The PS3′s XMB is generally considered to be the best interface possible for a console that not only plays games, but has full access to various types of media, the internet and TV. It’s not flawless, however, something that some fans of the system have taken to heart, producing their own takes on what the XMB should look like.
If you’re a regular visitor to NeoGAF you’ll no-doubt already have seen these screens in which one artist goes into great lengths to tweak the PS3′s current UI and get the most out of the pop-up notifications that don’t really work the way they should do just now. We spoke to the artist behind them, PSN ID Caemgen, who let us reproduce the visuals here.
The PS3′s invite system.
This is something that really needs looking at, and the biggest problem just now is that the PS button should be context-sensitive but isn’t. On the 360, if you press the big X button in the middle of controller its function changes depending on what’s on screen. If it’s a friend signing in, for example, the X button will bring up their Gamercard.
Caemgen’s idea is that the notification pop-up in the top-right hand corner of the PS3 should offer a little more information, and offer context-sensitive functions. In the example above, game invites should allow the player to immediately accept the offer of an invite with a tap of the PS button, rather than having to dig deep to read the message first.
If it’s a message, the PS button should bring up the message, rather than having to scroll through the XMB to your friends list and then to the message inbox just to read a message. Yes, in-game XMB has made the job of keeping in touch with friends a lot easier, but it’s far from perfect and normally two steps two many.
Likewise, Sony should play to its strengths with regards to Home. Rather than hiding it away on the XMB, they should promote the free service with optional overlays on the main interface screens, like the one below. Caemgen suggests a snapshot of each Friend’s Home avatar and what they’re doing would be a nice feature.
Especially if, as you can see in this zoomed-in version, you have the option to join them with just a tap of the Select button rather than having to load up Home and then go and find your friends via another interface. Caemgen also suggests that this box on the right hand side of the XMB be used for other things, like Trophy counts.
As you can see, as you hover down your Friends list something like the below box would show what that Friend has gained in terms of new Trophies, but it could also show their top scores in whatever games you’ve both been playing recently, for example. This kind of cross-feature promotion would work wonders.
As I’m sure you’ll agree, some great ideas there – simplifying the communication aspects first, but also offering up ways to get more out of the space around the XMB without cluttering anything else up anymore. I really would like a context-sensitive PS button first, though, to me that seems like a priority. Anything else would be a bonus.
What do you think about these ideas? Is there anything you would agree with in the list of concepts above, or ineed is there anything else you’d like to suggest as new features for the user interface? As usual, let us know in the comments and if there’s anything spectacular we’ll maybe have a go at doing some mock-ups of our own, and send them to Sony.
Thanks again to Caemgen for the permission to use his ideas.