The New Welcome Islands
Linden Lab are currently working on the new user experience for Second Life at the moment which will be rolled out in the months ahead. All new residents joining Second Life today still go through the Learning Islands followed by the Social Islands. Soon new residents will most likely be sent though the new revamped Welcome Islands.
The new Welcome islands came online on 27th June 2021. I would imagine the lab will add a big cluster of these Welcome Islands at some point in the near future near the social/learning islands.
At first glance there new Welcome Islands main areas seem half the size of the current Learning Islands/Social Islands. I suppose the good thing is that the tutorials/orientation there will be pretty new and updated. At the moment there appears to be three Welcome Islands (Welcome Island, Welcome Island Build and Welcome Island QA). The Welcome Back Island region is linked with the Welcome Islands. These are closed to the public as the lab are testing them currently.
The New Welcome Island Guidebook
The new Welcome Island Guidebook is available to view by using the default Second Life official viewer (184.108.40.2060520) which is apart of Viewer UI Project now. The new Welcome Island Guidebook covers the basics from how to move your avatar & camera, how to use nearby chat, IM and voice, interacting with objects, changing your avatar, avatar attachments and finding places to go. There is the ability to click next or back when going through the guidebook sections. There is a small toggle in the top right which brings up the Guidebook Menu to skip whole sections. There is a clickable image to return to Welcome Island which is not working yet.
The new Welcome Island Guidebook has alot of useful pages to click through with updated screenshots of the UI and the basics. The lab have not released any ETA for when the new welcome islands will open to new users.
New User Experience In 2021
My New User Experience Back In 2006
I remember when I signed up to Teen Second Life back on 31st October 2006 when I was 16 years old and I had to go through TG orientation island. After that I was teleported straight to the welcome area (Lewis) where I started my virtual adventures. There was actually a few Teen Help Islands back then but they were never really used/disabled access.
The starting point back then was through Orientation Island 5 and the Orientation Island TG was used as a overflow region. The TSL Volunteer Island was used for a few years for the TG mentor program but then the program was closed down. I know many started on Orientation Island followed by Help Islands then after that landing on various welcome areas across the main grid. Tutorial Island is still open which is a copy version of the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives.
The New User Experience Today
I know many started on Orientation Island followed by Help Islands then after that landing on various welcome areas across the main grid. Today there are just two existing Help Island Public regions which are open to everyone to revisit if they wish. Orientation Island Public is still open today which is near a welcome area called Waterhead.
Over the years the lab have rolled out many different new user experience regions from Help islands, Greeter islands, Discovery islands, Learning/Social islands and now with the new Welcome Islands launching very soon. Some methods have worked during the past 18 years and some have not worked well.
I think having a Welcome island is definitely a good thing for new residents joining Second Life and I hope at some point the lab will bring back the mentor program revamped.
I will post more soon about the new user experience when further developments take place.