On Wednesday June 4th, Linden Lab launched a re-vamp of the secondlife.com home page.
Gone is the old single image home page – which was perhaps already staid the day it was launched – and in comes a much bolder 3-part design with not only a fresh look, but a very welcome addition.
Obviously, to see the new page, you’ll have to log-out of your web Dashboard if you have been using it.
At the top is the expected splash-style image, with the familiar Join Now button replaced by a Play for Free button. This section of the page retains the login and local language options towards to top right corner, together with the Twitter and Facebook links, and a link to the Second Life You Tube channel.
Scroll down from this and you get the What’s New section, which currently has – wait for it – a picture of the Oculus Rift headset-to-be (i.e. the image of how the production version should look, once it arrives), and a shot of the new starter avatars.
A Learn More button under the Oculus image opens the blog post on the Oculus Rift project viewer announcement, while a Join Now button under the avatars takes you to the sign-up page.
Beneath this is a section which may surprise some, but which forms – from my perspective at least – the very welcome addition.
Entitled Global Community, it presents The Drax Files: World Makers, with a special trailer Drax has put together for the new-look home page, allowing newcomers to grasp more of what SL is about. In addition, a Watch More button will take them to the You Tube channel for the series, which lists all episodes made to date.
The presence of the series here indicates another change as well: Linden Lab are now officially sponsoring The Drax Files: World Makers, allowing it to continue on a monthly basis well into the future. With the deal comes the promise that the Lab will not attempt to exercise any editorial or other influence over how the series is produced, or the stories it tells, nor will it impact any other projects Draxtor undertakes in relation to Second Life.
Below the Global Community section is the familiar corporate links bar.
The new design is crisp and clean, and the addition of The Drax Files: World Makers is an excellent move. Not only does this series truly capture the breadth and depth of Second Life in a way which perhaps hadn’t been seen prior to it, the trailer is fast and hits a good number of strong beats of what Second Life is and about, and the people who use it.
It will be interesting to see how the What’s New section is updated and the frequency with which it is updated. The danger with anything that’s labelled “What’s New” is that if it isn’t seen to be changing frequently, it can be mistakenly taken to mean that whatever it represents isn’t changing and is staid.
Whether this update is indicative of further changes to come with their web properties, remains to be seen. When I contacted the Lab to ask this very question, immediately after the new home page appeared, I was only given a tantalising “For now, this refresh is just of the SL.com homepage…” So we’ll have to wait and see if anything more does pop-up at some point down the road.
Overall, and from a first looks perspective, a most welcome move on the part of Linden Lab – and full kudos to them on striking the deal with The Drax Files: World Makers.