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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

Article Contents

U.S. National Library of Medicine, and its Tox Town and Tox Town in Second Life Resources

U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world’s largest medical library and is the leader in health information management and dissemination. As such, NLM plays an active role in developing and evaluating innovative information technology. Tox Town2, developed by NLM, is a Web site for the general public that provides information about environmental health concerns and potentially toxic chemicals that are found in everyday locations. Recognizing the educational potential of VWs, NLM created a pilot application version of Tox Town in the Second Life VW platform that explores the graphical and interactive capabilities of this virtual world to present environmental health information in a highly interactive and immersive way. This initiative also explores the utility of this medium to provide health information to special communities and as a virtual training and remote collaboration platform. In some cases, the information within Tox Town in Second Life is placed directly in the environmental context (e.g., information about lead in the water can be obtained upon interaction with a water fountain in a school building). In other cases, the information comes from more traditional information products, such as posters and movie screens displayed in the VW library building. This pilot application served as a test bench for the study of VWs evaluation methods in this project. Figures 1 and 2 present some scenes, depicting avatars interacting with Tox Town in Second Life.

Figure 1

Figure 1. A group of avatars gathering in Tox Town in Second Life, as seen by a user with a standard Second Life’s viewer application. The text over the avatars shows their names and text messages, which the avatars are exchanging via a local “chat” feature.

Figure 2

Figure 2. An avatar in Tox Town in Second Life clicks on an “information kiosk” to obtain information about chemical hazards in the simulated environment.



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