You start by picking an avatar. I chose one that looked sort of like a biker chick. Then you download and install the viewer. That didn't go too well. First try gave me a download error. Had to retry 2x to get the damn thing to finally install. (Yes I had cleaned off remnants of previous SL viewers including doing a registry purge.)
OK finally a successful install. First thing that happens? I can't log in. It didn't accept my password (very carefully typed) or user name or something. Tried again. No luck. Waited a few minutes, tried again and success!! I guess the login to the world wasn't exactly synced to the website account creation.
Now what? I get dumped into the middle of a big circle with glowing things all around me (Destination Island 8 to be specific). Huh? No explanation as to what to do next. No tutorial. No nothing. I remember the old login where you had to accomplish a few simple things like find a sword, attach it, walk here, fly there, interact with x and y and z. There's absolutely NONE of that!
Oh and did I mention? I showed up as Girl Next Door, not biker chick. Not good.
So what do I see after looking carefully at my viewer window? A little button called "How To". Ohhhhhkkkkayyyyy. I'll try that. The walk explanation is fine. Chat I think I can get that. Private chat (IM) slightly murky but still ok. Change your Profile? WTF? Doesn't even tell you what a profile is! Change your view. Click and drag on the world? Huh? "For more control, click on the View button at the bottom of the screen." WHUT? There is NO "View" button at the bottom of the screen. There's a Camera Controls and a Walk/run/fly but there's no "View" button. Oy.
Next up is "Find places to go". This is all before I even know why I would want to go anywhere. And STILL nothing to tell me what those swirly gateway looking things are that surround my little circular Romanesque Stonehenge starting point.
I won't go through all the rest of the silly tips they give you under How to other than to say they are woefully inadequate and afterthoughts rather than actual things that might help you figure out what you can do in Second Life.
Where to goAnother case of WTF. Again, what do those portals do? (Yes, they take you places even more obtuse and totally incomprehensible for a newbie.) And clicking Destinations brings up a whole bunch of random stuff that typical newbies would have no idea about what they can or can't do for you. Let's see, "Newcomer Friendly". What does that mean about the rest of SL? Anyway clicking it leads to some really bad, generic descriptions about this or that destination being a fun (safe) place to learn and hangout.
With all this nonsense, it's a wonder anyone stays past their first 30 minutes. Oh and even though there were about 5 others standing around, no one tried to start a chat with me and no one responded to me trying to start a chat with them (public). IM was no better.
For giggles, I decided to click on the "Art" portal looking thing. Woosh. Now I'm in a big huge dome with LEA on the floor, a few signs around the glass dome and absolutely NO clue what to do and no clue how to get back where I was.
So let's see maybe I can try Teleporting Home. Wouldn't that take me back to where I started? Nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Now I'm at Pooley Stage. For grins, I thought I'd ask in chat how to get back to where I started. No answer from any of the 5 avatars standing around Pooley Stage. (And yes, I know you can click the back button next to the browser address type window but how many newbies will realize that?)
Epic failureI really feel sorry for anyone involved in the new user experience. I feel totally sorry for the newbie who will be clueless about what to do, how to do it or where to go. I feel sorry for the support groups like NCI, Caledon Oxbridge, White Tiger, The Shelter, etc. who will only be getting people because they happened to randomly click on a destination (not by design or intent). And most of all, I feel sorry for the rest of us in Second Life who understand that without more support for first time users, our world will continue on it's slow death spiral. (By the way, those links are all SLURLs that will take you to each of their main locations in Second Life.)
All this experience did was make me sad.
UPDATE - WELCOME ISLAND TUTORIAL FOUND
Well I don't know why SL decided to dump my newly made avatar into Destination Island but I finally found the Welcome Island Tutorial by trying to get back to Destination Island via the Back button. I got the cryptic message "To repeat the tutorial, go to Welcome Island Public". Now that's useful. Not. But being an experienced SL'er, I did find it via search (even though there are lots of them.)
And arrrrgggggghhhh! The tutorial is not even a tutorial. It's like walk, sit, fly, chat, now where do you want to go? Nothing about attachments. Changing looks. Driving a vehicle. Wearing a different top. Searching. It's so utterly lame compared to the old find the sword tutorial as to be insulting.