The PS3 and PSP Interface

i wrote up an interesting (to ui geeks) glob over on the joystiq forums about this ps3 video that’s making the rounds today.

now, on to why the menu for the ps3 and the psp is bad ui design.

usability studies have shown that people “search and select” when it comes to navigating interfaces. they evaluate their choices and then select the option that seems to meet the requirement of getting closer to meeting their goal.

the ui for the 360 dashboard has many (relatively) tightly descriptive options for each navigation choice. you are never lost. it is a conscious decision as to where to go next. the consistent labels help to make it clear as to where you are going next. is it perfect? no, of course not. parts of it still make me cringe, but there is always room for improvement.

the psp and ps3 however, make the mistake of form over function. i’m not exactly sure who they’ve got designing their ui, but jakob nielsen would have a heyday were he in the console business.

off the top of my head:

1) there are no descriptive labels until you start navigating. this breaks the “search and select” mentality.

2) to make it worse, once you stop, they go away and you are left with no labels at all — again.

3) the icons are too similar in size, color and placement to each other. this makes it easy to lose your place.

4) important text labels are partly obscured by other parts of the ui — to facilitate the nice, “boxes and arrows” type of design, of course.

yeah. i’m a ui geek. meh. whatcha gonna do?


A Bit of PS3 Nostalgia

just since today seems to be the day that a huge wrecking ball crushes the thing that will be the ps3, i’d like to share a bit of nostalgia with you guys about the cause of sony’s manufacturing problems.

the blue laser.

the aperture is the biggie tho. i really don’t know how to convey the craziness that is the blu-ray optical head. you’re increasing the width of the laser by 40%, running it though a completely newly invented, crazy dual-lens assembly thing to get the smallest-ever-concieved divot on the disc. it’s truly almost a magical thing. the utter precision it requires is unlike any other pickup ever created. i mean, it’s like a freakin’ optical hard drive.

that choice quote is from a comment i made back in early february.

lots of fun quoatables here: m3mnoch’s blu-ray bashings

warning.  not for the faint of heart.  i’m a mean, mean troll.


Fumble, Fumble, Fumble


i’ve run out of clever sony “OMG!!!!” statements.

today’s sony and the rsx.

today’s sony and blu-ray.

yep.  the word you are looking for is implosion.


PS3 Writeup in Wired

great, encapsulating writeup in wired about the ps3.

runs through a lot of the same things i’ve been saying since as early as last november.

whew.  lots of funny stuff in there.


Sony Batteries Rule


er.  i mean, oops.  is any computer manufacturer anywhere gonna buy a sony battery again?

“Well-made lithium-ion batteries are perfectly safe,” he said. “This is a manufacturing problem and not an indictment of lithium-ion technology.”

so.  what roger’s saying is that sony is having issues with manufacturing something as simple as a battery?  whew.  good thing they aren’t trying to manufacture anything more complex.

oh. wait.