature come with the introduction of materials or is that a completely new step beyond a panel redesign?

    Are there any preferences concerning the size of the texture and colour preview boxes? Except that they aren’t boxes in the example pic. Assuming that a good deal of textures, perhaps the majority, have a square resolution (512×512, 256×256, 128×128 and so on), they would look distorted in the preview.

    A fixed sidebar position could get horribly in the way, depending on the building project. Dockable sounds like a better plan… drag and drop it to a bar that isn’t used at at. Optionally, if it’s possible, allow single elements of the build menu to be dragged onto the docking bars, as shortcuts to your favourite functions, expanding the Bottom Menu Tools idea.

    Rotating objects via keyboard shortcuts, as seen in “The Sims”, would be nice. Press, for example, the “,” key and the selected object rotates clockwise in 5° steps or something similar.

    Firestorm’s copy&paste buttons for positions, rotations and size should be a must-have feature to import.

    And overall… I always thought the difference of a basic and an advanced build menu was found in simply hiding the finetune options with show more/show less.

  3. I am in the wrong time zone for that meeting.

    If that’s the only way of taking part in this, and you want to point and laugh at my lack of contribution, my response with be vulgar and obscene. and the FCC will go crazy.

  4. I would like it very much if the build panel (all the panels really) could be brought outside the main window. Think Maya or Photoshop. I think it would help with the build panel always being in the way without resorting to a side panel.

  5. If the build floater is significantly changed in the LL viewer, who is going to update the Ivory Tower of Primatives? That is still the best self guided tool for learning basic building.
    The fact is the Ivory Tower is past due for an update as we speak.

  6. I love the idea of a dockable build tool. If one could
    1. menu select the Build tool at a choice of basic buttons or floater level
    2. open the floating build tool in its “less info” mode,
    3. then click to switch to advanced mode (we already sort of have this) then
    4. click again for the advanced dockable build tool (just as we now select [world, local, reference]
    5. now i want a key set like Ctrl ALT b that pops me to the most advanced mode

    Remember that the build tool is just a built in hud or plugin to the viewer and no matter what base level tool the Lindens provide the TPVs will be working like mad to prove themselves by customizing the tool.
    Honestly rthere are times i want a viewer that is slimmed down for
    1. socializing (no viewer baggage or extras, low lag, NO chat lag, focus on animations and invneotry clothing and party apparatus)
    2. a dj’s viewer or performers viewer
    3. a builders viewer
    but gosh, we have that sort of, and if the functions get separated, pretty soon the build box design committee has designs on the memory space the dj viewer design committee has its stream stuck in, and the inventory hunt-acquisitions crowd wants all the place for a huge closet.
    Maybe we should just campaign for a working door on a materials handling closet with a conveyor belt that really moves fast. You will be able to tell who was in the beta conveyor belt trial by their missing avvie thumbs.

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