I'm probably going to make a series of posts on this topic since I think the direction Linden Lab has taken with Viewer 2 is ultimately doomed to some sort of whimpering failure. Thus, the Part 1 label. Will there be a Part 2? Who knows. Just have to see if I'm motivated or burned out.
Unfortunately, I think commenting on all the things that are wrong about this Viewer will probably be futile. As with so many things the Lab is doing these days, they appear to be disconnected with how people actually use and interact with Second Life. Yes I appreciate that this is the result of a lot of hard work. But sadly, I think it was work done in a vacuum and not really immersively in-world.
So if I can put this in a nutshell, there were two goals behind this viewer. One was to add features and functionality that residents have long demanded and that Linden Lab feels are necessary to maintaining the long term growth of SL. The other was to make it easier for people to start in Second Life and stay in Second Life.
I love features like virtual outfits, tattoo layer for alphas, html on a prim and things that add functionality to SL. What I find amazingly short-sighted are the design elements in the viewer that totally fly against the way ANYONE, new or old, uses software.
Let's see....what's on the menu bar of most browsers? File / Edit / View / History / Tools. Hmmm. And what does SL Viewer 2 have? Me / Communicate / World / Build / Help. Me?? Huh?
Second Life is supposed to be immersive. A way of taking your RL self into a virtual world. Instead, what you've given us is a window into a world that's covered with decals, magnets, sticky notes, doo-dads and general crap. How am I supposed to feel like I'm wearing a $4000 ballroom gown with diamonds and pearls when what I'm actually seeing looks more like the front of my refrigerator. How am I going to enjoy that gorgeous Windlight sunset with a sweetie? Slide the sidebar in, the whole screen jumps. Slide it back out, it jumps back. Ick.
Simple things that used to take 2 - 3 clicks now take 7 or 8. Media controls are awful. IMs and group chat are so painful to use that it almost seems by design. As in "let's screw it up so no one will use it and we won't have to fix what's wrong on the server." I remember back when LL first changed the chat stuff to "Contacts" and Nicholaz (who made all those great viewers that fixed LL bugs) first response was an XML that changed it back and made them usable tear-offs.
Finally, when all is said and done, I can't believe this is really going to be easier for a newbie to learn or even more so, get them to stay. It feels so cluttered and scattered. Even Facebook with all its stupid plug-in games and toys never looks this nasty.
I'm not in the "hate it" category as so many are, but I'm sure squarely in the "don't like". I sincerely hope the Lab allows the Emerald folks to carry on what they're doing but still incorporate the Viewer 2 features because I'm sure they can do better.