« From SL to San Jose: Interactive Music Installation Prototyped in Second Life, Built At The Tech Museum | Main | Can Cory Ondrejka Save The Music Industry? »

Monday, June 09, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Takafumi Farina

The Orientation Island is still too quirky for new users. The default avatars are also very ugly, allowing many new users to believe that all of Second Life looks ugly.

A new Orientation Island needs to be put in place that does not require a nagging HUD.

I know the Lindens are working on the new avatars, finally! Great news.

Alicia Chenaux

Well, I have to ask this - But where are the mentors? I thought their purpose was to hang out on the Orientation Islands to assist the new residents, or am I mistaken?

Gahum Riptide

I actually looked at and followed most of the tutorials, tinkered with the appearance controls, and learned how to do the basics of moving things, content creation, etc. After learning the basics, the impetus to explore is what kept me there. It was also the fact that unlike WoW (as far as I knew), I could wander around and look at things, or do something.

Marianne McCann

I logged in, wandered about, edited my appearance, met one of the few other McCann's I've ever seen in SL, went though most of the tutorials, and promptly walked headlong into a river. Thankfully it was near the end of that first hour that a friend of mine TPed me off of orientation island and *really* got me started!

Heidi Ballinger

I was lost.. (plus I lost my clothes, and panicked) haha – didn’t knew what to do.
And I had a very deep conversation with one of the Buddha/monkey robots.. I was asking “Are you talking to me?” He never answered me back… lol

I think the fascination came after the third time I logged in. I just needed to figure this new exciting World out. I was too curious just to leave.

Rusalka Writer

There is an obvious missing step to the SL sign-up process. Something between clicking on JOIN on the website and appearing on Orientation Island. Specifically, a page named WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. SL is assuming far more knowledge going in than is the case. I'm talking simple:

1. You will be an avatar on Orientation Island.

2. Your appearance will be changeable, both on Orientation Island and in SL.

3. Orientation Island offers valuable information for new SL members.

4. Orientation Island is just one small part of SL. When you are done learning there, teleport into SL and enjoy!

Simple simple simple. I lasted in SL because I had researched SL and had a goal for my experience in-world. But I suspect that most people hear just a little about SL and sign up on a whim, with little or no prior knowledge. I think they're being spooked.


I wandered about, played with the appearance sliders a bit, got some newbie clothes, and followed the first half dozen tutorials until I got bored with it. Then I found out how to fly, and how to TP, and made my first friends. That's when I started finding the really interesting stuff.

Ann Otoole

Interested in the SL UI development process? Sign up to the list: https://lists.secondlife.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/sl-ux

Hopefully the general interest will be to help things along with new ideas and professional discussion more than just lurkers and nay sayers.

Chaddington Boomhauer

It was confusing for days. One short NCI class and things started to make sense. There should be SL Mentors or LL people at O island and watching the help islands.

Heidi Ballinger

Chaddington, I think it has changed since we created our profiles.
Today you will almost always find mentors at OI and HI.
I'm a mentor myself, and now and then I travel back to OI to help new residents, and I always see other mentors there :-)


i signed up pre-orientation island (killer!) and was plopped into the hanja welcome area where i could get to know the basic of the basic. getting to ask questions, casually, to people with a mix of experience just hanging around proved a lot more helpful to me than struggling through a course i didn't even know i HAD TO TAKE 5 minutes ago.. surrounded by a bunch of other newly born avs who also have no idea how to do what i want to do, how to get where i want to go, etc.
i don't know about everyone else, but when i first started, HUDs were so foreign. what was that thing in the corner? how do i get it off? confusion is a bad idea when you are just beginning to learn. bots might come across as confusing also (but what do i know?!)..though i don't think they'd get as frustrated with the barrage of questions as some live mentors/helpers :)

i still commend the ivory tower's step-by-step 'notecards with visuals' setup, but once again, forced upon those who aren't interested might have the same effect as the ori. island we know today.
further knowledge (albeit basic) should be an option. maybe even as simple as a 'would you like to start a beginner's course?' at login.

yeah, there really is a lot to be learned, but it shouldn't all be shoved upon you at once. open human interaction will save the population!
...maybe :)

FlipperPA Peregrine

Let's skip my first hour (the laptop I had at the time in summer 2003 wouldn't cut it), and go to the first actual hour I made it in world. It was the old Orientation Island, pretty straight forward, and I was one of 11 new accounts on the day I joined. We got plenty of hand holding and individual attention at the old Ahern welcome area. I met Jeff and Michael Linden my first time logging in - and had no idea they were employees. Fun times! I can't help but thinking of simplifying the process again might be beneficial. Trying to get off the new O.I. is a nightmare! It is a worse trap than the old telehubs with malls surrounding them.

Galena Qi

I blew through Orientation Island in about 15 minutes. Not staying never crossed my mind - I had spent hours playing with the prototype virtual world at the Tech Museum in San Jose and knew as soon as I read about SL that I wanted to explore it. That said, SL absolutely needs on-line or on-site help for new users as well as a simpler beginner interface. Let the users activate more advanced menus on request when they are ready.

Ann Otoole

Why not have training areas set up with small parcels and a movie screen for a video tutorial?

One can set up a number of such kiosks in a concentrated area. Then you need them done in all the major languages.

This can be done. And it would not cost much. And would be effective.

And anyone can do this but LL should lead the way. Especially given Torely's expertise with making tutorials.

Dusan Writer

User retention is multi-faceted, we all agree on that. And I've been trying to blow up some sacred cows, one of them being that we need an orientation island in the first place. In my opinion, avatar creation should happen OFF grid, because the main thing is you don't want to LOOK like a newb when you land. Within the creation process, tutorials. Anyways, I'm repeating myself, I cover all this at the blog: http://dusanwriter.com/?p=508

I shared a similar experience to others here. I had no idea what I was signing up for - I had been looking for Spore and somehow SL showed up in Google. I spent time when I landed tweaking my appearance, then rushed through orientation, afraid someone would spot me as green and naive and try to spam me for money or whatever - it happens in other "MMOs" I figured so why not here? I learned quickly how to fly, walk, and drive (it was the last time I drove a vehicle and still have no idea why it's included in orientation) and then FINALLY understood that search meant PLACES, and got the heck out of there.

Like many others who stay, I lucked out because I actually landed somewhere with people. Who helped. And gave advice, including the best advice which was "you need new hair" and even loaned me the 10 cents or whatever it is to buy decent hair.

Which is another sacred cow, I guess - I love the idea of mentors, but I never met one. I met residents, and most residents I know will help out a newcomer without hesitation. So my theory is, kill orientation island (or make it VERY optional), put avatar creation outside the grid, and land them where there's PEOPLE - because we're all here to help, we all want people to stay, and most of all, we all want good hair.

Dusan Writer

Oh...and you promoted me before Hamlet but please indulge my non-commercial spam? Because the client is also part of retention...you wouldn't need to take Torley tutorials in your first hour if you could figure out the interface. Thus the 800,000L I'm throwing into the pot to generate some ideas.


Ann Otoole

Starting around Wednesday new avatars will have the option of landing with a decent haircut/wig. And the other new avis are in the library. So the very first video tutorial should center on how to change avatars, clothes, skins, shapes, gender, and prim attachments. Followed by how to size prim attachments. Followed by an acronym lesson with how to create/use landmarks, teleporting, notecards, etc. And then have advanced topics on scripted items and huds.

Vidal Tripsa

It's a little tricky to remember with all that much clarity, but I did go through orientation and most of the steps Linden Lab wanted me to, up until the 'talk' island. Trying to get their chatbots to work was an exercise in extreme patience, so I moved along via the shiny sign to get off hand-holding land. Orientation island itself? I left very quickly. It was a pretty plain-looking place, nobody spoke to me, and despite talk of mentors I saw nobody who could lead me around, and doubt I would have wanted that anyway.

I finally came to be at a telehub, exploring some very basic but nonetheless impressive-at-the-time streets on foot, again not talking to anyone. Eventually I think it took a few sessions later, with me rezzing at the telehub by default and perching myself on a wall, for someone o talk to me and I got chatty with a Mr. Black Sands.

On the whole, not much of a legacy, however one thing lasted - I still have the same body I'd made in the 'appearance' castle during orientation. I wonder what that says about me, having had such an isolated first few hours.

dandellion Kimban

I went through my first hours in Second Life again... much like what most of us experienced. I guess it's personal. We all have some amount of interest and curiosity about what we just entered into. That curiosity defines the time that we have to get hooked. And we'll get hooked not because of the UI (though UI that gets in the way can reduce the available time) but because of finding what we, consciously or not, are looking for. For some, it's possibility to be creative, for some it is interaction, for some it is interesting content. But, I feel, that most of us really stays if they find friends, or better, other people with who we can share the experience. After all, if it's not for the people, we can build in blender or maya, or play some nice 3D game.

Erbo Evans

Since I already knew what Second Life was before I got in, I had some idea of what things would look like. This was a little over 2 years ago, so I landed on the "old" Orientation Island and carefully went through the tutorials (stopping at one point to reshape my appearance and outfit