Ovi's blog on the web and design

Xbox 360 interface

The Xbox 360 came out this week and with it, a lot of positive reviews. One aspect that impressed critics and gamers alike is the game system’s interface. This Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to try out the system since my cousin was actually able to get his hands on one after spending a night in line for the few that were available.

Xbox 360 interface screenshot.

My first half hour or so with the system was spent browsing through the Xbox’s features and checking out the way the interface was able to handle them. The new Xbox is not only a gaming system, but a full entertainment experience. And with all that’s been thrown into it, the interface certainly required making the features easy to find and simple to use.

Design Interact did an article on the making of the Xbox interface, and went through the process involved. Based on the requirements for the project that the article talked about, here are my thoughts on how I saw the end results:

  • Use of gaming controller – Left and right keys for the main sections and up and down keys for the list of options in each section definetly makes a lot of sense. The controller’s color-coded buttons are also used well.
  • No complex dropdown menus – Individual screens for more complex options are used with a web browser approach of having a back button that always takes you back in the steps that you took to get there.
  • Larger type (16-point or higher) to see on TV screens from a distance – Large titles for each section and shorter lists of options, allows for larger text size. I have heard that on regular TV’s the text is still somewhat hard to read in some cases and works best on HD sets.
  • Appealing to international audiences – The color-coded sections and bright colors used throughout along with a clean, stylish look I think accomplishes this.
  • Use of overall brand design – There is some use of grey in combination with bright colors and a clean look that is similar to the hardware design, but in some cases the use of gradients makes the overall feel somewhat darker than the hardware and logo design are going for.

“In the end, the Xbox 360 interface came in under 3MB. It is slick and fast and, its designer’s hope, successful.”

I would say so.

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