Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 #VWEDU: Scenegate improvements: onboarding, accessibility, performance, usability

Scenegate improvements: 
onboarding, accessibility, 
performance, usability
Updated 1/25/2020

Scenegate is a new viewer for OpenSimulator grids, directed at the needs of newcomers and particularly newcomers entering to take classes or to attend meetings. It offers a simplified screen with few options--just those needed for classes and meetings. This article is explicitly licensed Public Domain (CC0).
Meeting at IMA Alpha


  • Onboarding
  • Accessibility
  • Performance
  • Usability


Accessibility Improvements


The ability to hear voice equally from all listeners and voice on (mic off) are default settings. This helps users who may have hearing, cognitive, or mobility issues communicate in voice immediately.  


The default user interface skin for SceneGate provides users the ability to customize (in preferences) the color and contrast with more choices than other skins to meet their needs immediately. This improvement provides greater accessibility specifically to improve the user experience for those with visual or cognitive issues. 

Onboarding Improvements

Cognitive overload

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. Other modes are available when the user is ready to learn about the added tools

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.

Voice on entry

Voice is on (mic off) by default.  Other users can give instructions to new people in voice.

Performance Improvements:

Dynamic texture loading times were greatly reduced to enhance the user experience. This issue is unique to OpenSimulator virtual worlds and independent of mode.
Improved graphics handling addresses a crash-on-quit issue unique to Windows 10 1903 update and later. .

Usability Improvements:

Grid Manager error checking was added to prevent a user from adding a grid that is not available or does not exist. Users also get immediate feedback when this occurs. This makes it easier for users to 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.

Default toolbar button locations were grouped by function categories based on human computer interface 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. Extended mode maintains the grouping but presents more toolbar buttons in each group. Users with specific disability needs or preferences can still customize the toolbar button locations if needed.



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