CHUI: no, not a Wookie, a viewer from LL – with feedback requested

Linden Lab have launched, somewhat unexpectedly, a new project viewer, called CHUI. While sounding like a character from Star Wars (CHU-EE, geddit? *Ahem*. Sorry), it stands for Communications Hub User Interface. The blog post states:

With so many ways for users to communicate with one another in Second Life, there are quite a few communications tools in the Viewer. To make it easier to find, learn and use these tools, today we released a project Viewer that introduces CHUI (Communications Hub User Interface). In addition to bringing most of these communications tools “under one roof,” CHUI also introduces some new and improved features.

Among the listed features are:

  • The Conversation Log: providing you have enabled the option to save chat and IM logs to your computer, this allows you to open the entire history of a conversation with another user held in the past 30 days directly in your viewer, or review off-line IMs received from both friends and non-friends
  • Expanded conference calls: with CHUI it is possible to add people to a conference call after it’s started, or add someone to an existing one-on-one IM session
  • The ability to easily move your voice connection between open conversations including nearby chat, private IM, conference chat or group chat. Click the “add voice” button on any conversation to move your voice connection to that conversation. Click the “hang up” button and your voice connection is returned to nearby chat.
  • The ability to access chat preferences in a single click from the Conversation window
  • Change the volume of a single person’s voice by simply clicking on that person’s speaking icon in the Conversations window
  • A multi-line chat entry box which expands as you type.

CHUI Conversation Log

These features primarily found in two floaters: Conversations Log and a revised Conversations floater. The Conversations Log window lists all recent and past conversations, allowing them to be to scrolled through and opened for reading. As I’ve only jut started using the project viewer, I’ve actually not investigated this in-depth. Clicking on a listed conversation will open in the Conversations floater, and the Conversation Log contains two buttons for sorting the listed conversations (by name, by date, etc.), and a gear cog button for access various options – start an IM, enter a voice call, view profile, etc., for a selected conversation in the list.

For those who use TPVs with tabbed IM capabilities, the revised Conversations floater will look remarkably familiar,  bringing as it does local chat and all IM conversations into a single floater panel. Any conversations in the Conversation Loge will also open here as well.

The Conversations floater

The panel includes a number of buttons. These again allow conversation to be sorted, closed individually, etc., and also include a number of additional options:

Add someone else to an existing IM conversation, and establish a conference call. This will open the Choose Resident Floater, allowing you to pick a friend, someone nearby or search for someone.

Start a Voice conversation with a person or hang-up from a Voice conversation (the icon will change on the button, depending on the status of the call)

Open the Choose Resident floater to select someone with whom to start an IM or Voice conversation.

Break-out any conversation into its own floater.

The Conversations floater can also be compacted down into one of three sizes, using the left / right double chevron arrows. These help reduce the amount of space the floater takes up on your screen when not actively in use. It can be expanded either using these buttons or using the right-pointing arrows next to the names in the conversations list.

The three compact views of the Conversations floater

Overall, this is a significant attempt to centralise in-world communications, and there are some nice features here, particularly in the extended Voice options.

For Linden Lab, this is very much experimental, as noted in the blog post itself, and they are asking for people’s feedback on the features:

We’ve been testing CHUI inside Linden Lab for some time, but any major redesign requires a lot of people using it to make it as smooth and useful as it can be. This is where you come in.

Please think about these questions as you use the CHUI project viewer:

  • Are the new features useful?
  • Do the functions you commonly use seem more streamlined, or do they require more clicks than before?
  • Are all of the functions, both old and new, easy to find?

We’ll ask you to complete a survey in approximately one week to gather your thoughts on these questions.

There is a publicly accessible JIRA (https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/chuibug) available for the viewer, and if you do try it out and find a bug, LL request you report it there.

Also tucked away in the blog post is news that blocked users and objects can now be viewed from within the People floater, rather than via a separate menu option, and can also be unblocked from here via the right-click context menu.

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14 thoughts on “CHUI: no, not a Wookie, a viewer from LL – with feedback requested

  1. Sean Brady

    I am actually a fan of having a separate IM and Local chat floater. I could get used to using this though i think. I am anxious to see what they do with the notifications. It sounds like they have a lot of good ideas, and the one thing that immediately jumped out at me was the lack of notifications. Still I am happy to see a new feature like this come along.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      If you click on break-out button, you can separate-out the various conversations. I’ve updates the artile to make this explicitly clear.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Yup, it is similar in some respects; will probably meet with the same split reactions as happened with 1.18(? or was it 1.16?) when things were combined :).

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    1. Sean Brady

      I saw that, but I didnt get a chance to test if it would maintain the “torn” state between restarts. I am not sure if I want it to, but i might.

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  2. Dave Lowe

    I’ll be impressed when they make a viewer that lets you tear off things into their own seperate WINDOW not just a floater within the viewer. This would be a godsend to those of us on dual monitors or with a lot of extra screen real estate. Even the ability to ALT-TAB to another window for comms and inventory but switch back for a clean, full screen 3-D view would be awesome. Do the Lindens or any TPV developers read these comments?

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      TPV devs are better placed than I to answer this, but my understanding iis ffom a question I asked at SLCC 2011, that while LL would love to make the viewer more modular in this and other ways, the codd doed not eadilh lend itself to it being done.

      As to whether anyone from LL reads this (and other) blogs + comments, the answer is yes they do. More than one article I”ve written here has drawn comment from LL staff – including Rod Humble himself on three occasions. And I`m far from unique in this.

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  5. Toady Nakamura

    The problem with this version for me is not the combining or tear offs, but the orange flashing when each new message starts. I can’t find anyway to permanently turn it off. Any ideas?

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Go to PREFERENCES -> CHAT
      Under NOTIFICATIONS are a set of drop-down options you can set against incoming message types.

      CHUI message preferences

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