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Viewer UI enhancements


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Hello everyone. Today we’ve released some improvements to the Viewer UI. Currently you will need a special project viewer to use it. Read on to find out what’s changed and why.

Making SL easier for newcomers to learn can improve the chances that they will become long-term Residents. Growing the Resident community benefits everyone -- more people to meet, more participation in events, and more commerce. The changes described below are the first batch of what we hope will be an ongoing series of usability improvements.

Avatar menus

With this release we introduce the Avatar top-level menu which brings together all avatar tools in one place. One of SL’s most important features is now more visible to newcomers. You’ll notice the avatar right-click menu has been streamlined as well.

Have you ever struggled to select an avatar attachment?  It’s inside your avatar, it’s transparent, or it’s a mesh attachment that you just can’t grab. You can now touch, edit or remove an attachment using right-click from all Avatar windows and Inventory.

Inventory

Next to the search box you will now see a button with an eye icon. You can omit links, Library items, and Trash items from search results, requiring less scrolling over matches you may not find relevant. Your choice is remembered for each tab. We started small, with just three options. Let us know what other choices you’d find useful.

We’ve all seen “Find original” failing to show the original item. Experienced Residents have learned to reset filters, clear the search string, and switch to the main inventory tab -- and then do “Find original” a second time. Now the Viewer will do all of that for you, ensuring that you’ll see the original item on the first try.

Places window

Taking advantage of what people already know from other products is a key way to reduce learning time. Creating a landmark in SL is just like bookmarking a web page, but it hasn’t behaved the same way. When you click the star, you’ll now see a confirmation that will be familiar to anyone who’s used a browser.

Previously, the Places window included landmarks from Inventory and Library. We removed these sections and made Favorites its own tab, removing the need for tabs within tabs. This reduces the clutter of landmarks you did not consciously create, and makes it clearer for newcomers. The Library landmarks were outdated. For landmarks received as part of purchases, we’ve observed that people look for them in Inventory rather than Places.

When you teleport to a different location, you will now see the name of the location inserted in the Nearby chat stream, making it easier when you scroll back to see where conversations took place.

 

We look forward to hearing from you regarding these changes.

Download the Viewer here. For more technical input, please file a Jira.

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I'm unsure what i should think about this. On paper this sounds like some good improvements.

There are still so many things all around in the UI that simply distract me from enjoying these improvements. The way they are implemented. As example slapping that half-hearted extra dropdown next to the already misaligned other search options in inventory kinda feels like an after thought than an actual improvement. Also, i think it would be better putting those extra filter options into the filter window and moving that filter window somehow into the inventory window to reduce the window-on-window-on-window-on-window thing that has been a big thing going on in the official Viewer for so long (*caugh* an extra window just to delete windlight presets). There are certainly better ways than just tossing in another dropdown.

Separating favorites and tossing out library seems like a logical improvement and long overdue, not much to see here.

The EEP window getting sliders for sun and moon rotation back is obviously an improvement although their labeling had me confused a bit (and i have access to the code and have seen it since i implemented my own sliders). Wouldn't North and East Angle (just like they were previously called) be better suited for this? With how much space you have you can easily put the technical terms in brackets. The personal lighting window is still in a bad state, missing pretty much absolutely everything water related and a couple other options.

The menu streamlining sounds like a good idea but from what i could see seems badly executed (once again), the menus were huge and needed a cleanup but now they feel empty and the menu entry labels feel like you are expecting your user to be retards. You are almost describing as a full sentence what each entry does. 

When i read UI Enhancements i was honestly a bit hyped. I got disappointed.

I feel like you are trying to simplify the UI but by doing so you are actually making it even more complicated. You add more and more unnecessary stuff which looks and feels tacked on and just clutters the UI even more. I'm not even sure who you are trying to win as permanent customers but those that are looking into SL and drop it soon after don't leave because some filter option is missing or favorites need an extra tab. These people leave because they are looking for something that you are not willing to give them. SL is ancient by now and when you start up SL you'll feel this immediately. It looks like it has been running for a long time and everything has just been tacked on. At some point you will have to ask yourself what you really want SL to be and where you want SL to go because right now SL is going nowhere, its staying exactly where it is and if you want to improve the UI, start by throwing it out in large patches and redo most from scratch, go through every window, look at industry standards, look into UI designs of other applications and similar games, see how they do it and adapt these designs to SL, put some effort and thought into it... the nobrainer changes have long been used up in SL, only the big ones are left now.

 

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As Molly said, it's a good start and I can't wait to see what else will be improved and perhaps simplified.

I am a Linux user and perhaps bringing back Linux support for the official LL viewer may help Linux users jump in quicker as well because as it is now, I can't even have a glance at the new stuffs.

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Posted (edited)

Can we throw in an accessibility improvement in addition to  usability ones? For me a big improvement would be to have additional color schemes.

I have vision issues that don't play nicely with a "dark" UI (gives me a headache after a while), so I use a third party viewer that lets me customize the colors to a 'friendlier' pale-green background.

Edited by Beatrix Washborne
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Posted (edited)

We don't need both Wear and Add.

I think "Wear" needs to finally go bye bye or remove Add and replace Wear's funcitonality with Add's.

Also, why was Drop and Inspect removed?

Are we slowly going to strip out all the lesser used UI features and not offer any way to use their functionality?

Is the LL viewer UI going to end up like Sansar's barren and boring viewer UI?

Edited by Lucia Nightfire
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2 hours ago, Lucia Nightfire said:

We don't need both Wear and Add.

a thought on this part

agree that the word Wear should be retired

in some places in the UI it stills says Wear and in other places it says Replace

when there is only 1 asset on the layer or attachment point then it makes sense to say Replace to do an actual replace (and not to say Wear)

when there is no asset then Add. When 1 or more assets then option Add and option Replace (the last asset added)

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33 minutes ago, SarahKB7 Koskinen said:

@Alexa Linden Reintroduce the Windlight style daylight time slider please. I and many others hate the lack of one in current EEP viewers, which cannot replicate the slider function as easily or quickly..

There has never been a "daylight time" slider in official LL viewer, not to mention that it never changed the time of day, but sun angle.

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6 hours ago, Lucia Nightfire said:

Why does landmarking a place put the landmark in the My Favorites folder instead of, idk, the Landmarks folder? 🤔

Remember the uproar some time ago when there was talk of "getting rid of landmarks" and some fanboyz of course embraced this and cheered the Lindens and others of us were wondering what was going to happen to a zillion notecards with landmarks inside of them and product boxes with landmarks inside of them and so on.

If you make a landmark now and it doesn't go into a "Landmarks" folder, that's terrible. People don't use bookmarks on browsers, that's obsolete. They type pages into Google search and pull them up that way or they just keep that tab open and it restores when they reboot. So why we need to replicate obsolete behaviour into SL is beyond me.

I hope this isn't as bad as it sounds. Not in a hurry to download it.

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Posted (edited)

@Ansariel Hiller There was a daylight time slider in the original LL v1x viewers.  Legacy viewers such as Singularity still contain it. 

Firestorm also contained it up until recently when they introduced the terrible EEP system, which is a clunky mess of windows, tabs and buttons that slows framerates and reduces ease of use too.

Cool VL viewers creator has said in these forums that he has both WL and EEP systems in his viewer and contains the daylight time slider.

Edited by SarahKB7 Koskinen
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I use landmarks.  I also use "Buy Pass" on land because it's lots of fun for messing with bots and other reasons.

At first glance I like the idea of newly created landmarks dropping into a specific folder instead of the huge pile that has accumulated in "Landmarks".    I can quickly find the new landmarks by poking the globe button.  Then I can move those I don't want in Favorites into Landmarks with a right-click context menu.  Not sure this in-box location being the precious Favorites folder is the best place for it though.

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48 minutes ago, SarahKB7 Koskinen said:

@Ansariel Hiller There was a daylight time slider in the original LL v1x viewers.  Legacy viewers such as Singularity still contain it. 

Firestorm also contained it up until recently when they introduced the terrible EEP system, which is a clunky mess of windows, tabs and buttons that slows framerates and reduces ease of use too.

As I said: It was never part of the official viewer - it was only TPVs that added it.

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10 hours ago, Beatrix Washborne said:

Can we throw in an accessibility improvement in addition to  usability ones? For me a big improvement would be to have additional color schemes.

I have vision issues that don't play nicely with a "dark" UI (gives me a headache after a while), so I use a third party viewer that lets me customize the colors to a 'friendlier' pale-green background.

I have never understood how "Dark mode" came to be so popular. Books, newspapers, printer paper, all black text on white background. Dark mode makes my eyes hurt. It leaves after image on my vision for hours. 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Alexa Linden said:

Avatar menus

Avatar menu and Me menu together is redundant and confusing - Which menu is which again ?

Right click avatar menu is 

hJbqent.png

VS what we did in Catznip

UA7V7tI.png

Quote

Inventory

Next to the search box you will now see a button with an eye icon. You can omit links, Library items, and Trash items from search results, requiring less scrolling over matches you may not find relevant. Your choice is remembered for each tab. We started small, with just three options. Let us know what other choices you’d find useful.

The list of possible filters is very large (Catznip's updated filter panel shown, expanded and collapsed with tabs - you can have this BTW)

6k9QN3Q.png

nsw3B9v.png

 

Our first impressions with the drop down selections is that it would be better served for presenting a list of user created custom filters (prefilled with a few simple common searches.)

Eye menu use cases conflict with the gear menu use cases.

Eye menu options persist between searches .. this can't be assumed ideal, forgetful users and hidden options bad.

Why would I need to search by UUID? Ever. 

 

Quote

Places window

Taking advantage of what people already know from other products is a key way to reduce learning time. Creating a landmark in SL is just like bookmarking a web page, but it hasn’t behaved the same way. When you click the star, you’ll now see a confirmation that will be familiar to anyone who’s used a browser.

Chrome

rBy5REx.png

New SL Viewer

I8b7d1y.png

Catznip

cc4C6rG.png

We shall add the location drop down.

Landmark button is duplication of toolbox button - If people didn't find or understand one ... Should all common UI toolbar buttons be migrated to the top bar?

Landmark filers and places filters UI inconsistency - All UI has to be learnt to some degree, making it consistent matters.

ctZ5TA0.png

Quote

Previously, the Places window included landmarks from Inventory and Library. We removed these sections and made Favorites its own tab, removing the need for tabs within tabs.

Rather than tabs in tabs, Catznip used an accordion to show favorites, landmarks folder and Inventory (which shows all landmarks in all inventory). 

Landmarks can easily be dragged from one list to another.

ZG0LENU.png

Searching filters all three at the same time

Zz5C9ry.png

Quote

When you teleport to a different location, you will now see the name of the location inserted in the Nearby chat stream, making it easier when you scroll back to see where conversations took place.

This is great.

 

*Note Catznip UI shown with Open Dyslexic font so it's clear which viewer UI shots are from, it's a little wider than normal so occasionally clips.

@Alexa Linden I wish you guys could use TPV's without us needing to volunteer specific feature items .. We have TONS of little changes like this you can just have.

The more of our code that ends up in your viewer, the less work we all have to do. 

 

Edited by Coffee Pancake
better image for favorites filter
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25 minutes ago, Coffee Pancake said:

@Alexa Linden I wish you guys could use TPV's without us needing to volunteer specific feature items .. We have TONS of little changes like this you can just have.

The more of our code that ends up in your viewer, the less work we all have to do. 

Hah!  Over the years this has been offered to Linden Lab by various TPV dev teams...The answer has always been in the past that LL wished to retain control over the way content is displayed in THEIR viewer.  To LL, it seemed, the cost saving to them simply did not feature.

Now, perhaps, with the recent emphasis on cost-cutting, LL might just be able to eat humble pie and accept the good work done on the client by TPV developers, since it would undoubtedly save them money!  What??  I can dream can't I?

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Posted (edited)

There's likely not many people who were around for this (or who remember, or who chose to be involved) but I wouldn't mind UI design documents opened up for resident comments again.

Back in 2008 there was a landmarks/navigation redesign which I remember seeing and being asked to comment on before viewer work started ( https://jira.secondlife.com/secure/attachment/18733/LLSL-LandmarksEnhancements-FinalIA-08-0626.pdf
note page 8 for the new landmarks floater and then https://jira.secondlife.com/secure/attachment/16995/SL_Viewer_Revised_Wireframes.pdf ).

While far too heavily browser inspired there were really good ideas there (a 'Received Landmarks' floater would have been nice and prevented the OP mention of searching for landmarks being useless since we're literally drowning in them from spam / share-happy friends) and I think the only landmark related thing we ended up getting was a 'My notes' textbox that never had any follow up use.

There have been some ambitious overhauls since then (CHUI comes to mind), but it often feels like very obvious things or existing use cases end up being completely overlooked which is why resident participation feels key and sharing documents like that helps prevent that before the code is committed and everything's set in stone.

(EEP being the latest example: environment assets are a good thing, parcel-level control is a good thing, multiple-height levels is a good thing, a 'Personal Lighting' floater is a good thing. But the UI end-result however is very much not - in addition to coupling it with a rendering update that changes how the world looks)

TLDR - I like that viewer UI is a focus point, but it would be even better if residents could get involved prior to being confronted with a 'done deal' where our feedback is largely pointless, because no one is going to hit the 'Undo' button and throw away months of work.

Edited by Kitty Barnett
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, SarahKB7 Koskinen said:

@Ansariel Hiller There was a daylight time slider in the original LL v1x viewers.  Legacy viewers such as Singularity still contain it. 

Firestorm also contained it up until recently when they introduced the terrible EEP system, which is a clunky mess of windows, tabs and buttons that slows framerates and reduces ease of use too.

Cool VL viewers creator has said in these forums that he has both WL and EEP systems in his viewer and contains the daylight time slider.

I hate to bring it to you and possibly end the world as we know it but i have to agree with Ansariel. Daylight time has never existed and was just a slider for the vertical rotation of the sun, the same that we do still have (and now is back in the official Viewer too), it has only been renamed and looks different due to EEP generally looking different. The "Time of day" slider was just a direct copy of the slider (and spinner with clock) found in Edit Sky, which in turn where just the "North" angle (vertical rotation/position) or in other words the up an down of the sun. East Angle is nothing but the horizontal (left/right) rotation/position and is also still there. Prior to EEP they were just... awkwardly separated which made them look like they weren't connected when both of them actually did the same thing except in different directions.

5 hours ago, Drake1 Nightfire said:

I have never understood how "Dark mode" came to be so popular. Books, newspapers, printer paper, all black text on white background. Dark mode makes my eyes hurt. It leaves after image on my vision for hours. 

It's easier on the eyes simply because it reduces the stark contrast found in classic light mode (black on white which often hurts a lot of people's eyes and can make you uncomfortable over extended periods of time), if i remember correct its also scientifically proven that black on white like we have in light mode is extremely eye straining especially if you sit in a darkened room, dark mode also makes it easier to wake up and use your computer right away without getting blinded.

In short: Dark mode reduces extreme contrast and blinding lights to minimize eyestrain that's usually perceived over extended periods of usage.

Edited by NiranV Dean
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23 hours ago, NiranV Dean said:

I hate to bring it to you and possibly end the world as we know it but i have to agree with Ansariel. Daylight time has never existed and was just a slider for the vertical rotation of the sun, the same that we do still have (and now is back in the official Viewer too), it has only been renamed and looks different due to EEP generally looking different. The ”Time of day” slider was just a direct copy of the slider (and spinner with clock) found in Edit Sky, which in turn where just the ”North” angle (vertical rotation/position) or in other words the up an down of the sun. East Angle is nothing but the horizontal (left/right) rotation/position and is also still there. Prior to EEP they were just... awkwardly separated which made them look like they weren't connected when both of them actually did the same thing except in different directions.

I hate to contradict you, but the day time sliders (you can find one in the Local environment Editor, and another in preferences for the time of day at login) in my viewer are indeed genuine ”time of day” ones, that use a ”track blender” (the new, complicated  way to set the time of day in EE settings), on settings with a day cycle (I'm not using any more the ”fixed sky settings” for the 4 fixed time of day presets, but instead WL-translated settings with a full day cycle); they do not drive the Sun azimuth or elevation directly.

Before affirming something about other viewers, do check in their code (see LLEnvironment::setFixedTimeOfDay() in mine) 😜

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As someone who works as a CSR for a major mesh head brand, parts of the new Avatar menu will be very useful, in particular the two Reset Skeleton options. However, I would like to request that 'Undeform Avatar' is also included in that section with the two Resets, as we sometimes see people whose avatar skeleton issues can only be fixed by undeforming.

As an aside, Coffee's example of the 'Fix Avatar' section in the Catznip viewer menu is fantastic. That's about as simple and yet inclusive as it gets.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/5/2021 at 8:57 PM, Henri Beauchamp said:

I hate to contradict you, but the day time sliders (you can find one in the Local environment Editor, and another in preferences for the time of day at login) in my viewer are indeed genuine ”time of day” ones, that use a ”track blender” (the new, complicated  way to set the time of day in EE settings), on settings with a day cycle (I'm not using any more the ”fixed sky settings” for the 4 fixed time of day presets, but instead WL-translated settings with a full day cycle); they do not drive the Sun azimuth or elevation directly.

Before affirming something about other viewers, do check in their code (see LLEnvironment::setFixedTimeOfDay() in mine) 😜

Oh guess i should make it clearer next time that i wasn't talking about TPV's when i said "we". I was referring to what i've experienced in the official LL Viewer back then (and later in other Viewers including my own but like i said i wouldn't count those).

But history seems to be a bit blurry there, i didn't use the time of day slider in the LL Viewer towards the end of Viewer 1 development (because i stopped using their Viewer for anything other than testing purposes), they might have made that an actual copy of the daycycle multislider later on. I've even used the daycycle editor for that one video i made back in Kirstens Viewer because the time of day slider was not good enough.. which was i think after V1's? According to my video its from 17th January 2010 and windlight was introduced end of 2007 or 2008 i think (i just remember it being around the end of a year and voice being packaged with it)? God my memories are swiss cheese.

And well Viewer 2 didn't even have a time of slider anymore.

-----

Anyway, i don't see much reason to keep the time of day slider unless you put it into a quick-menu like Firestorm's phototools since the "Environment Settings" window does not exist anymore either (why the hell was that even removed? just because we don't have local presets anymore?). While we are the topic of the Environment Settings, why was it even replaced with the fugly inventory view for settings, did you seriously not figure out how to put inventory presets (items) into a list to be selected? Heck even i managed to do that and i brought back local presets for the sake of it and don't tell me local presets were removed due to permission issues, you know you can exclude permission protected things such as the cloud/sun/moon texture UUID's right?

Why is Windlight such a tragedy of development? First we get only a crippled tiny piece of an otherwise really nice third party system, then it gets buried into more and more windows (looking at you delete-a-preset EXTRA WINDOW) then the windows get shat all over with more space between each widget to make sure we use as much screen space as possible and then Windlight gets chopped up and repackaged as EEP with even bigger windows and it required a huge uproar and lots of feedback to come up with rotation sliders for the sun and moon.

Seriously, get someone to work exclusively on the UI. Someone who's only job is to read through the feedback for the UI and make improvements to it, stop having everyone shoehorn something in. The UI is your Viewer's face and you keep punching it when it isn't locked up in the basement to rot. If the UI was my job you'd see me drag you to the chopping block if you dared to jumble something like the EEP windows together (given you'd even get that far before i find out and have you tied up with sliders and hung from the ceiling). Heck why don't you come to us and ask us for help, why do you insist on doing all of this behind our back until its too late, this isn't the first time you've been cooking up some changes behind our back, you've been doing this forever. You go through with something to the end and right before you release it you ask us what we think and then continue to ignore us anyway. The only time i've seen you actually directly put a stop to a release was EEP itself when it turned out to be a giant buggy smelly pile of poop and that apparently took me and and a giant 2 page rant to wake everyone up because until then everyone was apparently just circle jerking and patting each others backs how great EEP is. How is it that Whirly had to "plead" me, well knowing i'd go on a goddamn crusade, to look into EEP, how come that we only ever get to be involved when the fecal matter has been painting your entire room already.

I feel like in a cartoon with you, you are sitting there next to the fan about to drop that crap into the fan with an obvious questioning look and we shake our head, you move your hands closer to the fan signaling to do it any time now and we are making all kinds of gestures trying to stop you before you decide to drop it in anyway. Every single time. I'd say its starting to annoy me but we are long past that point. I'm surprised most TPV's even still kind of "put up with that", mostly probably because they can just do their own thing and leave you wading through your own crap. There will be a day most of us decide to leave you and that will most likely be the day SL is going to die a horrible self-inflicted death.

So.

Get.

Your.

Goddamn.

*****.

Together.

ASK US. WORK WITH US. Third Party Viewers (or modders in this case) are (just like with basically any goddamn game in this universe that supports modding) the sole reason SL is still living, stop trying to work around us! We all want the same. VRChat has made the stupid mistake of fighting their modding community and their face got slapped to the moon and back, don't make the same mistake.

Edited by NiranV Dean
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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2021 at 12:09 AM, Skell Dagger said:

I would like to request that 'Undeform Avatar' is also included in that section with the two Resets, as we sometimes see people whose avatar skeleton issues can only be fixed by undeforming.

i vote for this as well

instead of "Reset Skeleton and animations". It should say Undeform Avatar.  Which is the same thing

edit add: Skell is right. At the moment Reset Skeleton and animations seems to only apply locally (on the resident's computer).  Undeform Avatar would broadcast the reset to other residents in the view

Edited by Mollymews
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