Sign-up pages and Basic mode of Viewer – working well

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)

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Twittering with Rodvik

Yesterday evening, Rodvik Linden – LL’s CEO Rod Humble – popped up on Twitter and chatted with some of us there in what was another of the warm an open conversations that have been a hallmark of his time at LL so far.

I actually came late-in-the-day to the conversation, logging-in to Twitter to catch this from Rodvik, replying to a comment on things SL:

@SecondLie I think we need to put purchasing into Basic first 🙂

Given the Basic mode of the Viewer is something that has been occupying my thoughts of late, I Tweeted in return:

@rodvik how about offering a better “step up”, help-wise from Basic to Advanced? – pointing to my recent post on the subject, and:

@rodvik If you keep adding functionality to the Basic mode, won’t you end up with…the Advanced mode?

I’ve no idea if Rodvik went and read the post in question; but it sparked something of a short discussion on the Basic mode and the Viewer in general in which he responded very positively to all making comments. In particular, he tweaked my curiosity with a reply to my suggestion that perhaps the Viewer should be made more modular:

@InaraPey Maybe yeah. Bagman keeps telling me that would be a good approach.

Bagman Linden is Jeff Petersen, the Lab’s newly-appointed VP of Engineering, and I have to admit, hearing that he’s thinking along similar lines  – and leaving my precious little ego well out of things – does raise my spirits, and it suggests that we just might be seeing a wholly new iteration of the Viewer at some point that may well achieve something Viewer 2 has so far failed to do. Going the modular route just – to me at least – seems the most common-sense approach to take; what isn’t clear is just how much effort it will take…

I also took the opportunity to both congratulate and tease Rodvik on the new Avatar sign-up pages. As reported yesterday, these are a superb step forward, but the lack of overall QA on their compatibility with all browsers really lets them down. Rodvik took the tease in good spirits:

@rodvik. The new sign-up process is very clean; hope the compatibility issues are sorted ASAP; they tend to defeat the hard work put in.

@InaraPey Thanks, yeah should be fixed quickly. Even with those the results have been amazing.

This comment is interesting, as it’s been stated that new user sign-ups are running as high as about 10K a day; although it’s hard to see this reflected in on-going concurrency, which has been dropping. I’d really like to know more as to what has been the effect of the new sign-up pages, and how badly things like new users ending up bewildered and confused by SL once they are here are affecting user retention.

Again, leaving aside any ego-boo I get from chatting with Rod Humble via Twitter, I found the time he took to address questions and suggestions as best he could to be refreshing and open. Of course, there is a temptation to bemoan the fact that while he is chatting on Twitter, the rest of LL seem to be engaged in an obstinate silence on their own Community Platform – but the fact is (and providing it goes beyond purely touchy-feely “niceness”), Twitter does offer an immediacy the CP lacks.

What would be good- and where Linden Lab are most definitely missing a trick – is in not having a Twitter feed or two on their own web pages. I really would recommend a couple of  live feeds from the likes of Rodvik and Pete “Ballyhoo” Linden direct to people’s Dashboards would prove very useful in demonstrating to users that LL are communicating.

So how about it, Rodvik, Pete?