Dazzling you senseless

So it is finally out of the closet (err, I mean dark recesses of LL development. Anybody noticed how much of that stuff actually surfaces since Cory is no longer CTO ?) : Dazzle is here to improve your interface!.

Quoting the official Linden blog :

Seemingly small changes make a big difference. A simple psychological exercise: think about eating a steak in a prison cell with harsh fluorescent lights. Then, think about eating that very same steak in a posh restaurant by candlelight. Which experience would you prefer? And which would you regard as the higher quality?

In a similar way, even if actual inworld content looks the same (like the steak), if the environment you use to experience it — the user interface — looks awful, you’re likely going to feel uncomfortable and annoyed, even if you can’t describe exactly why.

I’m not going to comment on how the Lindens try to spin the fact that their take on the much needed interface rework amounts to a pretty modest skinning effort. But the two screen shots LL are publishing here did start a furious, megalomaniac itch to tell them to look at my interface rant.

Then I thought : They must be kidding, right ?

Until I read the User Interface Roadmap.


11 thoughts on “Dazzling you senseless

  1. Awwww but its shiny! (and actually it’s been out for a while :P)


    To be honest, the Interface roadmap is a good thing, but all LL interface designers should be fire on the spot for putting the ‘RELEASE KEYS’ button (Why the hell is that so prominently in the interface anyhow – does anyone ever use it?) on the same spot the ‘NEW IM’ button is, and the two actually seem to switch places randomly every now and again – unless thats just LL’s ways of profiving us with a fun little minigame in SL.

    I’ve been scetching with our Interaction Department, but its still completely undoable to create a new skin or any interface improvements with the ‘4 version updates and hour’ policy, each one overwriting the interface folder per default unless you are ESC and made a good deal with LL.

  2. I actually rather like it (and used it for a while tacked on to an old WindLight release). While I wouldn’t call it anything like the sort of improvement they’ve been spinning it to be, I feel iit is a significant improvement in general aesthetics (and looks much less intimidating).

  3. Well, I haven’t been test driving the thing, but the screen shots look rather garish. Matters of taste aside, I simply think releasing this misses the point when it comes to solving SL Y-K-W interface problems entirely.

    As an aside, I have been aware of Dazzle for some time (in fact, I pointed at it specifically when I said repainting the tool shed won’t help with the clutter). I had some hopes that, seeing how much time it had already spent deep down in the underbelly of LL, it would not be published without some much needed deeper interface revamp. No chance : LL has obviously decided interface bling (@walblog : shinyyyyyyyyyyyyyy indeed) will distract people from the underlying problems — the only rationale to the « the brighter, the better » aesthetics of Dazzle I can think of. To stay with my old simile, they haven’t just repainted the tool shed, they have spray painted it in fluorescent colours 🙂

    Not to flaunt my newly acquired Mac fandom, but there is a reason why OS X’ newest incarnation is battleship grey all over and buttons are sparse, small and mostly monochrome in the included apps — it’s called « give content pride of place ». Dazzle goes exactly the other way, and as such won’t do anything to cure SL Y-K-W interface woes, as far as I’m a judge of these thing. Which is probably not very far, all things considered 😛

  4. it’s ugly as sin… granted it was always ugly… like an alligator… dazzle ups the ante to alligator in a pink pinafore (and looks about as crepy to me).

    the solution to bad interface design, coutesy moi:
    take a handfull of new users…. log them in, and begin telling them what they can do, but NOT how. then ask some to figure it out, and ask some others where / how they would think they would do that…. pay special attention to things that take more than a second for a user to figure out, and any way to do something more than 2 users mention… I’d bet that’d cure alot of ills. (I’m jaded and know where most things are, but the layout and grouping has always been atrocious)

  5. An alligator in a pink pinafore — now that is a picture I won’t get out of mind anytime soon 🙂

    Yes, the interface is in bad need of a real overhaul. I’m no fan of the let novice users decide approach, though ; an interface to a tool as complex as Second Life has to accommodate both new and seasoned users. Kinda like my Mac 😛

  6. “Well, I haven’t been test driving the thing, but the screen shots look rather garish. Matters of taste aside, I simply think releasing this misses the point when it comes to solving SL Y-K-W interface problems entirely.”

    Rheta – “Party foul”. You have to try it first, then swing that hammer you wield so admirably. (Cue pleading music here) Please test it out and repost your findings.

    I would but I am not going to ruin my perfectly good mood today. 😉

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