It’s about the user experience!
I will start with a quick introduction of myself, as I’ve not yet posted to the blog until now. I am Randy Sisk, another one of those Technolgy Center folks working in networked virtual environments. Most of my efforts are centered on Cisco’s use of Second Life as a platform and environment for engaging with our customers, partners and other interested parties. As a result of this, a good deal of my time is spent in Second Life and facilitating Cisco groups and employees in accessing and utilizing SL. Having looked at and used several virtual worlds, I’ve noticed that acceptance and adoption are in part a function of how easy it is to get the tool running and then to be able to utilize basic features. Now, by training I am very technical, however I am also somewhat”right brained”, so rich graphical interfaces are very appealing to me. In the case of virtual worlds, the wider the flexibility (good 3D graphics, physics simulation, external interfaces), the more challenging the learning curve is for new users, and the more complicated the user interface is. Human nature is to select tools that provide a good deal of utility while minimizing the”investment cost” of learning to use the tool. This is especially so in an enterprise environment where there is a high opportunity cost for an employee’s time. Where I’m going with this is that users will tend to adopt a tool with an easy to learn and use interface, but those tools that do so and provide a rich interface (graphical and integration with other applications and media types) will be differentiated in the marketplace. One of the technologies (is UI design a technology?) that will help move this market forward will be the design and integration of technologies and tools that make virtual worlds easy to use. I will be digging a bit deeper on this topic in future posts, so stay tuned!