The Open Beta test period is less than a week old but we've gotten some great feedback! Keep it coming :) Many questions focused on what's new so this blog post answers some frequently asked questions from OpenSimulator users.
1) The ability to hear voice equally from all positions was established as a default. This was not available in the Alchemy codebase from which SceneGate was forked. The feature helps users who may have hearing, cognitive, or mobility issues communicate in voice immediately. Without this capability, users only had the option to hear from avatar position or camera position creating a hostile environment for people with disabilities - also known as digital marginalization. While this is equally important for new users in simplified mode, it exists for users in extended mode as well. This is only available for OpenSimulator virtual worlds.
2) The default user interface skin for SceneGate provides users the ability to customize the color and contrast with far greater choices than other skins to meet their needs immediately. The improvement provides greater accessibility by design to specifically improve the user experience for those with visual or cognitive issues. This user interface skin is the default for both simplified and extended modes.
1) To reduce cognitive overload caused by too many menu items and buttons on a new user's screen, a simplified mode was developed and made the default mode. In this mode, a limited number of user menu options are available which also reduces onboarding time.
2) Toolbar button defaults presented to new users are also limited to only those needed to learn to use virtual worlds. This effectively applies a bulldozer to the steep learning curve further reducing onboarding time.
3) When new users are ready to learn more, they do not need to download and learn how to use another viewer user interface. Extended mode is available in preferences with a few clicks. In this mode, the user is presented with more user interface menu items and toolbar buttons. Their user experience is "extended" rather than changed.
4) The default avatar camera settings were adjusted to provide a more natural, contemporary or modern sense of virtual presence in third person view. This change improves ease of navigation inside virtual structures and applies to all modes. Advanced users are able to change their camera settings temporarily or permanently.
1) Dynamic texture loading times were greatly reduced to enhance the user experience. This is unique to OpenSimulator virtual worlds and independent of mode.
2) Improved graphics handling to address an issue unique to Windows 10 1903 update and later. Prior to this improvement, the graphics would crash on quit. This is independent of mode.
1) Grid Manager error checking was added to prevent a user adding a grid that is not available or that has a typo in the entry. Users also get immediate feedback when this occurs. This provides the ability to easily manage their own grid list or load the short default grid list when needed. The usability mantra is "Don't Make Me Think". This is available in both modes.
2) Default toolbar button locations were grouped by function categories based on human computer interaction design review. For simplified mode, the left side button group presents two tools associated with the user's account. The right side button group presents two tools associated with places the avatar can go and how to get there. The center bottom button group presents the commonly used buttons to communicate, navigate, and find people.