The Xbox One dashboard is getting a long-awaited redesign
Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Ring can try it out for themselves right now.
The Xbox One's dashboard has been a constant source of frustration ever since the console's launch. Its tile-based interface was designed during the brief touch-screen phase Microsoft went through while developing Windows 8. The fact that Windows 10 abandoned much of that design speaks to how poorly it went down with users.
Now, Microsoft is finally giving the Xbox One dashboard its own much-needed overhaul. In a detailed blog post on Xbox Wire, vice president of Xbox platform engineering Mike Ybarra laid out the major interface changes coming to Xbox One in the next system update.
As Ybarra shows off in the video above, the new interface places a strong emphasis on customisation, with users able to personalise their Home screen by pinning content blocks to it. These content blocks can provide quick access to your favourite games, your closest gaming buds and the latest free games on Games With Gold. Content blocks can be added, removed and moved around as you please, and the new system promises to make it much, much quicker to find the things you actually want.
The Xbox Guide has also been significantly tweaked, with the section tabs repositioned up top so that you can quickly switch between them using the bumpers on your controller. General Guide navigation looks a lot faster too, with far less lag when it comes to issuing commands. The Guide also houses more information now, with multiple Guide windows opening up as you drill down your friends list or check out your notifications. This saves you from having to fully exit your game just to access basic system and social functions.
Updates to the Community section seem somewhat less appealing. Microsoft has gone for a "mass consumption" approach, with the Community activity feed now stuffed with even more information than before. It's supposed to provide a broader snapshot of what your friends and Clubs are getting up to, but it honestly looks kind of messy. At least Ybarra promises that Microsoft will listen to all of the feedback that Xbox Insiders will provide as they get their hands on this update, so things could change between now and the update's public release.
Members of the Xbox Insider program's Alpha Ring can take the new dashboard for a spin right now, and it'll be rolling out to other Xbox Insiders later this year. No word yet on when the update will go live for all Xbox One owners, but we'll keep you posted as soon as we know more.