Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Orientation 2.0

New OI 004While browsing over the map, which still terrible broken and can only browse it when zoomed in but that is something for another post. Anyway while looking at the map earlier today I noticed something interresting. The new Orientation Island Jeska briefly mentioned 2 townhalls ago, have gone live. And are being flooded by new Resis.

I logged in a alt that was still on a OI and tp'd to a one of the new islands. While it appeared there was still some final work to do, the island are in my opinion a vast improvement to the previous islands.

The new style island is divide into four small islands/sections(Communicate, Move, Search and Appearance) , and each sections has(or will have) tutorials about the subjects. The small islands have each a very different architecural look, Urban, Futuristic, Tribal and Medieval, which i think gives the resis immediately a much broader idea of what is possible in SL.
New OI 008New OI 010New OI 057New OI 001

Spread around the island are also several machinima made by SL residents, like Robbie Dingo's guitar making video. While cool i think something a bit more instructual would be better suited.

One thing i noticed though was that people where not really aware why they there and what they where supposed to do. So maybe something that clearly spells that out might be helpfull. Also a clear path of what to do next.

All and all, it looks very promissing and will hopefully prepare people better. While it is clearly not completly finished yet, it already far surpasses the old orientation islands. So check it out or look at my Flickr pics.


  1. There is only one way to test the efficacy of these new elaborate builds with lavish detail to see if they work: the retention numbers. And we'll not likely ever get to see them.

    When I see this amount of fastidious and astounding detail to a build, I conclude that probably resident architects were brought in, with the usual no-open-bid FIC system. Any idea who are the builders, Frans?

    And I have to wonder if even 1/100th of the attention to architectural detail given was also given to actual help cards, pathways, signs, modes of learning, etc.

    Breaking the orientation into the broad themse like "move, communication, search" is good -- it takes us away from that tekkie obsession with forcing people to go down the "build or die" path, but then you have to wonder if the multiplicity of themes is too confusing.

    I can see that once again, the Lindens, instead of being open about what they were doing, and offering a variety of people to contribute, just picked their pets for things like videos to show off SL. Well, hey, it's their game, they get to do that. But again, is it effective?
    Isn't this sort of insiderism what has plagued the past HIs and OIs, with special showcases for mentors, and helpers ushering newbies off to their stores, and a special list of faves getting their content in the freebie areas?

    In fact, it really is odd to see the Lindens get heavily back into the content business -- if anything, they should have long ago either a) outsourced the whole community management thing to another company and just stuck to software engineering or b) outsourced the whole newbie orientation business to residents on an open-bid system for businesses and non-profits to compete to provide services.

    Another annoying thing that I've found lately is that all the default "places" no longer comes up in PlACES. They used to show all the Infohubs that we residents have worked on. It was sacrificed on the altar of making SEARCH work. So now you have to know to search under "Infohubs" to find them -- before they were in the default view. I also wonder if newbies will still be given landmarks randomly still distributing them to infohubs as was long ago agreed upon, or whether the Lindens will now route everybody differently.

    I've noticed a decided drop in traffic on the infohubs I've worked on. They assigned people with a random script, but should have used an equal-distribution script.

  2. On the island itself you can't even open edit, which is a bit annoying. I went to help island and moved my cam in the island to beable to see who created it. I didn't check everything, but it looked like it was mostly Brent and Ben linden who made it.

    I'm suprised with you that they did this themselves.

  3. According to Jeska last year when she discussed them at a volunteer meeting, the new Orientation islands were to be designed and built entirely by Linden Lab in-house, by their content team.

    I never heard any mention of anyone outside the content team working on them.

  4. I'd offer that NOT having a clear 1-2-3 step path marked out of "what to do next" is good... the way I see it, the sooner people learn that THEY decide what to do next, that there is no 'supposed to' process in SL, the better.

    One of the main (transparent) learnings at OI is the development of exploration and decision skills as an avi.

  5. I've now been to see the new OI builds and written it up on the Herald:

    and contrast and compare with the Memory Bazaar Infohub in Ross we built about 7 months ago:

  6. While I rarely find myself agreeing with Prokofy on a topic like this, I find the whole issue of OI and HI very disappointing. Of course it is wonderful to see so many great builds - and, I for one couldn't care less about the selection process of the builders.

    But what is sorely missing in all of Linden Lab's projects so far is a focus on usability and didactic and an involvement of professionals in this field. What those locations really need is not impressive builds but THE VERY BEST TUTORIAL SOFTWARE that is possible within Second Life. Those newbies need guidance, they need goals, feedback and satisfaction. Some better texts and some more attractively designed notecard givers won't do much for the retention rate.

    I am not sure about it - I guess we will have to wait until the finished versions are online - but should they have done it again without professional outside expertise this might well be seen is the most effective waste of of money of 2006 (or 2007).