This is the ninth article in a series (3 Pages). In this one I touch on ACCESS. The ideas I gleaned from Ebbe Altberg’s, Linden Lab CEO, speech at VWBRE 2015 that touched on aspects of the coming Next Generation Platform (NGP) and what history I know of Second Life.
I started this series with these articles:
- Second Life: Educational Community Update 2015 March
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update 2015 – Coming Features
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-II 2015 – Platforms
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-III 2015 – Content Creation
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-IV 2015 – Internal Tools
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-V 2015 – User Types
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-VI 2015 – Content Changes
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-VII 2015 – Scripting
Access for the Challenged
There different types of access in virtual worlds. One aspect of access is providing a user interface for those with various handicaps and disabilities. This becomes a broader and more interesting consideration when we factor in VR. At some level we will all be keyboard and mouse handicapped when using VR headsets. This may explain why Ebbe seems to see VR and PC’s as distinct platforms.
Because of the keyboard-mouse issues with VR Headsets, a question was asked will NGP have voice commands, voice to text, and text to voice?
Ebbe says support for the blind is not currently on their list of immediate goals. I don’t take that as Ebbe moving away from support of that select demographic. But, he has to set priorities and get the basics working first.
Also, the text-based viewers that we have now are all third-party viewers. His thinking seems to be that third parties will be adding those features to NGP. So, those developers may be happy the Lab is not stepping on their business. Users… I never know what they are going to think. But, I do see adding vision impaired support as down the road and that has to be disappointing to some.
That thinking of third party developers handling the disabilities features suggests that at some point in a reasonable time we will have plug-ins or open source viewer code to work with. OR at least an explanation of the NGP server side API’s, so third parties can connect in some way.
The voice to text and text to voice is anticipated by Ebbe to be an easy add-on. So Ebbe thinks they might even use a third-party source to provide that, somewhat like they do for voice chat now. Or a third-party might add it on. Whatever, it seems to thought of as off the shelf technology.
(Notice the following pages)