Second Life – how is it for you?

I’ve been hanging out in the virtual world Second Life a lot recently wrapping my head around all the amazing things you can do there. Something that’s really struck me however is how this could be a real opportunity for people who are restricted in some way in their day to day lives.

Working as a Web Accessibility Consultant this is hardly surprising but what really got me excited was thinking of the opportunities that it could give a friend of mine, Sam, who was paralysed in a car accident a couple of years ago. Imagine if he could hang out in Second Life, meet people, go to concerts, take courses, fly, earn his own money, even play football with his Dad.

Judy Brewer from the Web Accessibility Initiative gives a talk in Second Life

It’s also got me thinking about how I can expand my fundraising activities for Sam by setting up a group in there where I can raise awareness as well has money to help buy him equipment to make his quality of life better (the group will be stuff4sam, but I haven’t made enough Linden Dollars to set it up yet…watch this space)!

I am currently researching how Second Life fairs in terms of accessibility from the perspective of all users including people with mobility, visual, hearing and cognitive impairments but I need your help. Rather than just put on my auditors hat I’d like to also hear what your experiences are with Second Life including the good as well as the bad, what do you find troublesome, what features do you like most and if you use an access technology or change your browser settings

If you’d like to share you thoughts with me then leave a comment here or drop me an email at accesssecondlife@gmail.com.

5 thoughts on “Second Life – how is it for you?

  1. I’ve been on SL for about a year and a half. My thoughts are; I have met deaf people there but not known it until they told me. If one can type English, (or whichever language) well enough, no one can tell if you have a disability or not. Which leads on to the next thought, if you type badly or slowly, people get impatient with you as if it WAS a disability, unless you have got to know them as a friend. Not much different from rl there I suppose. Another thought is, everyone takes you at face value, even though they know, in most cases, that this in not how you look irl. There are a few who create avs that look like their rl selves, but not many.

    HTH

    Caroline

  2. I stumbled accross your blog and was moved to make a comment. I too am a resident in SL and am also fascinated by a place that can offer so many oppertunities to people who may be unable to experience things in RL for various reasons. I would highly reccomend that you read Second Lives A Journey Through Virtual Worlds by Tim Guest. (I got mine from Amazon) The author talks about certain groups that have set up islands in SL for exactly the reasons you have touched upon. One group is made up of individuals who suffer from such things as cerebal palsy to ‘learning diffculties’ some have verbal communication skills, some not. This group all join together to become ‘Wilde’ in one av.they have a wonderful lady called Mary who is able to communicate with them and then through her they live a full Second Life. They are suddenly freed from the constraints they are used to in RL. They can freely move… even fly, they are not ostracised by the community. They are able to communicate effectively and perhaps the most beautifull thing of all, they can express themselves in a way that they have never been able to before. The book had me in tears at times and made me appreciate what a wonderful forum SL and other virtual worlds are.
    The lindens have even donated whole islands to help such causes.
    If you cannot buy the book, email me I will send you a copy as I really think you should read it.
    Good luck and email me any time should you need to.
    Love to Sam

  3. Hi Caroline, thanks for your comments. I’ve had a couple of people say the same about writing slowly and others getting impatient.

    I think communicating in a second language when chatting is also tough especially in a group situation. I speak very bad Mandarin and have often felt like I came across slow when I speak and unable to keep up in conversation in a way that I could if I was speaking my native tongue.

    But then, as you say, SL can be a level playing field and you can be what you want to be. Something that is great but can also lead to it’s dangers. Something that I’ve come across a couple of times is wheelchair users in RL opting to have a wheelchair in SL which really interested me.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Hi Tina, thanks so much for your book recommendation. I’m getting it today and plan to get stuck in straight away!

    I am constantly amazed by all the innovative ways people use SL and “Wilde”, for me, has to be the most impressive yet. I love the idea of combining forces and achieving what you set out to achieve and possibly even better. It’s great that there is something out there like SL that allows people to do that. But while it’s a great framework I really do hope we can keep pushing it towards being more accessible both technically and by raising awareness within the community itself.

    I’m looking forward to exploring the islands that the Lindens have donated to help such causes and meeting people. I would also love to hook up with you and anyone else reading my blog so if you are around drop me an email at accesssecondlife@gmail.com and let’s take it from there.

    Once I’ve earned enough Linden Dollars (which I’m currently doing by dancing on the beach somewhere!) I’ll also be setting up a group in SL called Stuff4Sam. This is a group where I’ll be looking to continue fund raising for Sam but also promote awareness around issues of access and possible campaign so come and join me!

    Stay in touch.

  5. anyone out there can help me with a LSL Script for
    my Sign i made.
    I need a Script that i can ad text on it like a message that
    second life people can read when they come up to my sign.
    i dont want a floating text at all
    i need to be able to type anything i want on my sign.
    if anyone can help me i would be so happy if someone helped,
    please email me edy@gwi.net
    i will be waiting to hear from someone
    thanks from
    SeaWindSorcerer Second Life

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