You might boot up your PS5 or Xbox Series X on a daily basis and move through the menus without any hesitation. However, without knowing it, the UI on both platforms is a mess and Sony and Microsoft have made hundreds of mistakes across the menu systems on both consoles. The latest findings come from a site called Built For Mars that hosted a case study on the UX across both new-gen consoles.
The overall test put the UX on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X up to the challenge. According to the results, the PS5 requires 29.8% more input than the Xbox Series X to complete a range of tasks. This is mainly surrounding the console’s Control Centre that requires the player to move about the menus from one icon to the other in order to get to where they want to go.
One task compared the PlayStation Store on the PS5 to purchasing a game on the Xbox Series X. The test showed that the Xbox goes through three pages in order to enter the store, find the game and purchase it. However, the store UX on the Xbox requires a lot more screens a user needs to process in order to get to their target. In comparison, the PS5 store has 88 in general while the Xbox Series X/S includes 105.
In general, the Xbox Series X/S UX requires 19% more screen changes than the PS5. This then feeds into the general usability of the console. The test showed that the Xbox UX often shows screens on the UI that are not relevant to the user at all. This is related to ads, information regarding achievement progress and more.
The PS5, on the other hand, does a much better job at this. When a user is on the home screen, the cards and information provided mainly relate to the details they want to see. Content that is important to the game they are playing etc. While both consoles have the same number of actions in view, the Xbox shows less useful information compared to the PS5.
In terms of getting around, the test showed that both the Xbox dashboard UX and the PS5 menu system are bad at user input and general navigation. They make common mistakes such as not autofocusing on fields on the screen. Other UX mistakes include:
- Not auto-focusing on fields when there’s only one field/action on the screen.
- Not auto-proceeding between the month and day fields in a date-picker.
- Empty states without actions (e.g., “no WiFi connected” without a link to connect the WiFi).
- Poorly-labelled settings (e.g., the difference between Playstation’s ‘Avatars’ and ‘Profile pictures’).
- Basic functionality requires customer service (e.g., cancelling a pre-order on Playstation).
The test goes on to explain the issues with the achievement and trophy system across both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. While the PS5 might seem simple and easier for the user to understand, the prompt requires the user to interact with it in order to see what the trophy was about. However, on the Xbox Series X/S, this does it automatically.
You can read the full in-depth guide to the UX issues across both consoles here. It is quite an interesting read to consider. Especially how we often interact with these consoles on a daily basis and probably didn’t even notice the issues.