Xbox Interface

The new Xbox interface has been the center of debate and ridicule ever since it was overhauled in 2015. Gamers, me included, were completely lost in the new update and it wasn’t until 2017 that Xbox changed a few key features to make navigating a ton easier.

The primary destinations users go to are the Apps and Games menu and the Home Panel. The apps and games menu are where you can find Netflix, Spotify, and your digital games seeing as disks are no longer needed nor wanted by Microsoft (A little salty). On the flip side, the home panel is where you can find your settings, friends list, and to return from a game or app to the home screen.

Needless to say, these two destinations must be easy to get to and easy to navigate once opened. Generations aren’t getting any less impatient. Let’s tackle the games and apps menu issues first.

2015 GUI: appears to have this feature in the best place, the top right-hand corner of the screen. Wrong! The app is controlled by a D-pad navigation rather than a cursor navigation so when you press right on the D-pad you actually move over to the community page. Unless you press down on the D-pad, to exit the navigation bar and “enter” the home screen, you can’t move around the home screen. Which happens to be the most popular screen, go figure. The other big issue with it being to the right is that for the past 15 years it has always been located by pressing down on the D-pad. It’s like telling someone from now on you are going to open doors with your non-dominant hand. Instinct and habit play a big role in an effective GUI.

So now we are into the games and apps menu, pfew nailed it! The whole menu are pins. Games are now mixed in with the settings, with settings in the menu that says games and apps? And apps are mixed in with the games? Might have worked for Windows 8 but wait it didn’t work for Windows 8 oops. Lastly, there is another home button? (Doesn’t go home if you are curious, Wah Wah Waaah).

Fast Forward 2 years.

2017 GUI: would you look at that, the Apps and Games menu button is now down on the D-pad and the selected area doesn’t start on the navigation bar but whatever game you were playing last. Genius! Takes less than 10 seconds to get into your game and on with your life. Once you are in the games and apps menu, things are no longer looking like Windows 8. They are all sorted out in an easy to navigate system to find your favorite apps or games and there are no settings to be found.

You might be dozing off at this point so I’ll sum up the changes for the home panel. To access the home panel hit the Xbox button on the controller. (Easy Enough)

2015 GUI: home panel popped up as a small series of icons beneath your avatar. I must have pressed the center button a few times before i realized that was the home panel because, you guessed it, the past 15 years it was a big panel. The center Xbox icon in this series of icons is the home button to exit a game. Doesn’t look like it’s selected, does it? You’re not the only one in this boat. This was the biggest complaint about this user interface. Everyone thought that the avatar was selected and proceeded to go down to the home button. I did this more times than I am proud to say.

2017 GUI: Huge home panel with the home button easily selected. It is also oriented in the same fashion as the other navigation bar on the main screen. You even have access to your most selected apps and games. It’s like a UX designer was hired by Microsoft or something.

My venting is now complete. Off to play some Xbox now.

2015 GUI (Home Screen)

2015 GUI (Games and Apps)

2017 GUI (Home Screen)

2017 GUI (Games and Apps)

2017 GUI (Home Panel)