July 2021 SL Web User Group summary: mobile and new user experience

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021.

These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar. A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found at the end of this article, and the following is a summary of key topics / discussions.

Web Properties Updates

  • Operating system updates are still on-going; the tools work has been continued through the last month as a well.
  • The Land Store has had some cosmetic updates.
  • World API and Map:
    • There has been some work on the World API to make it faster.
    • Searching for an empty string on the Map should no longer generate an error message.
  • New user sign-up: two small improvements:
    • E-mails are now validated when entered during the sign-up process.
    • The viewer download link no longer opens a separate tab to display the download button – on sign-up the browser is now directed to the download page / button.
  • Marketplace improvements:
    • Work has started on updating to the new Second Life blue logo.
    • Test deliveries have been fixed so they no longer generate an error message.
    • There have been updates to search / keywords to better match the maturity of words against the maturity rating on the item. This was largely due to some creators were adding punctuation marks into their adult item descriptions in an attempt to get around the maturity rating and have the item show up in results where the user has otherwise restricted what they want to see to General / Moderate.
  • Premium downgrading:
    • Until now, if a Premium user decided to downgrade their account from Premium to Basic and then changed their mind, they would have to contact support to cancel the downgrade.
    • It is now possible to cancel a downgrade request directly from the website without any need for Support intervention.

New User Experience

See also: Poking at the new Welcome Islands.

  • The new Welcome Islands that form a part of the new user experience are now undergoing A/B testing alongside the existing Learning / Social Islands and monitored against Firestorm’s Community Gateway for the next month or so.
  • These islands are used in conjunction with the Guidebook that is now part of the official viewer (and starting to be included in TPVs).
  • There is a “Welcome Back Island” that is physically identical to the Welcome Islands, but which is open to general visits for those who are curious.
  • During the A/B Testing, the Lab will be particularly looking at the numbers of retained users who come through the various points of entry (Welcome Island, the Learning / Social Islands / Firestorm Gateway) and how each performs.
  • If the Welcome Islands / Guidebook prove to be successful, then the Guidebook will likely undergo language localisation to make it more useful. In the meantime, and during testing, there could be smaller changes to both the Guidebook and the Welcome Islands (e.g. the station for new avatars may undergo further updates and offer a “newer” selection of avatars).
  • Both the Welcome Island regions and the Guidebook have been developed as modular units, allowing both to be revised / updated.

Mobile Update

  • The iOS version has now been accepted by Apple.
  • HOWEVER, it is not currently publicly available through the Apple Store, as the Lab is working on the first set of updates, which they want to incorporate before the app is made generally available.
  • At the moment, the iOS version is in testing with some 40 or so users.
  • The Android version remains somewhat behind the iOS version and won’t be appearing in the short-term.
  • As has been repeatedly indicated, the client will initially be a communications companion and will not include any 3D world rendering – this is on the roadmap (assuming the interest / use of the mobile app warrants the additional development work), but is “way down the line.”
  • Those using the app will be logged-into dedicated “SL Mobile” regions for the purposes of communication. Obviously, if the app reaches the point where it is rendering the world, this will all change. However, until then:
    • These regions will not be accessible to anyone not using the SL Mobile client.
    • Those using the App will not have a physical presence within the regions.
    • It will not be possible to engage in local chat within the regions – although obviously, IMs will be possible, and the ability to use Group chat will be added.
  • Again, the initial purpose of the App is not to offer a fully-function alternative to the viewer for people on mobile devices; rather, it is intended to provide a means by which people can stay in contact with those they already know / need to contact (via search) when they are unable to make use of the viewer. Although again, functionality will be added as time goes by to move it beyond this initial use-case.

In Brief

  • Marketplace Requests:
    • Bulk image uploads for listings: this has been requested numerous times, and a feature request Jira has been asked for, so it can be logged.
    • Store block list (feature request BUG-230941): the ability for users to compile a list of MP stores where (for whatever reason) they do not wish to shop, and have them excluded from Search results. This is actually something the Marketplace team have been discussing as a general idea.
    • “Discount linking” for listings: the ability for creators to offer links between listings in their own store to give shoppers a discounts.
      • Example: a creator brings out a completely new version of s product (rather than an updated version) – they could use the “discount linking” to allow those who purchased the “old” version at a discounted price).
      • Example: a creator could offer a discount on a new skin or make-up kit for a specific mesh head within a their range of head products, rather than for all of the heads they sell.
      • This is something that, if submitted as a feature request, would receive consideration by the Lab.
    • Variant listing: Keira re-iterated (as per my June meeting summary) that the Lab is considering variant listings (e.g. a single listing for multiple colour versions of the same item). However, this is unlikely to be something that is implemented before 2022.
  • Search: an upcoming project is that of Search, encompassing how it currently functions, how the Lab would like it to function and how users expect it to function. This will then hopefully lead to improvements being make to Search, although this may not happen until much later in the year or until 2022.
  • Broken Support links: some of the pages on the dashboard at secondlife.com (e.g. Billing Information, Account History/Statements) have a broken Help / Support links due to a missing “secondlife.com” in the URLs. This is a known issue.
  • Last Names:
    • The Premium account SL Birthday themed Last Names will be shortly be withdrawn from use and replaced with a new selection of Last Names, possibly within the next week or so. After this, next update to Last Names will likely be timed for Halloween.
    • Feature request BUG-230299 asks for the current Custom last Name programme (US $500 annually for a dedicated last name) to be made more broadly available, if on a more limited basis (and presumably a lower price-point) for those who wish to have a dedicated Last Name for their “family” / community / group. This is something that the Lab is considering, but it is unlikely that there will be anything to announce on it, should it move forward, until some time in 2022.
  • Grid-wide user experiences: there has been some further internal discussion on these at the Lab, but right now, they are a long way down the list of priorities.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, August 5th, 14:00 SLT.

One thought on “July 2021 SL Web User Group summary: mobile and new user experience

Comments are closed.