The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022.
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 embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!). Again, the following is a summary of key topics / discussions, not a full transcript of everything mentioned.
In the 2021 year-end review blog post the Lab issued in December 2021, several projects for 2022 were mentioned, some of which fall wholly or in part under the Web team’s responsibility. Reed Linden used this meeting to discuss some of them, as summarised below.
- The Lab has a full list of features and options they would like to include in Premium Plus. However, what is actually delivered (and I assume when / how it is delivered) is still subject to a number of factors.
- Because of the above, Reed could not offer definitive statements on what “will” be included, only hints to what might be present when the option is rolled out, such as:
- The potential for a higher amount of free tier than Premium’s 1024 sq m.
- The potential for specific Marketplace options to the available to Premium Plus subscribers.
- The potential for reduced upload and other fees (Name Changes?) for Premium Plus.
- The potential for a high-than-the-current Premium weekly stipend.
- Also, because the final list of what is to be released is potentially still subject to change, final pricing has yet to be agreed, although it will be higher than the current Premium subscription fees.
- The current plan is to introduce Premium Plus as “single level” offering at a set fee level (presumably monthly, quarterly, and annual, as per the current Premium). However, functionality has been provided to allow the Lab to offer further levels of “Premium” options, should this prove to be wanted.
- However, Reed also indicated that Premium offerings might and in an unspecified future become à la carte, allowing users to pick and pay for the options they want.
- The introduction of Premium Plus will not see any “downgrading” of current Premium subscription benefits or any changes to the current Premium subscription fees.
- A major question still to be answered by the Lab is how are upgrades / down grades handled (e.g. a user goes from Premium with grandfathered stipend (L$500) to Premium Plus then back down to Premium; does their stipend revert to the current L$300 a week, or go back to the grandfathered amount?).
- The “next few quarters” will be focused on an overhaul of Second Life Search, with the aim of “making it work “the way we expect it to work, with all the little features we all as good Internet residents have come to expect from a robust and well rounded search engine”. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Making the search filters more universal and offering more options for searching for things (e.g. such as being able to search for a region through Search → Places in addition to via the World Map).
- Improving both the relevancy and the ranking of Search results.
- To achieve this, the Lab has hired in specific experts in Search systems to carry out the work.
- Specifics on precisely how changes will be made and implemented are currently unclear, as a lot is dependent on further metrics gathering on the way Search objectively functions and then working with the incoming expects to recognise where and how things can be improved.
Marketplace Variants and Performance
- Described as the “big ticket item” for the Marketplace in 2022, is listing variants
- This will introduce the ability to have variants (e.g. different colours of an article of clothing) within a single listing – perhaps the single longest-running request for Marketplace functionality, reaching back to beyond the days of Pink Linden.
- The focus for Quarter 1 2022 (January through the end of March) is on putting in place the back-end support for this, including ensuring all of the required infrastructure is in place to support the functionality.
- Work will then switch to build-out the user-facing aspects of the capability, with the expectations that new features could start surfacing for users in late spring / early summer, with work then continuing.
- It has been noted that Marketplace performance can be very variable, depending on overall usage at any given time, and it is hoped that time in 2022 can be allotted to making some performance improvements.
- Another aspect of work that will be continuing through 2022 is the revamp of SL web properties to bring them more into line with the flat design seen within the web search pages, splash and log-in pages, etc.
- Opening grid-wide experience capabilities to users is still under consideration, as is allowing larger script sizes – although technically, neither of these capabilities are the remit of the Web Team.
- There appears to be some confusion over the current status of commenting on reviews left on the Marketplace after recent changes. It keep things before, at present, only the seller of an item can leave a comment (reply) to a review of their item; all other changes were rolled back.
- Marketplace Q&A option: as noted in a couple of past meeting summaries, it has been suggested LL provide a facility where questions concerning products on the MP can be asked and responded to by the seller or those who have purchased the item (similar to the “Customer Questions and Answers” section of many Amazon listing pages). Precisely how this should look and be managed is to be a topic for discussion at the next WUG meeting.
- Events (including searching events and how they are presented on the Event page) is also something that has been earmarked for possible work during 2022.
- Date of next meeting: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022, starting at 14:00 SLT.