PlayStation 5’s September 2021 system software update introduced a big improvement to trophy lists, changing them to be easier to navigate.
The PlayStation 5‘s September 2021 system software update brought significant additions to the console’s operating system, including support for SSD storage expansion, 3D audio functionality with TV speakers, and more. One update that may fly under the radar, though, is an important change to the PS5’s trophy lists, greatly improving the user experience when browsing the requirements for PlayStation’s coveted digital awards.
When the PlayStation 5 launched, the trophy screen imitated its new Activity Cards feature. Accessed by pressing the PS button, the Activity Cards displayed above the Control Center can actually be quite intuitive, especially for PS5-exclusive games designed to utilize them. They can display useful information related to available voice chats, for example, or in-game quests in progress. It’s understandable if Sony initially wanted to utilize the Activity Cards’ UI design in more than one place, and the trophy lists seem like an obvious place for such implementation.
In practice, however, the design was terrible for browsing through trophies. Each trophy was given its own card, arranged horizontally across the screen. Individual trophy artwork dominated most of the real estate on each card, and the trophies’ descriptions were relegated to the bottom, where they were almost universally cut off due to lack of adequate text space. The layout resulted in a plethora of dead space above the cards, too, and users would have to press X to view each trophy’s full unlock requirements (with an additional press of the Square button if viewing a hidden trophy).
PlayStation 5’s New Vertical Trophy List Works Much Better
The new system software update for PS5 adopts a trophy list design reminiscent of the PS4’s. The updated lists are oriented vertically, allowing more information to be displayed per trophy. Each trophy’s icon now sits next to its name, grade (bronze, silver, gold, or platinum), and earned rarity among players. Unlocked trophies display the date and time they were awarded, right next to the trophy’s description, which now has space for up to three lines of text before being cut off.
This may seem like a minor change, but the new trophy lists should greatly alleviate the frustrations of trophy hunters. The previous layout was nothing but an annoyance, needlessly imitating other menus on the PS5’s OS. The new trophy lists still fit the console’s system aesthetics but are far more functional. Games are the obvious highlight of every new console generation, but system software UX updates like this show the difference the design philosophy of a console itself can make. It also seems to indicate Sony is acknowledging and acting on player feedback in an attempt to make the PlayStation 5 more user friendly.
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