‘Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch User Interface’. Charlie Deets:

I wish I could rip into this system more and let you know how they could have done things better, but Nintendo really nailed so much of this interface out the gate. My main concern is what feature creep will do to this experience over time. I’ve seen the PS4 start as a fairly clean interface and become noisy and less reliable for the sake of added engagement. I hope Nintendo chooses not to go that route. Engagement doesn’t make a lot of sense in a system level games UI, since the primary purpose of the interface is navigation and control.

I’m shocked this is the same company that made the Wii U’s interface which I remember as slow, unintuitive and far less refined. They seem to have learned from experience and responded with an interface that directly combats the most obvious issues of that design and implementation.

Completely agree. The Nintendo Switch blows away the Wii U in terms of UI performance. Simplicity aside, users will put up with a lot if the system feels fast. Make it slow and every rough edge becomes a knife. Back to Mr. Deets for a note on the Switch’s UI accessibility:

They handled the problem with various display types by slightly over-scaling the whole UI. Buttons feel large on a television display, but touchable on the mobile device. Text is used minimally. The fonts are regular to medium weight, and generally legible. The interface is high contrast. There does not seem to be any accessibility settings for the type, which shows that Nintendo feels confident the UI is legible in most scenarios. The only accessibility option I have found is the ability to invert the colors or display the system in greyscale.

From a visual standpoint, again, I agree — the Switch UI looks straightforward and readable. However, being unable to remap controller buttons feels like the larger accessibility concern that should have been addressed before launch. People own gaming consoles to play games, and accessibility of the system needs to extend beyond the menus.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

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