• 25Jan

    Here’s another random UI tip for you, this one discovered by McCabe Maxsted:

    Drag and drop an inventory item into the IM window to send it to the person you’re IMing with. You don’t need to open their profile window! (This doesn’t work for group IMs, though.)

    The next version of Imprudence will have a little reminder note in the IM window, but you can do this with any SL viewer right now!

    The more you know!

  • 24Jan

    You find out the darnedest things, looking through the viewer source code.

    For example, if you Ctrl-click on a slider bar in the SL viewer (or Imprudence), it will reset that slider to its default value.

    The more you know!

    P.S. This is what a slider bar looks like: Example of a slider bar widget

  • 31Aug

    I’ve been plotting and scheming and laboring for the past month on a new project. Those of you who have heard me hinting darkly of a grand manifesto and giggling maniacally in the dead of the night — now you’ll find out why.

    From the Imprudence Blog:

    Imprudence is (or rather, will be) a major fork of the open source Second Life Viewer. Our aim is to greatly improve the usability of the Viewer through community involvement, thoughtful design, modern development methods, and a pro-change atmosphere.

    Why are we doing this? Because we, the Second Life Residents, need a better Viewer, and Linden Lab isn’t getting it done — not fast enough, anyway.

    I’m sure they’re trying. They have made some modest improvement. But they are faced with intractable obstacles that block them from making real progress: a lack of resources, an overloaded QA process, and a large established user base who are, on the whole, sullenly content with the way things are — and tend to resist any change.

    Those are tough problems, and I don’t foresee Linden Lab being able to get past them any time soon. Rather than continue to push against these obstacles with little to show for it, I’ve decided to carve another path. A community project has its own obstacles, but they are obstacles that we can overcome. They are obstacles we can act against for ourselves, instead of sitting on our hands waiting for someone else to act for us.

    Go on and read the full post and our manifesto.

    I have high hopes for this project. It has been a long time coming, and there are a lot of people dissatisfied with the current viewer. If you’re one of them, get involved in the project and help us make it better!

  • 31Jul

    Wonder where the “Tools” menu went in Second Life viewer 1.20? Linden Lab decided, in the interest of reducing the number of menus presented to the user, to make it only visible when the “Build” window is open (Ctrl-3).

    This change was rather unpopular, and Linden Lab has, thankfully, decided to revert it in a future version. But in the meantime, we’re stuck with it — or we would be, except there’s a quick and easy work-around to disable it! All it takes is a text editor (Notepad, etc.); you don’t even have to compile anything. (If you’re really lazy, you can just download my file and put it in the right spot, as described below.)

    This trick is a simple one. Since SL looks for the Tools menu by name to find which menu to hide, all you have to do is change its name, and SL won’t find it, and it’ll stay visible all the time!

    The really easy way (download the replacement file):

    1. Download my pre-chewed XML file to “Second Life/skins/default/xui/en-us/”, replacing the existing one. On OS X, go to Applications, ctrl-click on “Second Life”, choose “Show Package Contents”, then put the file in “Contents/Resources/skins/default/xui/en-us/”.
    2. Restart SL, enjoy.

    The slightly less easy way (edit the file yourself):

    1. Open up “Second Life/skins/default/xui/en-us/menu_viewer.xml” in your text editor. On OS X, go to Applications, ctrl-click on “Second Life”, choose “Show Package Contents”, then open up “Contents/Resources/skins/default/xui/en-us/viewer-menu.xml” with TextEdit (or your favorite text editor).
    2. Search for: name="Tools" (it’s on line 590)
    3. Change name="Tools" to name="Toolz" or some other non-Tools word.
    4. Save the file, restart SL, enjoy.

    Voila, your Tools menu will now be visible all the time. Piece of cake.

  • 19Jul

    I had the honor of presenting my UI design concept at the User Experience office hours this past Thursday, and I must admit to being pleased with how it turned out. The presentation went off without a hitch (quite a feat in SL), it seemed well received by the audience, and I got some great feedback and ideas.

    If you missed the presentation, you can check out a great write-up by Kippie Friedkin, or plow your way through the transcript on the SL Wiki. If you’re following along with the transcript, you’ll want to have the mock-ups that I showed at hand for reference:

    1. Main UI Overlay
    2. Inventory Quick Filter
    3. Inventory Right-Click Menu

    Here are a some of the really interesting ideas (some new, others old favorites) that came out of the discussion:

    • Making the “Chat/IM” and “Voice” buttons separately resizable in the UI overlay.
    • Optional UI animation for the “Chat/IM” button (e.g. a little bounce) when you get a new message.
    • Functionality to find items by date range.
    • Functionality to find duplicate items, so you could remove them to reduce clutter.
    • Gmail-like labels for items, allowing items to belong to multiple “sets”. Related: symlinks for items, allowing you to put “clones”/”shortcuts” of items (especially no-copy items) into multiple folders/outfits.
    • Functionality to create custom tabs that show the contents of a folder: Right click folder, “Show as Tab”.
    • A “Custom” option on the Quick Filter menu, to pop up the window for more advanced filter management.

    By the way, if you like discussing and thinking about ways to make SL’s interface easier, more useful, or just generally better, you should subscribe and post to the Second Life User Experience (SL-UX) mailing list!

    It’s a little bit slow right now because it’s new and not many people are aware of it, but there have already been some very cool discussions about improving notifications, reorganizing the menus, annoyances in the building UI, and more. New topics and discussions welcome!

  • 12Jul
    Adventures, Interface, Projects Comments Off

    What: a presentation of my UI design contest entry.
    When: Thursday, July 17 at 3PM SLT (PDT)
    Where: Benjamin Linden’s office in SL

    Grant Linden has invited me to present my UI design at the SL User Experience Office Hour (SLUXOH) this Thursday at 3PM SLT. Not being one to turn down an invitation from a Linden to show off my goods to the world, I’ll be explaining the design rationale, answering questions from the audience, and waving a laser pointer around and making spaceship sounds with my mouth while we wait for my slide images to rez. I can guarantee it will be a hoot and/or holler. BYOF (bring your own feedback).

    By the way, if you’re into this sort of SLUXy stuff, I recommend subscribing to the SL-UX mailing list. There are a bunch of neat people who put forward interesting UI ideas and feedback at sporadic intervals… lots of good times to be had!

    P.S. Does this make my butt look FIC?

  • 30Jun

    I’ve submitted my entry to Dusan’s interface contest, so now I want to take the opportunity to open it up for discussion, feedback, and critique.

    Concept image for the overall user interface.

    My design proposes:

    • Reworking the bottom toolbar to be collapsible and customizable, and to feature chat, IM, voice, and friends list more prominently.
    • Reorganizing the main menus to be less intimidating and more logically-grouped.
    • Several enhancements to the Inventory floater:
      • “Favorites” and “Worn” item tabs.
      • Quick filter selection box to easily filter items by type.
      • Various enhancements to the right click menu.

    The design document is available online, with purty pictures for your enjoyment.

    Feedback and critique about the design are welcome!

  • 07Feb

    Tired of *click-whirrrr*-ing your way through Second Life?


    Help is here! Vote for VWR-2448 TO-DAY!

    This message brought to you by the Ad Council for the Egregious Use of Bolding.


  • 29Dec

    Step 1. Issue a security notice on the blog, with a fixed installer. An example is provided below:

    Dear German Second Life Users,

    There is a security issues in the German language login screen which could result in your precious login name and password being sent to a third party, namely the operators of the sdfsfsfds.com domain name.

    And no, we didn’t catch this until Massively.com reported on it. Yes, that means it’s been out there for over a week now.

    Yeah, we screwed up bad with this one. The programmer responsible for this gaff, and the entire QA department, have been hit on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper and will receive no Scooby snacks this week.

    If you use the German language user interface in Second Life, please download the fixed version [insert link to new installers here].

    Non-German language users are not affected, and may continue using Second Life without worry of any bugs or security problems as normal.

    How not to handle it: pull the Release Candidate and Windlight Firstlook versions, stop logins from those versions, and make everyone cry. Now we know you goofed the German login and panicked when someone found out.

    By the way, SL users, if you have a version of the previous Windlight ( lying around, you can log in with that instead. At least as of this writing.

  • 01Dec

    This should help anyone who wants to make images to be displayed in the SL (classifieds, picks, etc.) and not have them be horribly stretched or squashed by Linden Lab’s inconsistent use of image aspect ratios. I don’t bother to cover aspect ratios for textures to be used on prims, as the proper aspect ratio in that case depends entirely on the prim’s dimensions.

    If you’re making an image for…

    • a classifieds listing … use 10:7.
    • a parcel snapshot … use 10:7.
      (But know that it will be stretched horizontally in people’s picks.)
    • your own pick … use 16:9.
    • a 2nd life profile … use 4:3.
    • a 1st life profile … use 1:1.
    • a group insignia … use 1:1.
    • an invitation or ‘view me’ image … use powers of 2.
      E.g. 64, 128, 256, or 512 pixels wide/high.

    List of Aspect Ratios & Notable Places They Appear

    • 16:9 (1.78:1) — Profile (Picks)
    • 3:2 (1.5:1) — About Land (Options / Snapshot)
    • 10:7 (1.43:1) — Search (Classifieds, Popular Places, Land Sales, and Places), About Landmark
    • 4:3 (1.33:1) — Profile (2nd Life)
    • 1:1 (1:1) — Group Insignia, Profile (1st Life)

    Corrections? Questions? Tips? Leave a comment!

    Update, Dec 6:

    • Torley pointed out that Profile Picks are 16:9 (1.78:1), rather than 7:4 (1.75:1) as I had previously thought.
    • Lex Neva pointed out that 40:28 is equivalent to 10:7.
    • I’ve also corrected About Landmark, which displays at 40:28 (1.43:1), rather than 4:3 (1.33:1). Accordingly, I’ve changed my recommendation for parcel snapshots to 40:28 instead of 4:3, as it does not seem to be displayed anywhere at true 4:3.

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