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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 1:09PM preciousj said

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/agree, it's horrible.

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 1:18PM (Unverified) said

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I have to second this assessment. Second Life has one of the worst UI's in the entire virtual reality industry.

I use SL irregularly, but every time I go back, I marvel at the unintuitive, clunky awfulness of every basic function. If you're a newcomer to SL, just reading a sign more than 10 feet away is a major chore. Incredibly frustrating and irritating.

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 1:34PM Ghen said

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Well from that screenshot they need to build more intuitive menus, as well as have the menus drop from the top/bottom instead of the side.

From other screens I've seen it looks just like Photoshop. A frigging mess that even Adobe says is screwed up. If I were LL I would follow Adobe's moves closely with their UI since they're in the same boat.

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 4:32PM (Unverified) said

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OK..I've been inworld for close to 2 years, and I have to say I have never had a screen that looks like that. Never found a need to tear off menu's and plaster them all over the screen..and unless I'm doing something slightly out of usual actions...don't need those menus even one at a time. I can think of building and scripting projects where some more complex abilities might be useful being on screen all at once...but then I tend to think that maybe if you are doing those things and finding the system a bit obtuse maybe you should continue to learn your craft. I've had to keep books open next to me learning photoshop also...the more complex the functions I need to know the the higher the learning curve. I do not enter any new program expecting not to have to invest some time learning it.

As for the average user..there is nothing particularly complex or different here. Movement keys are pretty standard (arrow keys), maybe the flight keys are off standard (pg up/pg down) but that places them close to the arrows on a standard keyboard...which I like. The cam moves with the same keys..just holding down alt...and you don't really need to know much more than that to get along at the start (including reading those signs over 10M away..^_^) Just keep right clicking and clicking on things, and you should learn the rest in a short time, without even having to dig into those menus until you are ready. If you don't understand the terminology in them, you might consider leaving them alone until you do...or else certainly only make changes 1 at a time.

I have never seen a system that makes something complex easy for a newbie and does not make it harder for an expert....photo manipulation programs are a great example. You can find a simple point and click one...or one that has power...but the power one comes with a price...learning.

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 9:48PM (Unverified) said

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I'm actually very well acquainted with the SL interface. Not exactly a noob, I've coded my own dance balls and done quite a bit of scripting in Second Life generally.

But I have a very good memory, and one of the lasting memories I recall from my early days in Second Life was how frustrating the interface is to use in your first few weeks or months. It was designed and implemented by either idiots or hard core gadget geeks. I don't know which is worse, really.

It is the opposite of intuitive.

Learning how to use it is an incredibly irritating trial that puts serious doubts into your mind about whether SL is worth it at all.

So; it's bad, real bad. It needs to go.
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Posted: Nov 30th 2007 4:58PM Ghen said

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Maybe a beginner UI to start out SLifers, and then when they reach 20 hours of gameplay ask them if they want to switch to advanced mode? (with a manual checkbox somewhere too of course)

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 8:15PM Jeremy White said

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One reason I gave up on SL in a short period of time is because I felt overwhelmed by all the stuff in the UI. I didn't like it one bit.

Posted: Nov 30th 2007 10:42PM (Unverified) said

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The UI has some problems, certainly. One of which is the fact that there's just so *many* options that have to be made available.

I think the Activeworlds interface is actually worse though. They've oversimplified it to the point that it becomes *more* confusing than it would be if they'd left it at it's natural level of complexity.

In the end, more people are confused by SL-as-a-world in their first couple weeks than SL-as-a-UI - but that doesn't mean the SL-UI doesn't have a fair bit of room for improvement.

I think the OnRez SL UI does a good job of concealing the building-related tools until you need them. That makes a large difference to the ability to find the options you're looking for.

Posted: Dec 1st 2007 1:28PM (Unverified) said

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"Thanks, Mitch!"

You're welcome! :)

Posted: Dec 2nd 2007 1:27PM (Unverified) said

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I'm not a tech oriented person, I know where the On switch is to my machine and that's about it; and I don't find these pull down menus all that confusing.

They're just like any other menus, you only keep them open when you are using them, otherwise they are out of the way.

The UI may not be fabulous but it ain't difficult.

Posted: Dec 4th 2007 4:11PM MP Flinn said

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Suggestion: simulate that screen on SL Support (that is easier for a newbie to find!) site. Then have a dropdown explanation under each category or, even better, each item, so you know what you're doing.

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