Looking at the Second Life Search facelift

Second life Search home page

On Monday, November 22nd, 2021, and following on from comments made by Reed Linden at the November Web User Group meeting, Linden Lab launched the new look for Second Life Search (as seen both via the web and in the viewer). The launch was accompanied by a blog post – New Look for Search – that outlined the update, with several screen shots of various aspects of search return displays, etc., and a resident-launched forum thread discusses the changes.

Before going any further, it is important to note a couple of points, even though in general terms they have been noted:

  • This is an update to the web pages / style sheets defining how search and search results are displayed. It does not mark any changes in how the actual search algorithm works – so things like relevancy in search results, etc., will not be altered or improved as a result of this facelift.
  • However, a further overhaul of search which does include tightening the algorithm and improving results / relevancy and general performance will be initiated in 2022. This will apparently utilise third-party Search tool development expertise external to LL in an attempt to get a “first class” search implementation.

I’ll admit my first reaction on seeing the new search home page, both in the viewer and on the web page was, “ugh!” It was a shock to see the minimalism of Flat Design, even though this has been common to operating systems for a good while now, and has been something LL has started pushing towards. Frankly, it is not something I personally like as I find it bland and, in some executions, not particularly intuitive. However, if LL do want to make their product more in-line with current aesthetics with operating system and application design, and if they are serious about making SL more accessible through mobile / portable devices as well as modern desktop operating systems, then the move is understandable.

I’m not going to comment too much on functionality here, simply because this is a makeover, not a change in quality of returns of searches, etc. I’ll save such comments until after the complete overhaul of Search has been completed. So here are some fairly basic thoughts on the visuals.

Search in the Viewer benefits from not displaying the Classifieds (unless scrolled to via the bottom bar), but suffers from a lack of immediately-visible results

Home Page


  • Looks clean, options easy to identify, and the colour change when and option is selected is good approach for those who may have visual impairments that make seeing checks in boxes difficult.
  • The left-side tabulation for high-level search categories is better than the old drop-downs, with the tailored options for each category are a further good moves.


  • A terrible waste of space in the banner area, which is particularly noticeable when viewing Search within the viewer. Frankly, the SL logo looks as if it is about to be swallowed by the Great Charcoal Void.
  • Do the left sidebar tabs really need to be so broad, given the font size and the depth of each tab?

Results Listings


  • Much better listing layout and improved readability. The left-side tabs are useful to have, together with Maturity ratings.
  • Changes impacting the list of results (such as changing the Maturity rating) are responsive and obvious.
  • As a largely legacy search user when it comes to search places, I’m not sure if the linking to Place Pages for additional information is new or not, but if it is, then it’s a good move even if Place Pages are drastically under-utilised and in need of Lab TLC.
  • Tucking thumbnails into the result title helps to compress the amount of space taken by individual results.
Search page responsiveness on actions appears good


  • The last point made, the number of results displayed before scrolling is required is an annoyance, and something of a step back. Yes, individual items in a set of returns are a lot more readable, thanks to a larger, cleaner font, but this does come at a price.
  • In this, the fixed column width with two sidebars also doesn’t help. Why not make Classified part of the left sidebar below the items already there? Or make them a toggle off / on option so the display area for results could expand sideways and allow for a few more results to be displayed before scrolling becomes necessary?
  • There are also some informational elements lacking (such as traffic); should they return, this could further impact the number of returns.

General Thoughts

At the end of the day, any UI change is going to cause consternation of varying degrees and for a variety of reasons: most of us are prone to react negatively to changes we perhaps hadn’t been expecting; plus we all tend to consider ourselves armchair UI experts. Search is a particularly emotive subject as it is a tool that is especially important to some for their business, etc., and thus doubly hard to balance out to satisfy all needs. As a more “casual” user of Search, and spending a good portion of the day playing with it, I can live with the shortfalls and can appreciate the improvements, and will await further changes to see how things fair.

Campbell Coast Art Walk 2021 in Second Life

Campbell Coast Art Walk: Zia and Samanthe 

Currently underway at Campbell Coast art centre, is their autumn 2021 Art Walk exhibition, featuring an outdoor display of art by a number of artists, and the opportunity to tour the study galleries within the village.

The featured artists for the Art Walk are: Eylinea Seabird (eylinea), Ourane NuevaVida (ourane), Loony Carabosse – Moretto (louna.perl), Samanthe Mirror, Traci Ultsch and Zia Sophia (zia.branner). Between they, they present a contrasting selection of art. Zia, as the closest to the landing point, presents to of her abstract painting from the physical world that are captivating in their use of colour, tone, contrast and line. Alongside of her, Samanthe presents four avatar studies, nicely balanced between colour and monochrome pieces that offer narratives on an individual’s life, from enjoying the simple pleasure of a hot drink to moments of dance and delight or of quiet introspection.

Campbell Coast Art Walk: Loony and Eylinea

Loony’s images, meanwhile make use of soft tones and carry a distinctly avian theme across two of them, whilst one presents a layered digital media piece. Beside these, Eylinea’s work is a stark contrast, giving us three simply marvellous digital pieces that are fabulously minimalist or abstracted, and gently animated in a manner that is genuinely captivating and calming.

Traci Ultsch is an artist who repeatedly pushes herself with her art; she has a fearlessness when it comes to experimentation and diving into different styles and genres. Her work has embraced avatar studies, landscapes, photography, whilst also offering personal statements on life and society. Here, bracketing the door to her studio gallery, she presents four stunningly abstract expressions of nature.

Campbell Coast Art Walk: Traci and Ourane

Ourane is an artist I’m not overly familiar with, but her paintings at Campbell Coast immediately captivated me. These are richly expressive pieces, their use of colour and line as unique as their subject matter.

As noted, the art walk also offers the opportunity to visit the boutique galleries of the other artists exhibiting at Campbell Coast as well, comprising Bijoux (BijouxBarr), Michiel Bechir, eta (etamae) and Jeanie (jeanienabottle), all of whom definitely worth viewing.

SLurl Details

Stone Gods, wild woods airships, and a restaurant in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Monday, November 22nd, 19:00: The Stone God Awakens

A 20th century scientist is rendered frozen at the molecular level, and then reanimated millennia later by a freak accident. He finds himself in a strange world populated by sentient, anthropomorphic animals, who take his awakening to be the fulfilment of prophecy.

He accepts the mantle of godhood and sets about discovering this brave new world, hoping to find clues to the past while finding his place as the last human. But his quest leads to to question the reality of his status – might other humans also have survived? To find the answers he must lead his tribe of feline worshippers to the heart of a rival god: a great tree spanning half a continent.

Join Gyro Muggins as he reads a novella by the fantasy and sci-fi author Philip José Farmer.

Tuesday, November 23rd

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym

With music, and poetry in Ceiluradh Glen.

19:00: The Wild Wood

A young artist returns to her cabin in the deep woods of Canada to concentrate on her illustrations. But somehow, strange and beautiful creatures are slipping into her drawings and sketches. The world of Faerie is reaching out to her for help – and she may be its last chance for survival.

With Willow Moonfire.

Wednesday, November 24th, 19:00 Steampunk Stories

Finn Zeddore opens the pages of Lightspeed magazine to read Carrie Vaughn’s Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution.

As they crossed the Great Plains of America, Harry was certain she’d never seen anything so astonishing in all her life.
The Kestrel hadn’t had such a long stretch airborne since she crossed the Atlantic. Even on the third day of it, Harry leaned out a window to watch the land passing beneath them, and what seemed to be all of heaven passing above. “Have you ever seen the sky look so very large, Marlowe?”
“Only at twenty thousand feet of altitude.”

Thursday, November 25th, 10:00: Alice’s Restaurant Massacree

A Seanchai Library Thanksgiving tradition with Shandon Loring.

You can get anything that you want
At Alice’s restaurant.
You can get anything that you want
At Alice’s restaurant.
Walk right in, it’s around the back,
Just a half-a-mile from the railroad tracks
And you can get anything that you want
At Alice’s restaurant

As Thanksgiving arrives in the United States, Shandon Loring presents singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie’s famous 1967 musical monologue, Alice’s Restaurant Massacree (also popularly known as Alice’s Restaurant, and the inspiration of the 1969 Arthur Penn film of that name, starring Guthrie himself).

Aside from the opening and closing chorus, the song is delivered as the spoken word accompanied by a ragtime guitar. The story is based on a true incident in Guthrie’s life when, in 1965, he (then 18) and a friend were arrested for illegally dumping garbage from Alice’s restaurant after discovering that the town dump was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

What follows is a complicated, ironic and amusing story told in a deadpan, satirical tone, which encompasses fines, blind judges, guide dogs, 27 8×10 copiously annotated glossy photos related to the littering, frustrated police officers, the Vietnam War draft and, ultimately, the inexplicable ways in which bureaucracy moves to foil itself, just when you’ve given up hope of foiling it yourself.

Don’t be late – the entire presentation is just 20 minutes in length!