July 22, 2010
I’ll take bad user experiences for 800
I’ll take bad user experiences for 800
“This set of user interface changes proves that Linden Lab is still totally incapable of understanding decent interface Design.”
“What is The Second Life Viewer 2.1?”
“That is correct.”
So, because I’m well, stubborn, I just downloaded the current official viewer 2.1 client to play with. I’ve blogged at length about what I think needs to be fixed in 2.0 I had hoped that one of the clear messages in that post was that the 2.0 approach of making people click more to do the same things is bad. I also hoped that “the sidebar is way overloaded and way too modal” message was pretty clear.
So, I hop into 2.1, and decide that I want to take off an attachment. My usual path to such (in both Emerald and 2.0) involves going to where the “worn” stuff is. (and in 1.23, I do the hack of searching on “(worn” in inventory to find same.) 2.1 makes you do one extra click to get to the currently worn stuff in the sidebar, as simply clicking on my appearance takes you to the shared “outfits/my appearance” view of the sidebar.
Once in your current outfit the right click choices have vanished. You can no longer detach an item or look at its properties or do anything useful. You can do one thing and one thing only. “edit outfit”
So, you click edit outfit, and two things happen. One you spin like you had clicked appearance. That’s annoying and not necessary if I’m changing my shoes. Really, it isn’t.
Much worse, you are dropped into a hellish nest of additional clicking. You now see clothing, attachments and body parts. Your nice little list of worn items is now hidden in tabs which have very little do with getting your avatar clothed, and everything to do with how the application is written. Typical SL shoes consist of a set of attachments and a foot shaper. Are they grouped? no, they are split. If your outfit has shoes, socks, and a foot shaper, three bits on three subtabs.
So, I go clicking off into this swamp. Fine, I have found it. Ugly as all sin, but the prim is off. So, lets see. How many clicks is this? I’ve lost track. During which time, I can’t look at friends, can’t look at landmarks, can’t look at profiles, can’t search, can’t um. interact with the world, because the interface is MODAL
The contrast to 1.23, or Emerald is staggering. In Emerald I go ctrl-i (or click inventory) select “worn” and right click and detach. My avatar doesn’t spin. I don’t get a maze of sub menus and I don’t lose access to 90% of the function of the user interface. In 1.23 i find my worn stuff by searching “(worn” which is one tick slower, but still infinitely better than this.
Nobody can tell me this is faster, easier or better for anyone, new or old. Making tasks more and more complex is just plain stupid. Adding clicks is stupid. Adding clicks and menus and tabs and making the nested modal swamp deeper is the opposite of delightful interface.
For added fun, click “add more” while you are editing your outfit. Go ahead. I dare you. You wanted a list of random things from your inventory in a sub frame using up 1/2 of the already blocking you from doing anything sidebar. I’m sure you did.
Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t actually hang your sidebar for a solid minute loading it. Oh. Actually. Um. yeah, It will.
Oh, you put stuff in folders? Well too bad what an idiot you were, we don’t show you folders. We don’t show you stuff in folders, we show you a list of random crap. You think I am kidding. I click “add more” and the fist thing in the list is an item naked, from a folder I setup in 2006. No context, just a freaking item ripped out of my inventory and shoved in a list. it shows about 200 or so random items, none of them recent, and none of them grouped by the folders from my inventory.
The “add more” path is beyond an insult to users. It’s an insult to the content creators who handed you stuff in nice folders with good names. It’s an insult to anyone who has spent the time to organize their items in a sensible way. It’s an insult to anyone who has used a computer and understands folders. It is beyond useless, it is actively hostile.
Let me be blunt. Let me make this simple. Until you fix the basics, don’t add new stuff in the same style. The modal nested, click 5 times to do anything style is totally broken. Fix that. Fix it now, and fix it fully. Fix it with help from your users because you’re proving with every code drop of this client that you don’t actually understand your product at all.
Cramming stuff into the sidebar and making people dive into deeper and deeper nooks and crannies of a fixed size, small font information hiding ugly hell is simply appalling. The “add more” button is beyond that. You want people to shop and buy stuff and you then give them a user interface that hides 90% of their inventory and ignores the folders that stuff is put in.
If 2.1 is the answer then the question would appear to be “How can we make the user experience even more appalling than it was in 2.0″