A major update is coming this fall to the Xbox One prior to the release of the Xbox One X in November. Microsoft began rolling out the first test build of this update to members of its Insider program Monday to check out an all-new home screen, guide menu, and community section that makes use of the company’s Fluent Design System.
Those in the Xbox Insider Alpha Ring will start to see the latest update hit consoles and Windows 10 PC later today. This first step of Microsoft’s Fall Creators Update will focus almost exclusively on the user interface (UI) with a major redesign to how console gamers view content and get around.
The update makes use of the Microsoft Fluent Design System, which was first announced at the company’s Build conference in May. This is another evolutionary step away from the flat “Metro” design used with the Xbox One launch, but it still attempts to retain a clean, easy-to-look-at design. “Blocks” are used in combination with effects to communicate light, depth, motion, material, and scale to the user. More importantly, Microsoft will allow gamers greater customization options to their home.
Home Screen Redesign
What that means for the Xbox One is a move away from the sometimes-jumbled home screen, which has already received one major redesign. The screen is divided into different areas. The first is to launch the last played game while the next two are to provide suggestions to the user, like usability tips and friends. There’s also a small Xbox promotional space.
The main action is what happens below that. There is a strip of icons leading to the Xbox Owner’s library of games and apps along with the last three played titles plus two more promotional items. Scrolling the page down introduces the “Block” concept to the Xbox One. Users can choose to add games, apps, users, clubs, and other items as their own separate block on the home screen. These can also be moved around in order of preference.
Xbox One Guide
The Xbox One guide has been reorganized in an attempt to make everything accessible even faster to the user. The tabs have been moved to a horizontal bar across the top that can be scrolled through quickly by using the left and right bumper buttons on the controller.
Additionally, Microsoft has made the guide layered so windows of the user’s selection will stack upon one another and provide a breadcrumb trail of sorts back to the starting point.
The Communities hub for the Xbox One is given a touch-up as well. The Activity Feed along with Game Hubs, profiles, and Clubs have all been reorganized to present the user with more information at a glance. Microsoft is also trying to make things more readable, such as allowing users the option to expand the comment window to full screen.
[Featured Image by Xbox]