During a recent conversation on matters SL and this blog, the subject of tutorials came up. While the details aren’t important, it was commented that the person I was talking to hadn’t realised I’ve written a number of tutorials, one of which turned out to be precisely what they had been looking for.
This is actually my fault; while I have written a fair number of tutorials and mini-guides to various aspects of Second Life, in a past update to the blog navigation menu, I opted to place the tutorials list under the “SL” heading – and frankly, haven’t done a good job of maintain it. Hence it has been easy to miss.
To rectify this, I’ve made a couple of changes to the menu system, that will hopefully make things easier to find, and also help keep the menus from extending beyond them limits of most people’s browsers (sadly, WordPress menus do not use intelligent wrapping).
In short the changes are:
Presents a menu of Second Life tutorial categories (shown in the banner image for this article).
Clicking the menu title or the top-level item in the drop-down – Tutorials Index – will both display a list of all tutorials written for this blog and a list of the official Second Life University video.
Clicking on the title of any menu item with a right-pointing caret (“>”) will open the Tutorial Index at a list of tutorials related to the menu item title.
Hovering over any menu item with a right-pointing caret (“>”) and dragging the mouse to the right will open a drop-down menu of the tutorials related to that item.
Clicking on an individual tutorial title will then open it in your browser.
Blog Bits & Contact
This heading now encompasses the Contact Me form which previously appeared in the menu bar, as the first item in the drop-down displayed when hovering over the option.
I will be adding to the Tutorials index as I work back through the blog an pick up any stragglers I’ve missed – and obviously with any further tutorials / guides as they are written. As always, I hope these changes will help make this blog more of a useable resource.
I’ve had a handful of comments over the last week concerning further small changes to the blog – notably the header, but also about navigation via the menus, so I thought it was time to offer a note on changes.
The new blog banner is a composite image kindly put together by Sonotech Gloom, and hopefully offers something just that little bit different with its suggestion of stepping through a teleport portal.
Sono is someone who is great fun to be around, but more importantly in this context, is a talented graphics designer. If you have a logo or banner you want for your website, your SL store, your event, etc., you really should give her a shout and discuss ideas / rates. My thanks to her for working with me on various banner ideas.
Turning to navigation: I’m always trying to rationalise the blog’s menu system whilst trying to ensure popular information remains accessible. To this end, I introduced some new “Archive” options to some of the sub-menus (Exploring Second Life, RFL, SLB, etc.) at the end of 2020, the idea being to keep the current (and perhaps previous) year’s entries easily accessible, whilst reducing the overall bulk of a menu. However, the tag cloud and search can help focus down on specific subject areas, if required.
More recently, I’ve rationalised the LL menu tree thus:
An updated sub-menu option provides access to articles on the Lab’s board and current / plus past CEOs.
Tilia Pay is now included under the LL menu, rather than having its top menu option.
An expanded Meeting Transcripts/Summary option provides to all transcripts and summaries I’ve provided on significant meetings / keynotes / presentations by members of the Lab’s management team. This includes (at the time of writing) the following sub-menu options:
Lab Gab / Lab Chat.
Lindens at VWBPE.
SLB Meet the Lindens.
Town Hall meetings.
Hopefully, all this helps reduces some of the clutter and noise in the menus and give a bit more room for expansion, should it bee needed in the future.
A new top-level blog menu Category, Tilia, replaces the Sansar category. This will be used for information and updates relating to Linden Lab’s Tilia Inc., subsidiary, and includes sub-menu options for general news on Tilia, and articles about Tilia / Tilia operations that are specific to Second Life.
The Sansar category, with all sub-menus relating to it, has been moved to appear under the Other Worlds and Tech menu category.
Sansar is kept distinct from those worlds I’ve covered in the past (Blue Mars, Cloud Party, High Fidelity, OpenSim grids, etc.), to distinguish it as a platform I’m still currently reporting on. Other worlds / platforms are listed under the Other Virtual Worlds Archive sub-menu (not shown above).
The menus will hopefully remain in this format for the foreseeable future (allowing for the resumption of work on Sansar and my ability to report on it), and I’ll leave this post up as a sticky for the next few days just so people are aware of the changes.
One of the things I strive for in this blog is ease of access to information, be it through the way I use categories and tags for posts or through the use of the available menu options and widgets, etc., within the blog’s theme.
Three changes I’ve made through 2018 – which may or may not have been noticed – is to information displayed in the widgets bar on the right of the blog.
In terms of the order in which they appear, these are:
A section on SL user groups.
A section on SL tutorials in this blog.
A revised RSS feed from the SL grid status.
All three can be found between the Blogroll lists and Tag Cloud.
SL User Groups: provides direct links to all of the current Second Life user group pages on the Second Life wiki. These pages provide a summary of the purpose of the meetings, the date and times of forthcoming meetings and often, but not always an agenda for the next meeting and / or, where recorded, archives of past meetings. All meetings are open to those interested in attending. I provide summaries of all meetings I attend.
SL Tutorials: over the years I’ve provided a series of Second Life tutorials on various subjects. This widget is designed to provide a link to my full index of tutorials (which also includes links to tutorials by others). It also lists key Second Life tutorials I’ve produced either on my own, or with the assistance of Linden Lab (e.g. the Abuse Reports tutorial). I plan to add further relevant tutorials to this selection as they become available, together with what I think are the more interesting of my own tutorials on interesting subjects.
RSS Feed: this is tweak to the RSS feed from the Second Life Grid Status page, which hopefully presents updates in a clean, readable manner.
Since the introduction of the current blog layout in 2017, I’ve continued to make adjustments to the menu system to try to ease navigation, not all of which I’ve subsequently written about.
Most recently, I’ve attempted to simplify the menu structure further by combining a couple of the top-level menus and reducing the sub-menu structure of each.
The top-level menus are now as follows:
SL (unchanged): provides access to all Second Life posts and pages, divided into the following sub-menus / categories, including news items, opinion pieces, my Exploring Second Life travelogues, all of my SL user group meeting summaries, art reviews, all viewer reviews, etc.
LL (unchanged): provides access to general news and information specific to Linden Lab, including all transcripts of Lab Chats and Q&As by Lab CEOs and senior staff.
Sansar (unchanged): provides a breakdown of all Sansar-related posts and articles in this blog, again divided into sub-menus / categories.
Other Worlds and Tech (unchanged): covers articles on other virtual worlds, AR and VR, pieces on general tech and my Space Sunday astronomy & space reports.
Guests (unchanged): provides access to all articles written by guests on this blog, accessed via the writer’s name.
Blog Bits (new): this now combines general information on this blog (blog guidelines, blog navigation, privacy statement and my review systems specifications), my “personal” items (biography, SL home life, my blogging journey, my SL videos, etc.), as shown in the image above.
Note that the majority of the menu items in the above options have right-pointing arrow (“>”) indicating sub-menu options can be accessed. However, do please note that all articles for a specific category can be accessed by clicking on the top-level menu / sub-category option, as (hopefully!) explained in the image below. The only exception to this is the About Me item under Blog Bits – just use the sub-menu from this to navigate further.
I hope these changes and updates further help people locate information within this blog. Obviously, the tag cloud can also be used to assist with finding article sets, and don’t forget there are the search options, also found in the right-side widget bar, which include the ability to list post by the major article categories used in this blog, or to list all articles published in a given month (most recent to oldest).
It’s a bit hard to miss, but yes, I’ve made a change to the theme underpinning this blog. It’s by no means a permanent change – that depends on the feedback I get. However, there are a number of reasons why I wanted to change things a little, so I’m hoping readers will prefer the new layout.
A lot of effort has gone into the menu system, but it was always a pain to use with the “old” layout, as it was locked to the top of a page – scroll down too far and it would vanish off the top of the browser tab
Some readers stated they found the old layout difficult to follow, with the sidebar on the right seeming to “run into” the body text
It didn’t loan itself to viewing on mobile devices that well
I wanted to tweak the text a little and (hopefully) make it easier on the eye.
As the changes are template-based, it is possible some pages / images in this blog have gone a little sideways in places. I’m working through everything to double-check (unfortunately, the preview option in WordPress doesn’t entirely match the actual page layout, so I could only start checking things once I’d made the change to the new format. Ho hum). Please make allowances if you come across something that looks awkwardly formatted on a page in the meantime 🙂 .
The thing I’m hoping will prove most useful is the menu, which will now following you down a page as you scroll. Given I’ve put a fair amount of time in trying to categorise and track articles and pages in the blog via the menu, this will hopefully make it far more reader-friendly than has been the case in the past.
I’ve also revised the default body and headings text font – again, my hope is this improves readability and comfort when browsing. Unfortunately, one thing WordPress won’t let me change is the use of block caps for headings; this is locked into a CSS I can’t access, but I how the use of caps in titles and headings isn’t overpowering.
Finally, this theme had a better set of style sheets for mobile devices. I’ve no idea how many people read this blog from the tablet, etc, but (with the possible exception of the menu, which is a bit “ugh!” on tablets, etc.), it should make for easier reading if you do.
As with the last major restructure to this blog – in 2012, can you believe?!), I’m offering a little feedback poll for those interested in letting me know quick thoughts on the layout
One of the things I’m striving to achieve within this blog is ease of access to information, be it through the way I use categories and tags for posts or through the use of the available menu options within the blog’s theme.
This inevitably means that I reshuffle things every so often: rationalising tags, re-ordering categories and fiddling with the menus. I hope that such re-orderings help make finding information and topics in this blog easier as things grow, be it via category searches or through general searches or the tag cloud, or through the menus.
It is the latter in particular which I’ve revised. The work isn’t finished, as I’ll be adding, tweaking and moving things over the next few days as time allows, but I think there is enough there to offer the menu for people to try, if they’re so-minded 🙂 .
There are now six main headings to the menu, most of which should be self-explanatory:
Second Life: which covers all things directly related to SL, and has five sub-menu items:
News and Opinion – for news and views on Second Life;
SL tech – for all my weekly SL project updates, news and reviews of the viewers and clients I cover in the blog; and news on significant SL issues
Events – all coverage of the events I’ve previewed / reported on, arranged by topic ( Bay City, BURN2, VWBPE, RFL, etc,)
Reviews – all my art previews and reviews, my reviews of SL regions, Sl product reviews, etc.
Tutorials – (hopefully) useful tutorials I’ve written or found and had permission to reproduce here
Linden Lab: news, views and reviews more directly related to the Lab than purely about Second Life, including things like tier, Blocksworld, meeting transcripts, etc
Sansar: news (via the Lab or the media) on Project Sansar, plus my own speculations / thoughts
Other Worlds and Tech: my coverage of other virtual world environments, my AR and VR related reports, my space and astronomy items and any general tech news I cover
My Bits: the About Me bit, with personal notes on blogging and other assorted bits
Contact Me form.
As with previous iterations of the menu note that:
Clicking the menu title will display all articles related to all of the sub-menus associated with that item. So if you Click “Sansar”, you will get both the “Sansar News” and “Sansar Speculations” articles
Similarly, clicking on a sub-menu option will display all the articles listed under that menu item, and within any sub-menu associated with it. So if you navigate to SL Project Updates (Second Life > SL Tech > SL Project Updates), and click on it, all on my SL project update reports will be displayed in newest to oldest order. However, if you navigate to the 2015 Updates sub-menu item, only my 2015 updates will be displayed
Clicking the blog banner will return you to the front page.
Hopefully, these changes won’t confuse those who have made use of the old menus, and will further assist people in finding information in these pages.