Sunday, September 12, 2010

Improving the new user experience in Second Life

Much has been written, said, hashed over out and sliced and diced on how the Second Life viewer and how that contributes to the lack of retaining and attracting new residents to Second Life, I contend that has little or nothing to do with it. In fact I assert that there is a need in Second Life to come up with an innovative way to connect new residents with other residents in a meaningful way.

I am not a techie so I can only assert that this needs to occur in the registration process where not only do I pick a name, a gender, etc., I also complete profile that details my interests, connects me to a community, such as Caledon, role play interests, and perhaps even occupation interests before I even go in world.

This could be done before I even go in world. I complete my profile based upon a series of questions (all optional) such as:

1. Demographics information
2. I wish to connect with others who have an interest in:

Live music,
History by era
Role play by genre/era/history/etc
etc., etc.,
3. When I get in world options for joining groups, communities, etc., are all immediately made available to me.
4. I want to learn more about
Building in second life
Coding in Second Life
Other cultures in Second Life

Why do I think this is important? Because over the last two years seeing people come and go those who I have seen go have those who seemingly did not make connections with other in Second Life. Part of the fun of this environment is meeting with and engaging with others who you would never have had that opportunity to otherwise.

While the information on the website is fabulous and getting better would simplify things greatly if new users would (voluntarily) complete a profile that would allow them to immediately identify others, in world, who share their interests, this would help with the initial first hours in Second Life. Do this would by no means lock a new resident into a scripted Second Life for the long term, but would help them connect with others who share similar interests.

What are your thoughts..putting the choice of viewer aside how can the new user experience in Second Life be improved?