Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CS 820 Spring 2009 - Classes 1 and 2

Greetings to our CS 820 Usability and Interaction class. Paul Thor and I are delighted to share this class with you.

We have met twice using Adobe Acrobat Connect (Breeze) and Second Life in April 2009. Our second SL class session was smooth as we moved from our Breeze discussion to building skills in Second Life.

Our first class focused on these Second Life skills:

During our tour, we visited a coffee shop, the solar system, a Japanese tea room and we returned to the ground to remove and rebuild the castle in about 15 seconds or less. The tour device kept removing content too fast for comfort. *blinks and grins* I need to reset the scripts before we use it again.

During our second class, we used the Build button in the bottom center of the display to learn how to rez or create a primitive shape (called a prim), name our box, set the permissions for it, create a simple script, color it and take it into the inventory. We also noted how content that is returned to us is returned to the Lost and Found folder in the Inventory.

Our class building activities included:
  • create a box
  • name it using the General tab
  • set the permissions to copy/mod/transfer
  • used the Contents tab to create a New Script
  • used the Texture Tab and color white icon to color the box
  • copied our box using the shift key and one of the green, red or blue arrows
  • used the shift key to left click both boxes
  • used control L to link both boxes into a single object

Once we were finished editing the box, we clicked it and noted that it stated in the local chat log that the box was touched. This feature is handy for collecting automated measurements during usability tests.

With this script, we can collect a log that lists the interaction objects that are touched. In the preferences menu (ctrl P), and the Communicate tab, you can display the time in the chat log and store it for later use.

We also tested a student project from a past class. Students received a copy of the procedure for the test plan by touching a box that gave them a notecard with the test cases and instructions on it.

Notecards are Second Life content files that allow us to add text, and drag objects, images, landmarks and other content from the Inventory to the card for easy distribution.

As time progresses, we will examine different types of interfaces, how to texture your creations, how to prototype your class project and conduct usability tests with our class. In addition, you will receive freebie folders of content, including vehicles, tools, a touring HUD, a notecard with landmarks for visiting other sites, more texture folders, scripts, sounds and access to an online tool that writes scripts for you.

See you at the residency and online! *cheers*

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