With so many ways for users to communicate with one another in Second Life, there are quite a few communications tools in the Viewer. To make it easier to find, learn and use these tools, today we released a project Viewer that introduces CHUI (Communications Hub User Interface). In addition to bringing most of these communications tools “under one roof,” CHUI also introduces some new and improved features.
One new feature is the Conversation Log, which provides a list of all the conversations you’ve had in the last 30 days. This includes IMs received from both friends and non-friends while you were offline. From the Conversation Log you can open the entire history of your communication with another person, so you no longer need to search for it on your computer’s hard drive. (You just need to choose the option of saving chat logs on your computer for this feature to work.)
A feature already in SL is the ability to open a conference chat by selecting multiple people from your friends list, and with a right-click, create a private IM session with all of them. In CHUI, you can now add people to a conference chat after it’s started, or add someone to an existing one-on-one IM session.
CHUI also makes it easier to move your voice connection among your open conversations, including nearby chat, private IM, conference chat or group chat. Click the “add voice” button on any conversation to move your voice connection to that conversation. Click the “hang up” button and your voice connection is returned to nearby chat.
In addition, you are now able to access your chat preferences in a single click from the Conversation window. You can change the volume of a single person’s voice by simply clicking on that person’s speaking icon in the Conversations window. In CHUI, the chat entry box expands to multiple lines as you type.
On the People window, we added a tab for blocked people and objects, so you no longer need to open a menu to see this list. It is also easier to unblock someone if you change your mind.
We are still working on making notifications more consistent and user-controllable. Depending on the type of incoming communication, you will be able to choose a notification style, such as a flashing button, a sound, or no notification at all. You’ll also be able to choose distinct notification types for friends and non-friends, as well as for those times when you’re busy and you’d prefer to be interrupted only by friends. We’re also in the process of moving the voice morphing capability so it will be easier to find and use.
On the People window, Conversations window, and Conversation Log window, we have moved the buttons to the top, where they are easier to see. In addition, we are leaving space for more buttons because there’s always room for improvement -- and because we expect you will have great ideas for more new features.
We’ve been testing CHUI inside Linden Lab for some time, but any major redesign requires a lot of people using it to make it as smooth and useful as it can be. This is where you come in.
Please think about these questions as you use the CHUI project viewer:
- Are the new features useful?
- Do the functions you commonly use seem more streamlined, or do they require more clicks than before?
- Are all of the functions, both old and new, easy to find?
We’ll ask you to complete a survey in approximately one week to gather your thoughts on these questions.
If you find a bug, there’s a good chance we’re aware of it. Please check the list of open issues and report yours at https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/chuibug
We look forward to hearing what you think and hope that you find CHUI to be as much of an improvement as we do.