Anna Debenham: Playing with game console browsers

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Anna Debenham was speaking about Console Browsers at Responsive Conf, these are my notes from her talk.

Designing for console browsers makes for better sites. Whole range of inputs - voice, stylus, gesture, D-pad, second screen.

Console browsers are the ultimate torture test. 51% of children have a PSP or DS. 1 in 5 visit websites on consoles. Consoles are more common than phones for children. Browsers have been on consoles for 16 years.

New devices are coming with new form factors. The PS4 controller has a touchscreen.

Consoles don't have flash or support for HTML5 video tags. YouTube has to make separate apps for each platform which is why manufacturer's are moving standards support. Consoles typically have low memory so browsers perform poorly.

Due to the controller layout, browsing is a very differentt experience - especially entering text. Very different controls on different devices. The Wii has a single column view switch on the remote; Xbox can use a phone as a remote; Nintendo DS has a lower touch screen.

The WiiU is the clear leader, it uses a lot of HTML5 features. The 'tablet' controller is not like a traditional tablet experience. Web browsing on a TV is often a communal experience and the WiiU has features that assist that.

Xbox browser can pretend to be a mobile phone via UA switching - probably because mobile sites have better UI for consoles.

  • Device detection isn't future proof.
  • Make your design work for a rage of contexts - high contrast colour ratios.
  • Set a performance budget - consoles have very limited resources.
  • Add focus styles.
  • Expect diverse inputs - design and build for all contexts.


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