Well, well. It looks like I remembered this series. It was put on hold, you see, simply because Groove got so much better it kind of eclipsed all other apps. Seriously, Groove has gotten a million times better. No exaggeration. If you haven’t tried it, its well worth signing up for your free month. But this is not an advert for Groove Music. With that in mind, lets go over how we can improve the Xbox app.
Love it or hate it, Xbox is a part of Windows now. Personally, its great being able to open the app and join a party with my friends playing on their Xbox. So functionally, its great. All the Xbox things I can think of, are in this app. In fact, I think that is its downfall. Its trying to hard to do too much. But lets start at the basics, shall we.
- Live Tile.
You know I love me those Live Tiles. In fact, if an app has a fantastic Live Tile but mediocre functions, well, I will install it anyways. A great Live Tile is the surest way to my heart. And I am sure I am not alone. So it pains me. Causes tears of questioning to run down my face, it does, that the Xbox Live Tile only shows me my Gamertag and Gamer Picture. With all the big data Xbox has gathered about me, it shows me who I am. Seriously. I know my GamerTag. I came up with it. I put it in with an Xbox Controller on an on-screen keyboard. More than once! This alone is enough to etch it into my mind for the next 20 years. In fact, I might forget my best friends name before I forget my Gamertag because of this. Please, please, please, for the love of cheese, show me more. MOAR! The possibilities are endless. From last game played, to last achievement won, to friends activity, to game completion ratio, to even the next easiest achievement to get. The Live Tile is supposed to make me want to “Jump In”. He he he. (PS: for the non-Xboxers – that’s their tag line in some ads). What do you want to see on the Live Tile? I can bet its more than just your GamerTag. If you agree with me, please go here to upvote this feedback!
I know we have all complained about the use of whitespace in websites, like Facebook, but the Xbox app is on another level when it comes to information density. I get people want to see EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE! But, can we tone it down a bit? When I go into the Xbox app, I am not looking for my last games played with my completion percent, I am wanting to go onto the Social Side of Xbox – what my friends have been doing. The right side bar is great and all, but it has Friends, Groups/Parties, Messages and Activity Alerts (Notifications really). We have four, 4, coloumns just by opening the app. Does this not seem excessive? Clicking on the Achievements menu item takes me to my Achievements which I can get by clicking on my Name and Picture. I get there is a lot of info that it needs to showcase, but surely there is a more modern design for this? Windows 10 apps are starting to move to the Menu on top slash piviot – just look at Photos and even in Groove and People. The Xbox interface has piviots (or tabs) to move between screens. The Xbox app has a hamburger menu… I rest my case. Maybe make it more like the Xbox dashboard? If you think it should be more like the Xbox dashboard – feel free to upvote this! If you think it could do with a make over to just make it less information dense, upvote here!
- Fluent Design.
The Xbox Beta app is toying with this idea, but its not enough. Take the People app for inspiration. The entire window should be transparent and the content should be solid. Just to see the transparency and the fluid motion in the app would make it seem way more alive. Man, it would look so good. You know it. I know it. Lets get this upvoted – HERE!
- Always Signing In.
Open the app and it loads, and loads, and loads… Why does this take so long? I don’t know. It should be almost instant, or it should cache some info at least. This happens across all devices – PC, phone, tablet. And to everyone I know. Even those lucky enough to have gigabit fibre internet. So its an app issue. Speed is the name of the game here guys. I open it to see whos online and with the app loading, it could mean missing someone by a minute. Does it start up slow for you too? You may want to upvote this…
- Achievement List Is Broken
You go to Achievements, looking to see your completion ratio for certain games. The Monthly Leaderboard loads and the circle spins underneath it. Eagerly you sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Until “Something went wrong with loading this info. Try again later.” pops up and you don’t get you list. I have tried this on phone, PC and tablet. Many different installs. Many different versions. Xbox and Xbox Beta. It never loads. Test it out yourself and if it doesn’t load, here is the feedback item!
- Bonus Wishlist Item: Steam Achievements Converted To Xbox Live Achievements
This will never happen, considering Gabens stance on Windows (“The sky is falling! Install Linux quickly!”), but with a few checks and balances, it would be awesome if Xbox Live detected a Steam game that is on Xbox too. And then synced up the achievements! It would end up with a lot more people in the Xbox ecosystem I can imagine, but even I must admit, this would be a herculean task. The background effort that will have to be put in to this would make it completely non-viable. And too be honest, I would prefer if the Xbox guys just continued to focus on making the Xbox experience as awesome as possible. Which they seem to be doing very well. I have no feedback for this, simply because I realize how much of a mad man would even suggested this.
Well that’s all I have for this list. For now. I will probably think about a million other things when it gets to bed time. As you can see, the Live Tile and the Layout are my biggest sore points. I can just see so much potential for this app to go from good to great. And I would love it if just having the Xbox app on people’s computers would make them want to buy an Xbox.
I really love the Xbox brand, the team, Phil Spencer, everything Xbox. In fact, I even have a podcast about Xbox. If it seems like I am harsh on it, its only because its such a great platform. If you haven’t yet, I seriously suggest you Jump In. Join the 50 million odd Xbox Live Members and lets go shoot things in Destiny!
PS: We love you Phil!