Linden Lab have launched, somewhat unexpectedly, a new project viewer, called CHUI. While sounding like a character from Star Wars (CHU-EE, geddit? *Ahem*. Sorry), it stands for Communications Hub User Interface. The blog post states:
With so many ways for users to communicate with one another in Second Life, there are quite a few communications tools in the Viewer. To make it easier to find, learn and use these tools, today we released a project Viewer that introduces CHUI (Communications Hub User Interface). In addition to bringing most of these communications tools “under one roof,” CHUI also introduces some new and improved features.
Among the listed features are:
- The Conversation Log: providing you have enabled the option to save chat and IM logs to your computer, this allows you to open the entire history of a conversation with another user held in the past 30 days directly in your viewer, or review off-line IMs received from both friends and non-friends
- Expanded conference calls: with CHUI it is possible to add people to a conference call after it’s started, or add someone to an existing one-on-one IM session
- The ability to easily move your voice connection between open conversations including nearby chat, private IM, conference chat or group chat. Click the “add voice” button on any conversation to move your voice connection to that conversation. Click the “hang up” button and your voice connection is returned to nearby chat.
- The ability to access chat preferences in a single click from the Conversation window
- Change the volume of a single person’s voice by simply clicking on that person’s speaking icon in the Conversations window
- A multi-line chat entry box which expands as you type.
These features primarily found in two floaters: Conversations Log and a revised Conversations floater. The Conversations Log window lists all recent and past conversations, allowing them to be to scrolled through and opened for reading. As I’ve only jut started using the project viewer, I’ve actually not investigated this in-depth. Clicking on a listed conversation will open in the Conversations floater, and the Conversation Log contains two buttons for sorting the listed conversations (by name, by date, etc.), and a gear cog button for access various options – start an IM, enter a voice call, view profile, etc., for a selected conversation in the list.
For those who use TPVs with tabbed IM capabilities, the revised Conversations floater will look remarkably familiar, bringing as it does local chat and all IM conversations into a single floater panel. Any conversations in the Conversation Loge will also open here as well.
The panel includes a number of buttons. These again allow conversation to be sorted, closed individually, etc., and also include a number of additional options:
The Conversations floater can also be compacted down into one of three sizes, using the left / right double chevron arrows. These help reduce the amount of space the floater takes up on your screen when not actively in use. It can be expanded either using these buttons or using the right-pointing arrows next to the names in the conversations list.
Overall, this is a significant attempt to centralise in-world communications, and there are some nice features here, particularly in the extended Voice options.
For Linden Lab, this is very much experimental, as noted in the blog post itself, and they are asking for people’s feedback on the features:
We’ve been testing CHUI inside Linden Lab for some time, but any major redesign requires a lot of people using it to make it as smooth and useful as it can be. This is where you come in.
Please think about these questions as you use the CHUI project viewer:
- Are the new features useful?
- Do the functions you commonly use seem more streamlined, or do they require more clicks than before?
- Are all of the functions, both old and new, easy to find?
We’ll ask you to complete a survey in approximately one week to gather your thoughts on these questions.
There is a publicly accessible JIRA (https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/chuibug) available for the viewer, and if you do try it out and find a bug, LL request you report it there.
Also tucked away in the blog post is news that blocked users and objects can now be viewed from within the People floater, rather than via a separate menu option, and can also be unblocked from here via the right-click context menu.