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Crappy User Interfaces

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7 hours ago, the_debaser said:

Sony and MS could learn from the Nintendo Switch OS. Instant, snappy, easy to understand, though it helps that it’s not trying to be an all in one media box.

 

Is that really it though?  I mean if the Switch had Netflix, Amazon, etc. the would just appear as another tile on the GUI, or perhaps under a 'videos' tile that lead to a series of other tiles.  

It's not that difficult.

 

My ps3 is my main media player nowadays.  The essentially 2 dimensional menu works ok, pick the grouping you want then use down to find the option / game / service you want.  Unless the option is up, which some are for some reason, or it's in the options menu which is about a mile long for some reason.  Once you figure out there are multiple button press options on each selection, you're sorted.

The ps4 seems to take that idea and replicate it in a confused mess of a structure rather than a straight line, with some stuff hidden in a different structure brought up by pressing the playstation button.

The Xbox One seems to take that idea, chew it for a couple of minutes, swallow it, and start digesting then spew it all up into a hideous mess with no real relationship between what you are seeing, not even in terms of scale.

 

Perhaps the ps4 is worse overall since the primary function of it's GUI is to present games and media box capabilities. 

The Xbox One GUI is obviously primarily meant as a giant advert.

 

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Maybe it's just because I've got used to it now, but I find the latest Xbox Guide interface (not the dashboard, the blade type thing that comes up to the side) very quick and easy to navigate. I especially like the fact your friends list and what they're currently doing always seems to be pre-loaded so you never have to look at any loading spinners. Accepting and sending game and party invites is really easy too. In fact I much prefer it to the PS4 dashboard these days, which is relatively slow and requires lots of button presses to do simple things like accepting an invite.

 

The actual Xbox One dashboard is more about community stuff and store. It doesn't have much in the way of functional stuff. I think the divide works well.

 

EDIT: it probably also makes a difference that I have an Xbox One X, but only a pauper PS4.

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I used to quite like the NXE on 360, well for a few iterations, eventually they turned it into a laggy ad filled mess. But for a while there it was nice.

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Modern Warfare 1 and 2 will always be my go-to examples for the best front-end user experience. Very basic, instant response, no transitions, but so quick and easy to use, so you can fly through editing your loadouts between matches. I wonder whether it was the result of not having a fancy UI designer who wanted to put their stamp all over everything, or having a UX designer who really knew what they were doing and was allowed to do it.

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1 hour ago, Garwoofoo said:

The Xbox One interface is the worst console UI ever invented, apart from the last two attempts they had at exactly the same thing. 

 

Yup absolutely, I've used it at my work a couple of times to show some examples of absolutely abysmal UX design. Nothing is ever where you'd hope it to be and the input language to move back and forwards changes dependent on where you are. That and it often gives you zero feedback as to what it's doing when it needs you to wait, or it just arbitrarily shells out to some random app. They also really churn the whole thing up with updates. 

It's fucking, so very, very bad. 

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3 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Yup absolutely, I've used it at my work a couple of times to show some examples of absolutely abysmal UX design. Nothing is ever where you'd hope it to be and the input language to move back and forwards changes dependent on where you are. That and it often gives you zero feedback as to what it's doing when it needs you to wait, or it just arbitrarily shells out to some random app. They also really churn the whole thing up with updates. 

It's fucking, so very, very bad. 

Hmm, I would've agreed before v3 (or whatever it is we're on now) but I don't see many major problems with it now. I agree that it uses 'apps' to handle things that should be fully integrated into the dashboard is annoying, because you have to wait for these to load and they take you away from what you were doing, but everything that has been integrated into the Guide works well. Friends list, parties, DVR, settings, broadcast, pins.

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24 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Yup absolutely, I've used it at my work a couple of times to show some examples of absolutely abysmal UX design. Nothing is ever where you'd hope it to be and the input language to move back and forwards changes dependent on where you are. That and it often gives you zero feedback as to what it's doing when it needs you to wait, or it just arbitrarily shells out to some random app. They also really churn the whole thing up with updates. 

It's fucking, so very, very bad. 

 

I think you're being a bit over dramatic here. 

 

Many things in apps is annoying, but it's done so there can be smaller updates without requiring an OS update.

 

Usually when it's doing something and you have to wait it's the same spinning icon as W10.

 

Almost everything is less than a few button presses away now. It literally takes between 2 and 5 button presses to get almost anywhere in the OS.

 

With updates, the system can be setup so it downloads updates over night while the machine is in standby. If you don't have that setting enabled then what do you expect Microsoft to do? It's not an issue exclusive to them these days. We live in a world where software and games can get almost daily massive updates.

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4 minutes ago, Mr Tony said:

 

I think you're being a bit over dramatic here. 

 

Many things in apps is annoying, but it's done so there can be smaller updates without requiring an OS update.

 

Usually when it's doing something and you have to wait it's the same spinning icon as W10.

 

Almost everything is less than a few button presses away now. It literally takes between 2 and 5 button presses to get almost anywhere in the OS.

 

With updates, the system can be setup so it downloads updates over night while the machine is in standby. If you don't have that setting enabled then what do you expect Microsoft to do? It's not an issue exclusive to them these days. We live in a world where software and games can get almost daily massive updates.

 

You've convinced me! It's totally great. 

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One thing I like about the PS4 interface that I'd like MS to copy is to be able to choose when you shut-down whether to go into standby or turn off completely. I'd usually turn it off completely to save energy but sometimes I want to just put it into rest to let a download continue or to suspend my place in a game. On the Xbox you have to go into the settings to change it rather than deciding per-sesh.

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1 minute ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

You've convinced me! It's totally great. 

 

I'm not saying it can't be better. But it's nowhere near anything as bad as you've decided. 

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1 hour ago, Pob said:

One thing I like about the PS4 interface that I'd like MS to copy is to be able to choose when you shut-down whether to go into standby or turn off completely. I'd usually turn it off completely to save energy but sometimes I want to just put it into rest to let a download continue or to suspend my place in a game. On the Xbox you have to go into the settings to change it rather than deciding per-sesh.

 

As long as they never copy the stupid 'you didn't shut down your console correctly so here's ten minutes of checking your hard drive' that the PS4 does.

 

Its actually talked about in one of the Xbox tell all books how they rewrote the file system for the original Xbox just before launch as they knew they could never have that in a consumer product. Sony on the other hand...

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2 hours ago, Kirby said:

 

That's very interesting, do you know which book? I presumed the Xbox One was using NTFS still, but that sounds like they've switched to the ReFS which wasn't even finished for Windows 10 (or Microsoft were being cautious with such a major change).

 

Game of X v.1: Xbox: Standard Edition: Volume 1 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1976455170/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_iQdQAb4F2Q0J4

 

I don't think it was to do with NTFS but the directory structure that means if the Xbox is turned off it doesn't corrupt which is what can happen with the PS3 and PS4 but every Xbox works this way.

 

Its a very interesting book showing the internal struggles of Microsoft trying to push windows on a console vs making something that's actually a console.

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Still astounded at the post-Kinect text entry screens for apps on the Xbox 360. Just a list of letters from left to right. All the letters. It's identical to a Bishi Bashi mini-game where the point is that it's a complete pain in the arse to type anything that way.

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3 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

Still astounded at the post-Kinect text entry screens for apps on the Xbox 360. Just a list of letters from left to right. All the letters. It's identical to a Bishi Bashi mini-game where the point is that it's a complete pain in the arse to type anything that way.

That's shit, but at least if it's on a single row you know roughly where each letter is going to be even if it takes ages to reach it. I hate A-Z keyboard over multiple rows, as the breaks between rows are always in different places meaning you don't know where to start looking.

 

I've not looked into it myself, but there must be some interesting research into QWERTY vs A-Z keyboards. You'd have thought tech-savvy Xbox owners would prefer a QWERTY.

 

Related moan: console apps that use their own lovingly-designed keyboards, meaning the one in the official mobile apps for Xbox and PS4s are precisely fuck all use. Particularly annoying for password entry. Such a relief that the new(ish) All4 app on the XB1 uses the native XB1 keyboard.

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That's a terrible one in general. "You know what, I don't care what years of software design and hard work by the OS developer are supposed to imply, I can build a better keyboard for this device."

 

Every time I see a custom keyboard in an app I'm fairly convinced it's passing my details on to hackers.

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The first Killzone had an interesting idea for text input. Unfortunately I think the I only time I ever used it was to name my save file, but if it had been more widely adopted, maybe it would be seen as a much faster method of control pad text entry than the usual on-screen keyboards.

 

Or maybe it would have been rejected as too counter-intuitive to ever be a standard console text entry method (imagine all the panicked phone calls to Sony and Microsoft from people booting up their console for the first time and struggling to enter their email address and password).

 

Volume warning on this video, but it gives a good illustration of how it worked:

 

 

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Steam offers a similar thing with its daisy wheel keyboard:

 

5aa86e0fb48e6_SteamDaisyWheelkeyboard.jpg.d5e48a1aab37fce0ef3b01765588f622.jpg

 

It's a nice enough system, though still nothing compares to BG&E's spiral keyboard for analogue stick keyboard entry:

 

 

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Yes! I was trying to think of what game that spiral letter entry thing was from as I was reading through the thread. Completely baffling its not been stolen more often. Quick and satisfying.

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