Xbox One UI Update - Major Issues
The most recent overhaul of the Xbox One UI has been annoying me for months with it simply not having nearly as much ease of use as the previous Plex UI. The UI looks a bit nicer, sure, but in terms of navigation and feature completion it doesn't feel worth it at all.
So here are the major things that are annoying me with this, making the update definitely feel like a huge downgrade overall:
- Difficult to switch between media types (Films/Shows/Photos/Videos)
The first time it took me ages to even figure out how to browse all my available TV shows. It still continues to be an awkward process switching between ones, especially since you can't switch from one view to the other, you first have to go back 'Home' in order to go to a new media type.
- Playlists are almost impossible to find
Hint: you have to select a media icon, but without 'clicking' it. Highlighting the media icon itself opens up a new view (which happens quite subtly as the screen refreshes in-place), and playlists are near the bottom of it, yet this isn't obvious at all, and is very counter-intuitive. If you try to use the app in the way that feels natural, you may simply never find the playlists.
- It is now impossible to watch a watched series/season from a particular episode
You cannot simply mark an entire season as un-watched any more. The episode view has been completely removed, leaving only the season view. And instead of the 'Mark as Watched' button affecting the entire season, it affects the currently highlighted episode, meaning I'd have to individually mark each episode as un-watched in order to re-watch an entire season with Plex keeping track of where I'm up to. This is insanely inconvenient for me.
What makes this even more annoying is that you also can't 'Play' the series from a particular episode any other way, you instead have to play each individual episode one by one. Since the season view only has per-episode controls ('Mark as Unwatched', 'Play', etc.), you can only play one episode, whichever one you have highlighted, and Plex doesn't play the next one after it's finished, which is very unimpressive compared to Plex on other platforms and previous versions. You also can't add episodes to any kind of now playing list unlike other versions of Plex, nor can you add it to any normal playlist, which is another thing I remember previously being able to do on the Xbox One app.
- It is now too easy to accidentally skip to half way through an episode because the joystick moved
So imagine I've finally gotten that mid-season trilogy in my favourite show to play, by individually marking each episode as un-watched and playing (since I can't just play from the first episode). I then relax and put the controller aside. But oh no, I accidentally wiggled the joystick a tad. No harm done right? No, it skipped to 10 minutes into the show for some reason. Now I have to figure out the exact gesture to get it to skip 10 minutes backwards, or something less convenient. It seems that the joysticks are dual-function. If you haven't pressed anything in a while and the UI focus is gone, then wiggling the joystick will totally mess up your progress in the episode. If you have just pressed something to make the UI appear, then moving the joystick left and right will only select the playback icons on the screen.
It would be much better if the joystick only selected the icons on the screen, thus making the easily to misfired joystick control non-destructive (basic UX stuff!), and making it easier to actually select those icons on the screen when you want to (I always find it an awkward process of tapping the A button until the UI appears so I know I won't do anything wrong with the joystick). It would make much more sense to seek using the joystick only when the user has pressed a button and then maybe highlighted a seek bar. As it is now, doing either action is both tedious to do on purpose and too easy to do accidentally, which is a bit of a hallmark of bad UX in my professional but in this particular case uninvolved opinion.