So I was playing on my Xbox 360 the other day, when I got a notification that I unlocked one of the achievements for the game. Realizing this, I pressed the center Guide button on my controller to bring up a list of the achievements for the game, including the one I just received, to read more about it.
The reason this is good design is because the system is anticipating the user’s goal. You see, the Guide button has several functions. The main one being that when pressed, it brings up a generic menu with options. However, if pressed soon after a notification is received (whether it is a new message from a friend, or an invitation to play a game), the system will bring up information related to that notification. So, if I get a message from a friend and press the Guide button in time, the Xbox will bring up the message for me to read instead of the menu. This keeps the user from having to take an extra step to complete their goal, because the system is already taking the user to their intended destination.
Great thinking on Microsoft’s part, in my opinion. Sony’s PS3 doesn’t do this, after all. And although a simple function, this benefit really does enhance the user experience for the system.