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Onboarding, or improving the new user experience


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Most new users I’ve run into are using YouTube videos to onboard. It’s been this way for quite a while. Having a newbie island with guides is a waste of resources and unnecessary. Newbies are looking better than people that have been here for years.

While, it’s not as ideal as having a personal guide...this is the way.

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The problem I’m seeing is they aren’t finding much to do after they’ve gotten over the “how do I fix my avatar?” hump, then they leave.

What might be more beneficial might be more YouTube videos that highlight sims highlight cool things to see and do inworld.

I suggested that someone started doing videos on creation too in the mesh forum a while back and got scoffed at. This is also the way.

You have to go where people are and bring them to where you want them to be.

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Recently I was looking at mesh bodies for men, and looked around for an in-world tutorial. None at Linden help islands. None at Firestorm help islands. None at New Citizens. New Resident Island, thoug

I wanted to pop in on this thread to provide the perspective of a newbie. I just started a few days ago, after having seen Second Life featured in a YouTube video.  I find that a lot of the YouTu

spewed ... blown on ... slathered ... plated ... fused ... annealed ... 

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I wanted to pop in on this thread to provide the perspective of a newbie. I just started a few days ago, after having seen Second Life featured in a YouTube video. 

I find that a lot of the YouTube videos that are out there on SecondLife are too long for easy consumption. Some are longer than others - I've seen some that are 1-2 hours long, yet are labelled as an introductory explanation to SecondLife! (To be fair, most of them are just snippets of streams people did, but still.) I personally don't learn too well in video format and find that for me, a lot of the ones out there aren't very compact/explanatory. 

I like the idea of videos that show what is fun to do on SecondLife, what is nice to see, but only if they're relatively compact (10-20 minutes). 

I've mostly taken to checking out SecondLife blogs and trying to Google everything as best as I can. SecondLife seems very intimidating as there is so much to explore. I will be completely honest, seeing some of the responses to newbies that have been made in prior threads/other blogs is a bit offputting. I understand that not every user wants to (or is obligated to) help a newbie out, but I saw some responses that just seemed so snooty that multiple times, I second-guessed whether Second Life was a community I was even interested in joining... I logically knew that the rude folks were likely a minority here, but it still made me feel intimidated to ask around ...

The onboarding experience on the island I was plopped on (Firestorm Gateway) was not great. It taught me all the controls, which was definitely nice, but I'm still confused about how to put on clothes, what mesh is, how to configure payment, what kinds of places I can go to... I'm finding myself relying on a lot of user-made content (as well as sorting through replies on here), but it's tricky because some blogs are easier to read than others and some are woefully outdated.

I will definitely be checking out New Resident Island. I'm still quite lost, but at least I'm a bit less moderately lost than I was a few days ago!

I don't really mind who the information is coming from so long as the information is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Oh, and easy to find. 

For now, I am most interested in finding freebies to dress my avatar and doing hunts. The great thing is that there are lots of blogs on these subjects, so I've been able to find the information that I need fairly easily. Ease of finding information would be different if a new user was interested in other things.

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2 hours ago, simplemint said:

The onboarding experience on the island I was plopped on (Firestorm Gateway) was not great. It taught me all the controls, which was definitely nice, but I'm still confused about how to put on clothes, what mesh is, how to configure payment, what kinds of places I can go to...

Yes.

The clothing system is complicated. Most useful info is to save good outfits by name from the T-shirt menu. Then you can easily go back to an outfit if you mess up what you're wearing. New Resident Island has a walkthrough which not only explains mesh, it gives you a free mesh female avatar and some basic clothes. The male side is being worked on. SL has far fewer clothing options on the male side, for the same reason that American malls are mostly female clothing stores.

To configure payment, go to https://secondlife.com, in a web browser, log in with the same username and password you use in the viewer, and go to Account->Billing information, where you can enter a credit card number. This is charged if you buy Linden dollars with the Buy button in the browser. If you buy land, you're charged a monthly fee based on how much land you own, and if you buy Premium membership, you pay about US$100 per year. Once you have "payment info on file", you can buy Linden dollars with the "Buy L$" button in the SL viewer. You'll be asked how much you want to buy. It's not a sneaky system; Linden Lab is very clear about when they are charging you. Currently, about L$250 = US$1. This varies from day to day, but not by much. There's a fee of US$1.49 for buying Linden dollars, regardless of the transaction size.

Spending about US$10 will give you enough Linden dollars for basic clothing and such. Looking really good costs more. Almost all of that goes to other residents who make things, by the way. You can cash out Linden dollars to US dollars for another fee, and it's possible to make money in Second Life, although few people do. Personally I have a small net profit.

There are lots of freebie places, and like bargain bins in the real world, it's mostly old stuff, with the occasional good find. There are sales and discounted items, just like real life.

 

 

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Thank you for your advice @animats!

I didn't know how to save outfits by name... this should be very helpful when I'm trying to figure out HUDs and making clothing work on my current mesh body (Ruth 2.0).

I've found the payment site, but am having trouble linking my PayPal account... something about how I need to add bank information? Currently trying to figure that out now. I would prefer to pay over PayPal, but if not, I will add a credit card instead.

I normally do not like to spend money on a hobby before I know whether I'm interested in it or not, but it seems like to participate in some of the hunts out there, you'll need at least 1L to pick up items. I don't live in the US, so we'll have to see how bad the conversion fees are before I decide how much to spend. Thanks for the heads up on the fee.

Re: onboarding, some of the most off-putting interactions I saw were of people simply asking about whether it was possible to enter Second Life without spending $$, and then others bluntly telling them that they should basically expect to spend money to have fun and that $10-$20 USD is really a small chunk of change to create a beginner wardrobe with. In terms of the onboarding process, it's one thing to tell users, as you have, that there are free and discount options in-world that aren't necessarily going to be as recent or stylish as the paid stuff, that looking really good will cost more, and that most of your $ is going to other people and not the Linden corporation so it is worth it to spend $$; but another to basically imply that people cannot look good or cannot have fun without investing money right from the beginning.

I also see this in a fair few of the beginner YouTube videos; they emphasize that spending $$ is the easiest way to dress an avatar but do not really go into much detail about freebie, newbie, and discount options people can check out as well if they're skeptical about spending early on. 

My thought is, people will be more likely to spend money in the future if they do decide Second Life is something they like, rather than potentially being turned away from the beginning, right after they sign up, because they perceive spending $$ is necessary. Encourage people to try Second Life for free, direct them to the free/discount options that are available first, and then let them decide if spending $$ is worthwhile.

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The real issue is not about not knowing how to use mesh, that is easily learnable. The biggest issue is not knowing what to do afterwards, there is no direction or reason. A lot of people come here thinking its a game of sorts and has a direction a purpose a meaning a quest to complete and when they find out it doesn't they just leave.

They need welcome people that are willing to set and talk with and show people around, help you learn more about how to tp, and places to go and things to see and do. 

Using mesh is not the biggest issue by far.

My first time here I got stuck in a sim and didn't know how to leave it. It got boring being the only person in it, so I logged out and didn't come back for several months before deciding to give it another chance. By then I had watched a few videos on youtube how to get around and do things. So it made it easier to find other places to travel too.

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On 10/13/2020 at 12:03 AM, simplemint said:

I wanted to pop in on this thread to provide the perspective of a newbie. I just started a few days ago, after having seen Second Life featured in a YouTube video. 

I find that a lot of the YouTube videos that are out there on SecondLife are too long for easy consumption. Some are longer than others - I've seen some that are 1-2 hours long, yet are labelled as an introductory explanation to SecondLife! (To be fair, most of them are just snippets of streams people did, but still.) I personally don't learn too well in video format and find that for me, a lot of the ones out there aren't very compact/explanatory. 

I like the idea of videos that show what is fun to do on SecondLife, what is nice to see, but only if they're relatively compact (10-20 minutes). 

I've mostly taken to checking out SecondLife blogs and trying to Google everything as best as I can. SecondLife seems very intimidating as there is so much to explore. I will be completely honest, seeing some of the responses to newbies that have been made in prior threads/other blogs is a bit offputting. I understand that not every user wants to (or is obligated to) help a newbie out, but I saw some responses that just seemed so snooty that multiple times, I second-guessed whether Second Life was a community I was even interested in joining... I logically knew that the rude folks were likely a minority here, but it still made me feel intimidated to ask around ...

The onboarding experience on the island I was plopped on (Firestorm Gateway) was not great. It taught me all the controls, which was definitely nice, but I'm still confused about how to put on clothes, what mesh is, how to configure payment, what kinds of places I can go to... I'm finding myself relying on a lot of user-made content (as well as sorting through replies on here), but it's tricky because some blogs are easier to read than others and some are woefully outdated.

I will definitely be checking out New Resident Island. I'm still quite lost, but at least I'm a bit less moderately lost than I was a few days ago!

I don't really mind who the information is coming from so long as the information is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Oh, and easy to find. 

For now, I am most interested in finding freebies to dress my avatar and doing hunts. The great thing is that there are lots of blogs on these subjects, so I've been able to find the information that I need fairly easily. Ease of finding information would be different if a new user was interested in other things.

Firstly - Welcome to Second Life!   

I can't actually remember my first days here, but I do remember being actually afraid to use the forums because it seemed quite limited to a few loud voices who had very specific views.  14 years later I tend to now be able to navigate a little better.

I hope @Strawberry Linden sees your post as she has some great resources to help people get started so having this front and center for new users may help.   I would love to see Linden Lab across their channels push more content out  to new users and as you said make it easy to find to keeping it fresh and up to date.  I know Strawberry has done an amazing job in those areas already so hopefully more can connect to new users to help.

What kept me here for 14 years was finding a friend in my first few days, and she showed me the ropes (she was a few months older than me).   So hopefully you can connect in your travels.     I found searching for things I had interest in (e.g. architecture, design) brought me into contact with groups with like minded people.  I would join their groups to find out about events or things to go and see and meet people.  

The clothing bit - I just can't imagine how new users deal with the whole mesh body, heads, clothes stuff - it's become a seriously complex part of "user generated content".    Personally I have hoped for a long time that Linden Lab would simply release Avatar 2.0 so there is a base body that is comparable (but properly riggeed/optimized) for creators to use as well that is also open to all creators to use so they can learn to create clothes on it etc.    That's a whole other thread in itself, but I def would google Strawberry Singh (her name pre her Linden Lab days) blog and see if any of her posts help.        You are on the right track with the freebies etc as that's a great way to experiment until you decide to invest any money into a hobby.

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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On 10/14/2020 at 7:15 AM, simplemint said:

it seems like to participate in some of the hunts out there, you'll need at least 1L to pick up items

you are doing the right thing by discovering what is possible before splashing out putting money in until you have a better idea of what works for you

to get some little amount of L$ to buy dollarbies and such then suggest that you check out the Linden Realms game at the Portal Park. We can earn up to L$50 a week playing this game, which will give you some little lindens for dollarbies and such

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Portal Park 1/101/155/55

another thing is to join groups like:"SL frees & offers" and "Fabulously Free in SL" which will help you find store gifts, dollarbies and other special discounted offers

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1 hour ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

Personally I have hoped for a long time that Linden Lab would simply release Avatar 2.0 so there is a base body that is comparable (but properly riggeed/optimized) for creators to use as well that is also open to all creators to use so they can learn to create clothes on it etc.  

Ruth 2 comes fairly close. New users can get Ruth 2 at a new tutorial at New Resident Island. (Creators can get Ruth 2, as a Blender file, from Github.) Ruth 2 is mesh, and fits most mesh and  fitmesh clothing created for classic avatars. Plus it's Bakes On Mesh compatible.

This simplifies the problems of new users. If you just buy fitmesh clothes intended for classic avatars, it pretty much works. Plus Ruth 2 can wear texture clothes, so you can mix a mesh jacket with a texture T-shirt. The tutorial at NRI is set up that way, showing users how simple it is to use Ruth 2 if you stick to the easy cases. Dealing with non-fitmesh, other avatars, and related problems can be left for later.

Roth 2, the male version of Ruth, needs some work to be as useful with existing clothing. I've been saying more on that in another forum.

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44 minutes ago, animats said:

Ruth 2 comes fairly close. New users can get Ruth 2 at a new tutorial at New Resident Island. (Creators can get Ruth 2, as a Blender file, from Github.) Ruth 2 is mesh, and fits most mesh and  fitmesh clothing created for classic avatars. Plus it's Bakes On Mesh compatible.

This simplifies the problems of new users. If you just buy fitmesh clothes intended for classic avatars, it pretty much works. Plus Ruth 2 can wear texture clothes, so you can mix a mesh jacket with a texture T-shirt. The tutorial at NRI is set up that way, showing users how simple it is to use Ruth 2 if you stick to the easy cases. Dealing with non-fitmesh, other avatars, and related problems can be left for later.

Roth 2, the male version of Ruth, needs some work to be as useful with existing clothing. I've been saying more on that in another forum.

You know when you say you learn something new everyday - just reading through that post again I noted Ruth 2.   I had no idea (shame on me).     Thanks for the heads up and education, I am going to take a look!    Appreciate it :)

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On 10/14/2020 at 2:12 PM, Charlotte Bartlett said:

Firstly - Welcome to Second Life!   

I can't actually remember my first days here, but I do remember being actually afraid to use the forums because it seemed quite limited to a few loud voices who had very specific views.  14 years later I tend to now be able to navigate a little better.

I hope @Strawberry Linden sees your post as she has some great resources to help people get started so having this front and center for new users may help.   I would love to see Linden Lab across their channels push more content out  to new users and as you said make it easy to find to keeping it fresh and up to date.  I know Strawberry has done an amazing job in those areas already so hopefully more can connect to new users to help.

What kept me here for 14 years was finding a friend in my first few days, and she showed me the ropes (she was a few months older than me).   So hopefully you can connect in your travels.     I found searching for things I had interest in (e.g. architecture, design) brought me into contact with groups with like minded people.  I would join their groups to find out about events or things to go and see and meet people.  

The clothing bit - I just can't imagine how new users deal with the whole mesh body, heads, clothes stuff - it's become a seriously complex part of "user generated content".    Personally I have hoped for a long time that Linden Lab would simply release Avatar 2.0 so there is a base body that is comparable (but properly riggeed/optimized) for creators to use as well that is also open to all creators to use so they can learn to create clothes on it etc.    That's a whole other thread in itself, but I def would google Strawberry Singh (her name pre her Linden Lab days) blog and see if any of her posts help.        You are on the right track with the freebies etc as that's a great way to experiment until you decide to invest any money into a hobby.

Thank you for your advice!

One week later, the clothing bit is becoming easier to understand but I feel like I've done a lot of exploration on my own. It would be fantastic for Linden Lab to create their own mesh avatar similar to what's out there - I'm using a version of Ruth that I came across in a freebie shop I can't remember, as well as a free head from Genus. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the head/body colours match but I think it may be because it's not any of the bodies that the Genus head supports.

I was able to find resources through various blogs and had time for trial and error, but I know that not all users do. I was watching some videos from Carmen King on SL as she's trying it for the first time and I saw a good deal of comments talking about how they really liked how SL looked but could not figure for the life of them how to work the avatars, and then never came back. 

I wish that these resources were consolidated more within SL so that people do not have to feel as if they have to go see outside sources (even though they can be quite valuable). I found the Wiki a bit overwhelming because of all the information that's on there, especially in the first few days. Some of the user-created newbie guides were better at breaking things down. 

Edited by simplemint
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