How to Improve Second Life New User Retention

Reader Recommendations

SL user experience first time

Whoever Linden Lab hires to fix its first-time user experience, they may want to take a look at what New World Notes readers recommend:

Optimize the first-time orientation for low-end computers. Ideally it should look halfway decent on even a PC/Mac laptop with no 3D card. More from Yves Firlan:

Update the default settings so any system they might have runs halfway stable with decent graphics after installing the viewer for the first time (like: did they ever change the default setting for bandwidth from 500 to 950/1000 which is one of the main reasons things rez frustratingly slow for Newbies?)

Immediately connect new users with affinity groups:

I don’t think there is a single new user experience in the history of Second Life’s carrier that prompts you to join groups you may be interested in. Such a no brainer for social. — Adeon Writer

[I]t’s astounding Linden Lab never figured that one out. To take it further, groups need to be improved. (Or maybe we need a feature separate from groups that can act more as a social hub, as current groups are tied to land ownership and other features that limit how many groups we can have, cause group chat issues, etc.) — Penny

Yes, exactly. I’d go so far as to say new users should be able to choose groups on the webpage sign-up.

A couple more important recommendations:

Update the default avatar:

Refusing to update the default body, instead pushing us to user-created mesh bodies, fractured the entire avatar creation aspect of SL. Now you need to choose a mesh body, which costs money, and to make an informed decision you need to understand the THREE different types of rigged mesh (rigged, fitted, and Bento), understand that clothing is made for specific bodies, and have a grasp of what kind of clothing support each body has. How is a newbie supposed to figure all that out on their own? – Penny

That’s good advice but not sure how feasible it is, since so much of the SL economy depends on mesh bodies.

Speaking of which, here’s a radical ideas —

Pay established SLers to onboard new users:

The way SL is designed it will never be easy to use, one can only make it easier for newcomers to stay by assigning them a Mentor who should get some type of remuneration from Linden Lab depending on how long they can make their Mentees stay and come back into SL. – Yves

Second Life’s many complexities are so difficult to fix, it might make more sense to literally pay veteran Second Life users a “bounty” to onboard new users, spending the 3-5 hours necessary to get them over the first-time user experience barrier. 

I’m not sure how feasible this suggestion is either, but look at it this way:

If Linden Lab paid, say, $10 in Linden Dollars for each successfully on boarded, retained new user — i.e. someone who logs into SL 3 months after creating their account — it would cost the company $1 million to grow its user base an extra 100,000; to add 1 million new users, just $10 million. And maybe that would be the most cost-effective way to grow the user base? 

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