With videos of the PS3 user interface starting to percolate through the internet, we now have a better idea just how the PS3 is going to look and feel on the screen, and I think it's a perfect time to evaluate the PS3 and look at what goes into a good interface.
As far as I'm concerned, I only need an interface to be Functional, Intuitive, and above all, Simple.
First, before I discuss the PS3 interface in depth, I'd like to explain what I mean when using these terms. Functional means it needs to actually control all of the useful things that the user expects it to control. What good is an interface if it doesn't actually control what I need it to control?
And those controls need to be arranged in a way that makes sense. It needs to be Intuitive. With a well designed interface, a specific feature should appear exactly where the user expects it to appear. Music should appear under the Media category along with Videos. Demos should appear under the games category. If the user has to constantly hunt and peck through the interface to find a desired feature, it's possible the interface is poorly designed. (That, or the user is stupid. For this discussion, let's assume users of moderate intelligence.)
The hardest value to quanitfy is Simplicity. This is more of a subjective judgment. Does the interface look clean and is it generally pleasing to the eyes? Or, on the other hand, does it look and feel more like a cereal box?
If you haven't watched the PS3 interface video, please do so now. I won't go anywhere while you watch:
Okay, the first thing any astute video gamer will notice is that this all looks familiar. Yeah, it's pretty much the PSP interface. So? The PSP interface is pretty good, all things considered, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
From the video, the interface appears to be functional. I see settings, various media menus, and it all seems to flow rather nicely. It's obvious what pushing right on the controls will do. (Sounds like a simple thing, but the Xbox 360 interface sends you flying through various "blades" when all you wanted to do was select the little highlightable window on the right side of the screen.) I'm not sure you could get more intuitive than the PS3 interface, either. Oh look, ALL of the settings are under the Settings option, how novel.
The best thing about this interface is that it's SIMPLE. Not a lot of distracting ads, colors, or banners. Just the controls you need, where you need them. Very much like an iPod interface. Why do some consoles feel the need to overthink the interface? Why add a bunch of "pages" or "blades" when a simple horizontal menu will achieve the same results, but in a more predictable manner?
Don't even get me started on how horrible the 360 interface has been. It sure looks bright, but it was a crap shoot on whether the option you were looking for was in the Settings blade, or buried somewhere in the "Xbox Guide". The latest dashboard has improved the organization of the 360 interface greatly, but has done little to make it simpler and more streamlined. Microsoft has a lot of work to do, there.
It looks like someone over at Sony has a clue about how interfaces should work. (Has Microsoft ever had a clue? Microsoft Bob, anyone?) And I don't think it's necessarily a matter of Japanese culture vs. American culture.
Look at Apple. Go to Apple's website and try to find quicktime movie trailers. That was pretty easy, wasn't it? Click Quicktime. Click trailers. Done.
Now, try to find WMV movie trailers from Microsoft's website. Yes, I assure you Microsoft does provide a website where WMV movie clips are available. Let's see if we can find it. Hmm, nothing relating directly to WMV on the main website, here. Let's try clicking on Windows. Well, now there's a headlined link to Media Player 11 Beta, but that's not really what we want, either. I'll click Windows Media Player on the left sidebar. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. It says Windows Media up at the top, so we must be getting close, now.
At this point, I have two choices. I can try the link for "Music & Video" or the link for "Downloads". Either one could conceivably have downloadable or playable video links. Since the word Video is in the link, I'll try Music & Video. Now, at this stage, many of you are going to make the same mistake that I did. You're going to want to click Watch Video Clips in HD. Unfortunately, that's going to lead you down a dark path of sorrow as you find nothing but boring Windows Media Player commercials and instructional videos. Bleh. No, no, you wanted to click the link in the left sidebar for WindowsMedia.com. Why would you think to do that? Well, you wouldn't necessarily, unless you knew ahead of time (like I do, now) that this is the site Microsoft uses to show WMV clips for various movies, etc.
What a pain. And this kind of interface experience is pretty much what you can expect from Microsoft. Install Windows Media Player 10, and then try to find the "File" menu on the default skin. Yeah, I'm gonna go watch a movie. Let me know when you find that menu in the next day or so. This is just so typical of Microsoft, unfortunately. The Xbox 360 is a great console. Made so by its games and features. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm getting tortured by the Spanish Inquisition, because every time I find where a feature was located, no one expects it to be there.
This is what makes the PS3 interface so great. Simple. Straightforward. Features appear where you expect them. Spanish-Inquisition-proof.
Microsoft, you have much to learn. You are still not a black belt.
The PS3 interface is great with the PSP simple, usable exactly whats needed for an on the go device, however for a home console I prefer the 360s.
The 360s interface is vibrant, extremely customizable, easy to use, and very well laid out. I have no problem with the advertisements as they are usually refering to a new feature or available download off of the marketplace and they definetely have their place in the structure.
Although it is an opinion and to each their own, but I sincerely hope that the PS3 offers the customization that the 360 does. Im not sure just how much use the poster has with the 360 interface as I cant see his statements having much relevance.
Yeah, err... jumping the gun here arent we? All we have of the PS3 interface is a short clip of the beta.
I know that, and Im aware the basic outlines are the same. But there's likely going to be additions/changes in the PS3's final implementation of the XMB and feature wise there's still a lot unknown at this point. Wait till the sucker is out.Originally Posted by cliffbo
Visually I found the PS3 interface a bit too simple, but then when you see it in action it all makes sense. It's so quick and easy to use and only takes a second to view photos, watch a video, open the internet browser, play music and so on. I needn't worry about the appearance either as I'm sure there will be ways to customize it.
I really like the 360's interface too, but I think I prefer the simplicity of the PS3's OS.
What's good about the 360 interface is it shows you what's hot right now as soon as you switch on your machine. Just switched on my 360 to catch up on some demos and it's trying to flog a PGR3 Style pack to me.
I like that to be honest.
But the interface is not that important to me to be honest.
i wouldn't mind betting that the PS3 will have a setting that when it is on standby it will automatically download any relevant add ons you have chosen, including PSP stuff. it may even send a signal to the PSP (which will beep) or the PS3 will beep. perhaps a little character will walk across the screen but instead of saying 'you got mail' it will say 'upgrades available'Originally Posted by Applefiend
Perhaps we could talk about what we want out of the PS3 interface (or do we need a seperate thread for that)????
Yup, that would be rather groovy.
Or even just a setting to download every new demo and Live Arcade demo when it's left on. Got my 360 on, downloadig DOA4, Galaga, NNNs, and Saint's Row demos.... Be downloading for a couple of hours, if it had downloaded them during the night I'd be playin' em, not watching them downloading.
Or indeed allow you to pre-order downloads.
That would be a good idea, leave the console on and create a list of demos you want downloaded (although Im thinking this is a feature, that is arriving later this year for the 360).Originally Posted by Applefiend
For the PS3, I definetely want an assortment of customization from it (beyond gamerpics). When I originally thought about how corny the 360 customization was before launch I didnt give it much of a chance, but a few months into it I found that I greatly enjoyed the features.
360 interface & PS3 interface
If I were to choose solely based on appearance, I'd choose the 360. To me, it seems more welcoming.
If I were to choose function/efficient wise, it's hands down PS3. For starters, it's far easier to navigate through, self-explanatory, and it gets you where you need to go without all the menus and less confusion as to where you are.
Since I'm more familiar with the PSP's GUI and this basically being about the same, I can tell you that the background can be customised to your own liking, and that new categories (horizontal) or content (vertical) icons, such as new features, can be added through firmware upgrades to increase efficiency.
Since the topic is about being more organized and effiencent, I would have to agree with the author. I choose it over glamor anyday of the week.
I really don't see the use in drawing comparisons.
I think this whole 360 v PS3 thing has gotten way out of hand.
Sure, maybe discuss hardware, upcoming tittles. But something as trivial as a user interface seems stupid for a discussion
Im sure that yes many of you may prefer interface a over b. and that you'd rather had an intuitive one than a clunky slow and un-navigatable one, But can you honestly tell me, that the interface the console uses, will dictate your choice of next general consoles? I hope not.
Originally Posted by Raitei
Way to slide the jab in there at the end after you stated it doesnt really matter.
hey... that was definately NOT in reference to the 360. no im not say THE 360 INTERFACE IS CLUNKY, SLOW AND UN-NAVIGATABLE
It was a joke man.Originally Posted by Raitei
No problem I should have made that more clear.
Oh and MS COPIES MORE THAN SONY.
I dont think you can ever be too simple with an interface, get what needs to be done, and get out. And I'm sure Sony will let you customize it in some ways seeing that they felt custom wallpapers were needed sometime after the psp release. I agree with most of the articles statements. But I also agree with some of the forum posters comments. There are features I would like incorperated into the XMB design, like frequent updates of whats new, etc. All in all....
Nice read cliffbo. thanks
wounding.. mine was also.. a far for subtly.. or impossible to read joke
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