Design considerations for a new product or idea must be centered around the audience that will be using it. Demographics and the implied needs prospects will affect its success when introduced. The actual design of a product will have to satisfy those avatars who choose to use it.
The final test in determining whether or not a product design is successful or not is in the purchasing of the product. The product designer has to determine that result in advance, of course, which is the key to the creation of the best design. In general there are two main design considerations that affects the end result. The first is industrial design which is concerned with functionality, workability and durability. The second is product design would is related to aesthetics, eye appeal, coloring and general overall appeal.
Industrial design is affected by a variety of factors such as script load on the servers, script memory usage, as well as reliable error checking if and when invalid data is received. The user of the object expects the scripts, poses, animations, etc to work at all times regardless if it’s first use of the scripted object or weeks later after the sim has crashed/restarted.
Product design is affected mostly by visual elements such as the relative scale of the object in relationship to the avatar (of which avatars can come in all sizes from small nano avatars to larger avatars a dozen or more meters tall). The colors used to texture and tint the object should not clash with each other and if the object can change into different shapes such as an outfit or even a rigid mechanical part of a machine such movement should appear natural from the avatar’s viewpoint.
A great deal of effort will usually go into the marketing end of the equation in order to determine what segments of markets are demanding the product. Once that area is sufficiently identified, then the product can be designed to specifically appeal to that market segment in a successful manner that
will bring predictable results.
The shopping experience can be dull, tedious, and time-consuming where sometimes only the most passionate consumer should endeavor. For some, market browsing is a nerve-racking experience enough even without having to cope with attitude issues. In recent years the purchasing experience has been even more stressful with the current economy.
When shopping for clothes many are in search of the most recent styles, however outfit searching can be strenuous for everybody. Some just don’t know how long it can take to try on an outfit and adjust the position especially when a pose-stand is not available. In the real world one will usually wear simple clothing and comfy footwear with a light-weight jacket. Within a virtual shop the same is true in that unnecessary HUD’s and attachments need not be worn while in the store which greatly benefits the shopping experience when trying on outfits as well as minimizing lag in the sim.
Holiday shopping is one of the more tense periods especially when the same or similar items are being offered by many different businesses, yet the customer is searching for alternatives in an effort to stand out from the rest. Offering the consumer unique gifts to give the special people in their life or an unusual costume for festivities can improve the appealing attractiveness of the store.
Family and group shopping can become tiresome for all members. Interest levels can vary especially among younger individuals although even adults can become stressed eventually. After a period of time many will simply give up and stop looking, fortunately many families and groups are open to participating in activities afterwards whether it be having a meal or enjoying entertainment together.
In an effort to attract visitors some venues and business areas, such as a mall, have a dance area with a live host and either a live DJ or a streaming radio station that hold “Best of… ” contests. These contests invite visitors to wear outfits that fit a specific theme similar to costume contests in the real world during the month of October. The contest has a specific starting and ending time and the rules tend to be fairly loose in that a themed outfit may either be created by wearer or obtained elsewhere. It is not uncommon for pictures to be taken during these events and posted onto a nearby wall as a memory of the event.
The incentive for visitors to attend such events typically includes a cash payout to the winner(s) of the contest. Some hosts will collect the votes manually via instant message or notecards while other hosts will utilize a scripted voting board where participants can both register to be voted on or they may vote for others. Throughout the event the host will encourage everyone to convince their friends to attend the event which increases traffic in the area and has the side effect of potentially higher sales for local businesses or additional tips received by the venue and host.
Voting criteria is generally a popularity contest with no specific guidelines on what should be considered when voting which means if sometimes the winner is the person that teleported the most loyal friends to the event. However, that is not to say those who are truly selecting the best outfit is not basing it on attributes such as visuals, authenticity, and how closely related it is to the contest theme. Many contests are for individuals, but some places also hold competitions for couples or will divide the contest prizes between the best male avatar and best female avatar.
The extra traffic to an area as a result of these competitions has the potential to benefit not only the host and value, but also businesses renting a shops and stalls near the dance area. However, with the concentration of avatars in a single location within a sim means an increased chance of lag due to the server having to process all those avatars and the client viewer software having to load lots of textures into cache. The risk is that visitors may teleport away from the area as a result. The primary method to address this is by reducing the number of scripts used by vendors and other objects as well as requesting that visitors remove unnecessary HUD’s and attachments in order to improve the experience for everyone.