Microsoft is testing its first major Xbox dashboard overhaul with the company’s new Fluent Design. Xbox One Insiders on the alpha ring will get access to a new Xbox One dashboard at 6PM PT / 9PM ET today, and it looks like a solid improvement from the existing one. Once again, Microsoft is focusing on speed of navigation and removing the splash screens that occur when you switch from sections like home, social, and my games / apps.
The tabs in the guide are now ordered horizontally, and you can switch between them using the Xbox controller bumpers or left thumbstick and d-pad. Sign-in, achievements, parties / LFG, friends, Home, messages, broadcasts, and a new action center (with settings) now form part of the updated guide. It works very similar to how it has in the past, but it’s much quicker to switch sections with the controller now. When you navigate to sections of the guide, there’s even a new stacked user interface to show you what you’ve left behind.
Perhaps the biggest update is a new Home interface on the Xbox dashboard. Microsoft is making this fully customizable with its Fluent Design elements. You can pin things like favorite friends to the home section, alongside games and apps. Pinned games will even show activity feeds, so you can see when a friend is playing a particular title.
Microsoft is also tweaking the community section of the Xbox One dashboard. A new activity feed layout includes a fullscreen view, with the ability to read comments fullscreen. Clubs, game hubs, and profiles have also been refreshed with this new UI, making them a little easier to navigate and follow.
While the Xbox One dashboard is the main focus of today’s improvements, Microsoft is also tweaking the game bar on its Windows 10 Xbox app. You’ll be able to enable or disable Game Mode on a per-game basis soon, along with new options for what audio you’re broadcasting through Mixer from the game bar.
Today’s updates are just part of a number of changes for the Xbox in 2017. Microsoft says it plans to unveil more features in the coming months for Xbox One, Windows 10, Mixer, and mobile devices.