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Adapting Web 1.0 Evaluation Techniques for E-Government in Second Life

Alla Keselman, Victor Cid, Matthew Perry, Claude Steinberg, Fred B. Wood, and Elliot R. Siegel

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 6, Issue 4, August 2011, pp. 204 - 225

Abstract

As Web technology evolves, information organizations strive to benefit from the latest developments. Many academic and government organizations develop applications in Second Life, an online virtual world that allows users to interact with one another and the virtual environment via graphical personas, to support education and information outreach. This is accompanied by growing interest in evaluation methods for Second Life applications. While no special methods have been developed for Second Life or other virtual worlds, the field of Web evaluation is mature and likely to offer metrics, methods, and tools that might be adaptable to Second Life. The goal of this project was to analyze how existing Web measures of Internet performance, Web usage, usability, and user feedback could be adapted, expanded, and modified for Second Life. The project employed two facilitated expert panel discussions, followed by an empirical pilot-test of the experts’ suggestions. The findings suggest that prevailing methods and metrics of four key evaluation dimensions can be adapted to Second Life. Specific recommendations are made for their adaptation. Challenges involve lack of universal Second Life design practices and user expectations, influence of other avatars on user experience, complexity of 3-D topography, high technical requirements for data collection, and the proprietary nature of Linden Lab’s data.

Practitioner’s Take Away

The following are the practical recommendations from this project:

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Adapting Web 1.0 Evaluation Techniques for E-Government in Second Life