Over the course of next week, we will be testing a new design for the secondlife.com home page. The page really showcases the richness and breadth of the wonderful creativity and possibility of Second Life and is a small first step towards a larger redesign of the Second Life experience.
This homepage project is an example of the kinds of projects (small in scope, new user friendly, utilizing outside design resources from Big Spaceship) which we will be doing more of in the future to bring more Residents into Second Life.
The design is optimized for the new user coming to secondlife.com for the first time and not logged in. The logged in homepage (which is what most Residents, as opposed to potential Residents see) will not be changing.
Here are the goals for the design:
- Express the richness and breadth of Second Life
- Allow us to address a wide range of potential Residents
- Set context for what a potential Resident might do in Second Life
The team produced a gorgeous design that uses Flash. In order to test the new design, we’ll be pushing this new page live for a few hours next week, so we can evaluate the impact to traffic. Since Residents that log in get cookied (and directed to the “logged in” home page), the impact to Residents as we run our test should be limited.
You might see it as we run our tests. But we don’t want to skew the results of the test, and we won’t be pushing it out to a broader audience until we have data.
Pods and Verbs
The core of the design is a nine-pod layout and a carousel of pods that can be “flicked” from left to right to reveal additional pods. This allows a potential Resident to see a wide range of experiences available to them.
Each pod has a beautiful visual from inworld or text that serves as a small billboard. It’s exciting to be able to show the amazing creativity and beautiful avatars Residents have created.
Some of the pods include “verbs” – the things you can do in Second Life – like shop, build, play, flirt, learn. Verb pods expand to play a short animated Flash clip that shows the Second Life experience in motion.
Flash is great for these kinds of interactive and animated experiences and will help us to provide great windows into the world of Second Life. But we recognize there is a tradeoff between accessibility and the richness of the experience, so we will have an alternate page with static graphics.
The rest of secondlife.com has not been refreshed, so we expect elements of this look to make its way into the rest of the registration flow and elsewhere on the site.
In addition to the homepage, we’ve been working to improve the registration experience for the new user. In the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing localized registration for all new users, including the option for new sign-ups to select a first landing location in their language- thanks to the Community Gateway Program.
We plan to continue improvements to increase the numbers of new Residents, so stay tuned.
Let us know your feedback!
We would love to hear your feedback, get suggestions for pods and verbs, and hear your suggestions. Let us know in the forum. We won’t be able to get to it until tomorrow morning (Dec. 16th, pacific time) so please be patient. We look forward to reading and responding to your comments then.
Note: Revised to add screenshot of the new home page design being tested. You can see a larger version of the image here.