The UI is a disjointed mess and it's frustrating to use.

#1 Posted by spookytapes (263 posts) -

Now that we're a week or so in, I think that I can say that it's not just me being stupid but in fact, a poor UI design of the dash on the Xbox One. I'm not sure why Microsoft tried to shoehorn in a UI that has proven unpopular and unsuccessful on Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone on top of a functional Xbox interface, but boy, they've ruined it. So many things take so much longer to do. I frequently get lost in the interface. They took so many things that they nailed with the 360 and made them substantially worse. I just don't understand it. Some seriously baffling decisions with the party system, friends list and achievements especially. These things are what the dashboard is for! It's what the 360 excelled at! Why do they all launch in separate "apps" now? It's confusing and slow. I guess they expect you to use the Kinect to speed up the process, which would be fine, I guess, if it worked every time. In my experience I either don't know the right command to use or it doesn't recognize me a lot of the time.

This Edge article sums up how I feel pretty well. http://www.edge-online.com/features/xbox-why-the-baffling-incompetence-of-the-xbox-one-interface/

Hopefully it's stuff that they will fix, but seeing as how the 360 seemed to get worse and worse over the last few updates I'm not holding my breath. Also with how Microsoft seems to be "all in" on this interface, well, I'm worried. The PS4 UI isn't perfect but it's much faster and easier to use, in my opinion.

#2 Posted by Sergio (2080 posts) -

My guess is that they were given a business directive to use it. I know what that's like as a developer, where the higher-ups tell multiple product development teams to use a standard look across products so customers using one product will have a familiar looking interface when they pick up another product from you. Even Sony does this.

Since they're trying to market this for also watching TV, they'd want to give a similar interface to what general consumers might have on their PC or phone, regardless if it alienates their base.

I think the best thing they did was adopt pinning apps, and I'd like to see Sony follow suit.

#3 Posted by Hosstile17 (763 posts) -

Use the UI less and talk to it more. Navigating the menus with a controller at this point is kind of a bummer. But, using the voice commands works great.

#4 Posted by Rafaelfc (1324 posts) -

So they made the menus more cumbersome so voice commands seem like an upgrade and people are buying into it?

GG Microsoft!

#5 Posted by Residentrevil2 (439 posts) -

Yeah, I just use voice commands to navigate the UI now. Works well enough for me. "Xbox, Go to Netflix."

#6 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I don't know why Microsoft think their Modern UI looks good on anything but phones and tablets. It's horse shit on large screen devices.

The Xbox One interface is so oversized, all the side bars and white space annoy me.

#7 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@residentrevil2: So much this, good sir. Why would you even bother trying to navigate with a controller when you can just tell the machine what you want to do?

#8 Edited by Sanj (2364 posts) -

I really dislike the look of the Xbox One UI. I can't really comment on its usability as I don't own the console, but man is it boring to look at. Minimalist design is one thing, but that is just bland. I didn't like it on Windows 8 PCs, tablets or phones, and I'm not going to like it now. The UI looks as if it's a prototype that Microsoft would send around internally while developing the Xbox One.

#9 Posted by tourgen (4459 posts) -

Two important factors people use to navigate a GUI - color and position MS decided to throw out. So painfully misguided.

#10 Posted by ericdrum (404 posts) -

@spookytapes: I don't have any speed issues with it as 90% of the time, I'm just telling the Xbox to "Xbox go to X". But I've come to like or at least become very accustomed to how everything is laid out and even when I'm using my controller to navigate around, it's much faster to get to where I want than the 360 was. And some of the color schemes that I have seen make the UI look super terrible to me. However, I use one of the dark grey ones that seems to look quite decent to my eyes. Where are you getting lost when navigating?

#11 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@tourgen: I'd argue that position is far more important in an OS designed to be manipulated with a point and click device. In an OS designed for voice-nav, position is immaterial since all programs are executable from anywhere in the OS. Color I agree with, but only insofar as it allows for differentiation.

#12 Posted by RetroMetal (189 posts) -

Some people, like myself, don't want to talk to their console.

I, for one, would never use my Xbox One for any of it's features OTHER than playing games on it, so having to navigate any other way than with a controller would be stupid.

In fact the entire system seems stupid to me.

#13 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@retrometal: I remember when people said the same thing about the command prompt...and these crazy things called "PC games". "If I wanted to play games, I'd buy a console" they'd say....

#14 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3181 posts) -

@oginor said:

@residentrevil2: Why would you even bother trying to navigate with a controller when you can just tell the machine what you want to do?

@oginor said:

@tourgen: In an OS designed for voice-nav, position is immaterial since all programs are executable from anywhere in the OS.

@oginor said:

@retrometal: I remember when people said the same thing about the command prompt...and these crazy things called "PC games". "If I wanted to play games, I'd buy a console" they'd say....

You're a real apologist, huh?

It's really simple. If the machine itself has options for Voice Command and Controller Input at all it should be designed to work flawlessly with both. End of story. No buts.

Xbox One wasn't designed for voice nav only. It was designed for both, and you know what? It sucks with one out of two. Keeping in mind that the Kinect is optional now, and not everyone is going to use it - it's a huge problem.

#15 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@geraltitude: But it doesn't suck and it's not a huge problem. Really...it isn't. It's not hard to navigate, nor is the system hard to use. There are certainly flaws (disk management), but to say it's a huge problem is disingenuous.

#16 Posted by Sergio (2080 posts) -

@oginor said:

@tourgen: I'd argue that position is far more important in an OS designed to be manipulated with a point and click device. In an OS designed for voice-nav, position is immaterial since all programs are executable from anywhere in the OS. Color I agree with, but only insofar as it allows for differentiation.

This is still terrible usability, and a terrible argument you're using to excuse it . An OS should not solely be controlled by voice commands that not everyone can use reliably when a visual UI is present. So no, position is still very important to any UI.

#17 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3181 posts) -

@oginor said:

@geraltitude: But it doesn't suck and it's not a huge problem. Really...it isn't. It's not hard to navigate, nor is the system hard to use. There are certainly flaws (disk management), but to say it's a huge problem is disingenuous.

Many websites are writing lengthy analysis and articles about what they don't like about the UI, and this thread is 1 of thousands on the exact same topic. Giant Bomb's own Bombcast has said many of the same things.

It's 100% genuine as it reflects the real experience of real people - who really think it sucks and is a problem. Your opinion is also legitimate - you have no problems - but that doesn't make everyone else's make believe.

#18 Edited by Chaser324 (6391 posts) -

While it definitely needs a lot of work, I will say that luckily it hasn't really gotten in the way of me enjoying playing games on the Xbox One. The Kinect stuff does work very well in some cases, but I don't think it's a suitable replacement to an easy to navigate interface.

I've found it particularly baffling how much functionality is hidden behind the menu/view buttons even though there are typically no button prompts to indicate that being the case. Also, whenever I go out of a game and into an app, I feel like I never know what is going to happen when I press the B button - will it go back to the previous screen in the app or will it go back to the game?

Also, party chat needs to be back in top form by the time Titanfall is released, or else I am going to be very upset.

Moderator Online
#19 Edited by spookytapes (263 posts) -

@ericdrum: I hate talking to the Kinect. I have rooomates and I'd imagine that I sound like a maniac issuing commands out loud at my tv. I do it sometimes, but I'd just prefer to use a controller. It seems like instead of hitting B to get out of whatever you are in and going back into some sort of hierarchy within the dash, you have to dump your way back out to the dash by hitting "home" iOS style, then find your way into "all my apps" and then to whatever it is you want to do next . There's no natural flow. On the 360 you could get to any functional point from anywhere by hitting the guide button, hell, even the PS3 with the XMB you could get to almost anything in just a few button presses from anywhere. In comparison it takes me much, much longer to get to things on the One (unless, of course, I know the exact command to use and the Kinect recognizes it perfectly on my first try). Maybe I'm just not used to it yet, but a lot of the interface decisions they've made feel like a step backward.

#20 Edited by confideration (405 posts) -

If the pinning worked reliably, I think I wouldn't have many problems since my library isn't that big.

Are pins broken for anyone else? Sometimes all my game pins go away, sometimes all the app pins go away... pinning a game or an app (depending on which type is missing) will fix it.

They're definitely going to have to make some changes, but I really haven't seen any design concepts anyone has come up with to replace it. Only minor suggestions.

#21 Posted by phantomzxro (1570 posts) -

If the pinning worked reliably, I think I wouldn't have many problems since my library isn't that big.

Are pins broken for anyone else? Sometimes all my game pins go away, sometimes all the app pins go away... pinning a game or an app (depending on which type is missing) will fix it.

They're definitely going to have to make some changes, but I really haven't seen any design concepts anyone has come up with to replace it. Only minor suggestions.

Well i think it would be great to bring back the guide menu and have a shorthand menu within it that will take you to all the important sections. Also it should have a recently viewed apps and recently played games in the menu which will take you to the last things you did in each area. Along with adding sorting options so you can choose to place things where your want and keep them there.

#22 Posted by Reisz (1479 posts) -

I hate that I seem to be the only person on the internet with a 35% success rate on voice commands. I started out trying to use voice as much as possible. At this point though, if it doesn't work the first time, I just use the controller. It must not understand my accent, it's been so hit or miss.

I wish I had been spending more time with it to tell you what I think of the UI but between Forza 5, deaf kinect and how just uninteresting to look at the UI is. I have been spending more time with my PS4. Ryse was pretty fun though.

#23 Posted by ericdrum (404 posts) -

@spookytapes: Ah. I got you. Yeah, the 'B' button thing can get a bit wonky depending on where you are. I've made the same mistake thinking it would do one thing. I started getting into the habit of just hitting the guide (when I'm not using voice) and then just navigating to where I want from there. I do a lot of switching between Netflix/Amazon video and games and I've really liked how the OS handles that and how quick it is. I think that as long as the system stays responsive, we'll all learn how to adapt and adjust and get used to it. If the pins worked %100 of the time, I'd think that they could be utilized to solve most people's issues. As time goes by, the more apps and games that are released are going to make organization more complicated.

@confideration: My pins seem to disappear occasionally too. Seems like a bug.

#24 Posted by spookytapes (263 posts) -

I've lost my pins twice now, as well, that doesn't help things, either. Having to dig through and repin everything isn't a treat.

#25 Posted by ragintaft (48 posts) -

It's not perfect, but I wouldn't call it the mess that others are freaking out about. There are obvious things that they need to fix, like the issues with the party system. But I've found it very usable and quick, even without using voice commands to get from place to place. I like it a lot, actually. Part of this could be just in comparison to the 360 or PS3 UI, which have both gotten pretty sluggish and have their own eccentricities. A lot of things are buried 2 or 3 menus deep in the 360, and PS3 can be crazy-making. Yes, I always want something to download in the background if it can. No, I don't want to tell you to do that every time. Oh, it's going to take Uncharted 3 15 minutes just to put in the background downloads? Ok, I guess I'll go make a sandwich. (I'm a new PS3 owner, so maybe I'm missing something on that end). But I digress.

But here are some things that could pretty easily make the Xbox One UI more usable:

  • Being able to explicitly order the pins. Just being able to push one to the front isn't good enough. This should work like reorganizing apps on the homescreen of an iPhone. Switch to a reorganize mode, and then move them around to your heart's content. New pins should go to the back of the list, not the front.
  • Games and apps should have organization options other than most recent (which is the only option). Add a filter for alphabetical, or even have folders, categories, or a custom option. It's not bad now when I only have about a dozen or so apps/games, but this will become a nightmare in a year or two.
  • Clean up some of the language to make it more clear what's going on. For example, if you stop an installation of a disc and try to resume the installation, it has "Restart Installation" as the only option. While it actually just resumes the installation from where you left off, restart implies that you have to start again from the beginning. It's little things like this that make for a more confusing user experience.
  • They need to figure out a way to let users know that a lot of what they want to do can be found using the menu button, like pinning an app or starting or stopping a download. This is less of a UI issue than it is a user education issue. Once I figured this out, I found the UI to be way more functional, but it isn't as intuitive as it should be. They should maybe patch in a quick tutorial that showcases some of this functionality.
  • The inconsistent B-button issues that people have already pointed out. I kind of get what they were going for, but it's not intuitive at all.
  • Viewing achievements is a big step back. Putting it in its own app is annoying, but the bigger issue is that there's no way at a glance to see what the achievement meant without clicking on the achievement to get a full screen view of it.

So, yeah, it has issues and annoyances. But I still enjoy using it, and I'm hopeful for improvements to come in the next year.

#26 Posted by ragintaft (48 posts) -

@spookytapes: Lost my pins once. I think it's a cloud syncing issue. They were there the next time I checked. If that happens again, don't waste time repinning them.

#27 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

@oginor said:

@geraltitude: But it doesn't suck and it's not a huge problem. Really...it isn't. It's not hard to navigate, nor is the system hard to use. There are certainly flaws (disk management), but to say it's a huge problem is disingenuous.

Many websites are writing lengthy analysis and articles about what they don't like about the UI, and this thread is 1 of thousands on the exact same topic. Giant Bomb's own Bombcast has said many of the same things.

It's 100% genuine as it reflects the real experience of real people - who really think it sucks and is a problem. Your opinion is also legitimate - you have no problems - but that doesn't make everyone else's make believe.

Well said, Garaltitude!

#28 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3181 posts) -

@geraltitude said:

@oginor said:

@geraltitude: But it doesn't suck and it's not a huge problem. Really...it isn't. It's not hard to navigate, nor is the system hard to use. There are certainly flaws (disk management), but to say it's a huge problem is disingenuous.

Many websites are writing lengthy analysis and articles about what they don't like about the UI, and this thread is 1 of thousands on the exact same topic. Giant Bomb's own Bombcast has said many of the same things.

It's 100% genuine as it reflects the real experience of real people - who really think it sucks and is a problem. Your opinion is also legitimate - you have no problems - but that doesn't make everyone else's make believe.

Well said, Garaltitude!

:D thanks duder! (we really need a thumbs up system here, don't we?)

#29 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

Right. Now it's like I'm just spamming. :)

#30 Posted by horseman6 (385 posts) -

The only thing I use my Xbox One for is to play games, I don't need to multi-task. But that's more of an effect of how terrible the UI is, how slow the system is, how poorly integrated the voice control is, and how awful it is to navigate. The PS4 quickly became my go-to media box.

#31 Posted by Cameron (596 posts) -

I agree that it's a bit of a mess, but the voice commands have kept it from being frustrating for me. You can also get to the game in the drive without even having to scroll a menu, so until there is a large digital library to sort through it works for me. Hopefully they'll push an update well before there are that many games to fix some of these problems. I guess since the media functions on both of these consoles are almost non-existent they've both been just gaming machines for me, so once I got through the initial setup I haven't had to go digging for anything.

#32 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4337 posts) -

but, but the voice commands...

#33 Edited by Jackel2072 (2248 posts) -

So far not impressed with the UI. Kinect voice commands do make it better but I have 2 problems with it. First my kinect is dead. 2nd I live in a house full of people. I can't be talking to my xbox at midnight asking to watch netflix or play game or whatever. Also I can feel my roommates eyes rolling every time I say "xbox" . To be fair though, I think the PS4 interface is also kind of bad. It's simple and plain, but I can only imagine the horror of having to scroll through hundreds of games in the future to find the one I want! That's why we have firmware updates I guess?

#34 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

Yell at the Kinect until it does what you want it to.

Just don't swear or you might get a time out.

#35 Edited by crithon (3111 posts) -

so it's now people are reacting to this? Not Windows phone? or on Windows 8? Are people just eager for the New Xbox experience on Xbox One? That might take 3 to 4 years after the console launches? What's wrong with people? This is so sad

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