Second Life: Designing for Newbies and Oldies

Second Life has its challenges for new players/users. Massively Overpowered started a conversation with the question: How Can MMO’s Design For Both Vets And Newbies? There are quite a few comments being added. It got me thinking about our challenges for new users in Second Life™.

Cassie and Ciara

Cassie and Ciara by Caitlin ‘Caity’ Tobias, on Flickr

Many of the comments on Massively suggest removing leveling. Fortunately we don’t have leveling as a basic part of SL.

In 19 screens of comments no one mentioned user interface and only a couple of times mentioned learning how to play. In SL I think learning is a significant obstacle for new users. With 3,000+ viewer controls SL is on a level similar to Photoshop or AutoCAD.

Considering new users in SL, I think the design challenge is making it usable and reducing the learning curve. For the experienced users the Lab needs to keep as many creative options as possible, which adds complication. These seem to be opposing goals. I am curious to see how the Lab handles these challenges in SANSAR aka SL 2.0.

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