Xbox Live is Microsoft's online service for gaming and content distribution for the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One videogame systems. Xbox Live allows you to play games against other people online as well as download demos, trailers, and even full games in the Xbox Live Arcade. In addition to gaming considerations, Xbox Live is the ultimate entertainment destination, allowing users to also listen to streaming music, via apps or from your local network, and offers a vast array of television and movies by way of video-streaming applications. Lastly, Xbox Live offers yet another means by which to browse the Internet.
My role was in designing menus for applications such as ESPN, Hulu, Netflix, Xbox Video Chat, Kumo Chat, Zune and many others. These menus could seamlessly slide from side to side, and individual cells could parallax to create an astounding 3D effect. This required the use of flow-charts and motion studies to implement the menus using vector elements and timeline animations.
In addition to menus, I animated vector icons, moving text, images and photos provided for each of the above mentioned applications, as well as in other areas of the Xbox Live UI. It was also necessary to implement official sound-effects, in addition to other custom features specific to each of the companies being represented.
While I used many productivity tools and graphics software to accomplish these tasks, one of the tools I used was XUI, or the Xbox User Interface Tool. This was Microsoft's proprietary vector animation tool, which could easily be compared to Adobe Flash. XUI wasn't just used for the Xbox UI, but also for other programs, including Microsoft Windows, throughout the Microsoft Corporation. Using an Xbox Dev Kit in concert with the Kinect Visual User Interface (VUI), I had a fundamental role in helping to create many of the media-streaming apps that are in use today.
Met with Project Managers and UI Designers to discuss the expected direction of UI elements.
Created flow charts and wireframes using MS Visio when needed.
Created high-fidelity prototypes, including motion studies where applicable (Photoshop & XUI).
Performed user testing in Microsoft's usability labs.
Created final UI elements using Photoshop and XUI.
ESPN App - Main Portal
While I worked on many apps, one of the biggest ones was the ESPN app. My specific contribution was to research interactions, animations, and transitions through the above mentioned UX Research process. The following examples show the rotating viewing room I helped to design. I also designed and animated the animated text, and the exploding tiles on the far-left view-screen.
ESPN App - Slots
Hulu & Zune
I also had a significant contribution to both Hulu and Zune apps. Not only did I work on designing these apps, but they revolutionized my own personal, at-home entertainment experience. I dumped my cable TV not long after this, and started watching all my shows on Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, and other video apps.