Before the release of the Xbox One Manager, most developers and creators relied on a set of Command line operations on the Windows OS as the core interface for their daily operations as well as pivoting between multiple different tools in the dev kit. This posed a technical barrier and a bottle neck for the core game development process.
During user research, it was found that many game studios had developed their own internal graphic user interface (GUI) wrapper as a workaround to ease this pain point. In an effort to consolidate the disparate softwares as well as improve the onboarding experience, the Xbox One Manager was created.
90% of Xbox's app and game developers regularly interacted with 1 dev kit whereas the remaining 10% are larger AAA studios who needed access to over 100 dev kits at any given time. The platform had to be useful for both markets. In the past, game developers who interacted with multiple dev kits laboriously tracked what app/game/demo session was running on which dev kit, sometimes with I.P. addresses alone. With the new manager, they are able to create groups of different types of consoles, quickly rename their dev kit for easy reference, update their settings and visually see what is happening on each console without having to be physically located next to it.
For many studios, it is often a tedious experience to replicate bugs and test it across multiple consoles to identify the underlying issue. Through hardware integration of the gamepad input and leveraging previous internal technologies, we developed an intuitive GUI to navigate, replay as well as remotely view a bug across infinite consoles.
In order to successfully deliver a meaningful product, key collaborative efforts were required across Design, Research, and Product Development, which historically operated in silos. The partnership led to development of user research and usability studies with game studios, who have been yearning to have more say on the outcome of their experience. Major pain points of the products were addressed with each subsequent software update.
Five principles guided the direction the desktop application
1. Simple and intuitive GUI
2. Move from task A to task B confidently
3. Clean and uncluttered visual elements
4. Relevant feedback
5. Consistency and cohesion with branding guidelines
Initial concepts were developed on white boards to quickly edit, communicate across teams, and brought to life with papersketching and wireframes to convey the work flow.
Prototypes in Axure were created to simulate the product experience in front of target audience to quickly assess the validity of the direction of our solutions.