re: Second Life Is Hard To Use -- Is That A Bug Or A Feature?
I really disagree with the main conclusions of this post. Here it is almost 7 years later and... SL is STILL really, really hard to use and to learn. That's just freakin' ridiculous on its face. But when the author says "But Second Life shouldn't be too easy to use, and it shouldn't be too easy to find things.", ummm... no. So that's how we should think of software usability (even a game)? Make excuses for the fact that the designers and implementors of it seemed to make it almost impossible to learn on purpose? I think not. And "And that's why Second Life shouldn't be too easy. Because if it were, it would cut down on the fun of figuring it all out, learning from other, more experienced players, and sharing what you know when you get more experienced. " ummm... no. In the year 2013 we should be past making excuses for crappy software that doesn't have an ounce of usability thought put into it, or on top of that, their seeming unwillingness to take the time to make clear, understandable instructions available for all the glorious capabilities they infuse into their fantastical software in their mystical white robes (would it kill them to take a few freakin' minutes to produce detailed, step-by-step videos on YouTube, for pete's sake? (And don't even talk to me about the quantity, quality, and up-to-dateness of the videos about SL that ARE out there on YouTube - they're pathetic.).) That's been a peeve of mine for a long time when it comes to software - understand that I've been writing code since 1974 and have been a fulltime, professional software engineer for over 30 years now. It is painfully apparent to me that Second Life is a bunch of crap hacked together by scriptkiddies over the last 15 years who couldn't write reliable, user-friendly software if their lives depended on it. (Even though, as previously mentioned, IF ONLY **SOMEONE** AT LINDEN LABS WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO MAKE ACCURATE, UP-TO-DATE, STEP-BY-STEP, EASY TO UNDERSTAND VIDEO TUTORIALS OF ALL THE MOST COMMON FUNCTIONALITY, THEN IT WOULD BE ONE **THOUSAND** PERCENT EASIER, LESS FRUSTRATING, AND MORE ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE.) Now... here's the punch line: I have been using SL for over 10 years, am using it today and having a lot of fun in it, DESPITE all of the previous comments. How do ya like them apples? Only, over that 10 years, I've gotten so frustrated with SL about 50 freakin' times that I've wanted to throw my PC through the window and STOP using it, until I wait a few weeks for my blood pressure to go down and then I return to it. So why do I keep using it? Simply because there's no better VR alternative. THAT'S IT. But NOT because I adopt the "oh, it's hard so that's a badge of honor" and "it being so hard to learn is part of the fun of it" b.s. To adopt that attitude, is, in my opinion, simply letting the creators of the software off the hook for (1) making it inherently hard in the first place, and (2) their unwillingness to take the time to make easy to understand "how to" tutorials. Now (1) may be water under the bridge (and actually, I will, from the standpoint of a software engineer, actually confirm that it IS water under the bridge, because the likely millions of lines of code of the product at this point and its complexity does indeed make it IMPOSSIBLE to change that factor). But (2)? Come on people. How hard is it to make good tutorials? NOT. THAT. FREAKIN. HARD. As I've learned each and every thing over the years that I know how to do in SL now, I've considered taking on that challenge myself for a few of the most common things, only... THAT SHOULD BE LL'S FREAKIN' JOB, AT LEAST IF THEY ACTUALLY DO WANT A LOT OF PEOPLE TO USE THEIR FREAKIN' SOFTWARE INSTEAD OF IT GOING OUT OF EXISTENCE. Plus it's pretty darn frustrating introducing friends to SL and spending that first few hours with them showing them how inane and difficult it is to do certain things, and having at least 50% of them give up even WITH an experienced person walking them through it (if I had a nickel...) Well, that's the end of my rant. The bottom line is that it simply is not acceptable to just "take" stuff like this (how hard it is to use/learn SL) and excuse it (Stockholm Syndrome, anyone?). Rather, makers of software, ANY software, should be held accountable for its crappiness. And after all, isn't holding them accountable for it the only way for it to get better (at least a little bit, over time, plus dragging good learning materials out of them)?