to join the Xbox community. Not a member yet? Join now!
Features

Xbox One's new dashboard - nine things you need to know

Log breaks down the new interface

You should know a fair bit about Xbox One's user interface by now, thanks to our burgeoning list of tricks, tips and features, but there's plenty more to tell. Log went to see the dashboard up close recently - here are nine things he learned in the process.

1. Your personal screen is ad-free
Once Kinect recognises you, it'll log you in and show you your personal screen. This screen is dominated by the "big ass tile", which contains what you were last doing. A friend feed runs down the left, like a media-obsessed Facebook. To the left are your pins - and you can pin apps, games, or deep-linked content within an app. To the right, are the stores. From what we saw, this is an ad-free zone - which seems odd, considering the opportunity for personalised ads.

If you've just come from watching live TV, it'll continue to run in the "big ass tile". God, I hope the phrase "big ass tile" doesn't ever catch on to the point where I'm comfortable dropping the speech marks.

2. "Xbox shows my stuff"
If someone else in the room has got their personalised dashboard up, and you've got something tucked away in your personal pins you want to show off, says "XBOX SHOW MY STUFF" to claim the dashboard.

3. Tongue-tied? Don't worry
You don't have to issue an entire, complete command. Say Xbox, and you'll be given a palette of possible, relevant commands. Say Xbox Snap, and you'll be presented with all the Snap-friendly apps. IE is snappable, although you'd need some pretty responsive web design to work in such a narrow column.

4. Apps can see what you're doing
It's easy to forget your friends can see your activity, frequently with some bonus information - leading to messages from friends telling you to "play Halo 3 on Legendary as God intended FFS". Now apps can use that information, too - Machinima will use it to provide you with info not just relevant to the game, but to the level you're on.

Close Close

5. One Guide to rule them all
The Xbox One's new Guide - not to be confused with the Xbox 360's pop-up menu - is a bespoke channel for TV and apps, and won't be fully functional in the UK at launch - it'll kick off properly in early 2014. Here, you can browse your pinned channels, along with feeds from your installed apps. So Channel 4's live schedule can appear right next to "recently released on LOVEFiLM".

6. Skype hunts you down
While the new Kinect isn't motorised, it's mobile in its own way - during Skype conversations, if you move around the room, it'll pan and zoom to keep you in the centre. If there are more people, it'll try to keep everyone involved. So you don't have to sit on your hands.

7. Do Not Disturb feature to follow?
One of the worst things about watching a DVD on Xbox is the stream of notifications from friends logging in - and that's only going to get worse, with 1000 friends. We asked if there'd be a way to say "Xbox - Don't Show Notifications Until The Doctor Who Special Has Finished", and the vague response implied that it would be accessible via menu settings. Microsoft, hear our request: Introduce this command: Xbox, Do Not Disturb.

Close Close

8. You can snap TV to games
Really. You can watch TV in a narrow sidebar while you're playing a game. That's a feature now. Our initial response was "who the hell would want to.." until we realised that we already play games on our tablets while the telly's on. Maybe we're evolving. Maybe soon we'll be wearing omnigoggles and getting ten distinct kinds of stimulation speared directly into our brain.

9. You can control the TV with your voice
Kinect features an IR blaster, and a range of voice commands are tailored to your TV. We saw Xbox Mute, Xbox Volume Up and Down in action. Jumping to channels wasn't demonstrated. We suspect this won't be available until Xbox sorts out its partnerships with UK TV providers, and gets the Guide up and running.

And here's our mammoth piece on Xbox One's design philosophy, plus features on the new Achievements system and the overhauled Xbox Live Reputation system.

Comments