Figures collated by Tateru Nino (see below) show that the new Basic Mode of the Viewer have had a positive impact on user sign-ups, with a dramatic upward trend since its introduction at the end of March. The new sign-up pages, reported on yesterday, have had an even bigger impact, it would seem – and despite teething problems. The latter point was hinted at by Rodvik yesterday when he commented in a Tweet to myself:
Thanks, yeah should be fixed quickly. Even with those the results have been amazing.
This is a positive thing, and shouldn’t be dismissed as it demonstrates that without additional marketing and promotion, SL can generate user interest.
What remains unclear at present is how well the new Basic mode does at retaining users – and as Rodvik rightly points out, it’s going to be a few weeks before the figures on user retention become clear. Certainly, I’d still be somewhat concerned, as the “new user experience” leaves a lot to be desired, as Theia Magic and others have commented upon.
Rodvik has also indicated that the Basic Mode is to be enhanced over time; as I’ve previously mentioned, while some additional functionality would benefit the Basic mode, there is a risk that add too much, and the line between Basic and Advanced becomes so blurred as to be non-existent. Given this, I still hold to my position that it is the Viewer HELP functions that need to be overhauled, rather than simply dropping more and more into Basic (unless said “more” is modular in format and can be activated at a time of the user’s own choosing).
I’m really hoping that ears at LL are receptive to the idea of a more integrated HELP for Basic / Advanced modes; it would get a lot of people “over the wall” in terms of transitioning from one to the other a lot quicker.
Beyond this, the issue of orienting users once they are in SL does remain a problem. Some have called for a reinstatement of the mentors; others have called for a revamp of the welcome islands, etc., in line with some of the privately run welcome areas. From Theia’s reports, it would seem a degree of policing of the LL-run welcome points needs attention. It is a little ironic that the Lab is paranoid about adult language getting into the forums and the like – but anyone with Voice enabled can be immediately verbally abused on arriving in-world for the first time.
Personally, I’m confident that Rodvik is more than aware of what needs to be done – as does Bagman Linden. That the Basic mode has had such a positive impact is good news, and I cannot see anything other than it being capitalised upon in the coming weeks and months as more of the initial user experience is brought into focus and revised / improved.
(with thanks to Tateru Nino by way of Rodvik Linden)