The PS5’s UX is horrible
I love Playstation, it’s the console I had as a child, it always fascinated me; mysterious, powerful, futuristic, I was a genuine fan of Sony.
Sony had built my sensitivity towards aesthetics and stimulated me to become passionate about design, which I am immensely grateful for.
Today I am a product designer (Industrial, UX, UI) and I find myself criticizing the PS5 design, not because it is not aesthetically pleasing, but rather due to a series of details that together make the PS5 result in a bad design.
1 - The console is the wrong way around!
The console was delivered to many influencers and many of these experienced problems understanding its correct position and ended up positioning it upside down.
Why does this happen?
The frontal part of the console lacks a visual element that communicates which way is the right way around, there is no logo, no writing.
(The Sony logo is on the inside and barely visible, the Playstation logo on the frontal part is not visible either).
Furthermore, the ON/OFF, and eject button are too similar to each other making it difficult to distinguish between them, someone will definitely end up clicking the wrong button.
They could probably adopt Xbox’s solution, making the ON/OFF button the same for the console and controller.
They could add a completely different button to eject, in this way it is visually clear which way around is the correct one, and especially the user will not click the wrong buttons.
2 — The Base, a disaster
It is bizarre to find tutorial videos on YouTube on how to install something as simple as a base.
This, in fact, is certainly what turned out the worst, to install it, the user must understand how to rotate it, take out the screws from the secret port found below, remove the invisible small lid from below the console, place it into the port, hook the base onto the console and screw it on with a screwdriver which is not included in the package.
It isn’t a big deal to read the instructions, but we cannot claim that this is a good design.
Don Norman taught us the concept of “Affordance”, the form of an object must communicate the function itself, however, this is not the case.
In addition, we must say, this base is truly ugly! Complex, crooked, and visibly cheap.
There are two solutions that came to my mind, the first is to use a butterfly screw, already positioned in the hole, thus all one must do is tighten it once close to the console.
The second is to insert a laser-cut metal coin to tighten the screw.
3 — I’m naked don’t look at me!
An object must be beautiful on the inside, on the outside, behind, and from every possible angle.
The design team should hide and reorganize every industrial characteristic (screw, part lines, holes…etc) into an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. When we open a MacBook, the inside is marvelous, everything is perfectly under control, organized and symmetrical, if we open an Asus, probably it isn’t.
When we remove the console’s white walls, what we find inside is not at all aesthetically pleasing.
If the designer decides that the user can open it, they must also make the internal part pleasant, which is not the case for this console.
The surfaces are very complex and super industrial.
For example, at the top, we find this glossy surface which is none other than the black part of their logo that transpires from through the white panel.
This surface could’ve been made pleasant shaping it to form the logo.
To be attractive when the console is closed and attractive when it is open.
They could’ve even chosen to decorate the internal surface with PlayStation symbols.
4 — Holes everywhere.
On the inside, an excessive number of holes are present, some of these are created to hook the body onto it, others for the screws, and others to collect dust.
The idea of having holes to collect dust is fantastic! But visually speaking, these do not suggest, in any way, their true function.
Adding a label would (perhaps) clarify the function.
5 — Open SSD operation
The PS5 has a port where you can add an external SSD, to access this port you must remove a screw, and once opened, it gives you the impression of having opened something that shouldn’t have been opened in the first place.
The internal part is not friendly, it is extremely industrial.
We don’t know for certain what went wrong in the designing phases, if there was friction between the design team and engineering team or if there was a capital constraint that determined the final outcome.
Yujin Morisawa, the head designer responsible for the console design, has always been avant-garde and has a history of incredible projects with Sony. I enormously appreciate his artistic direction but I believe that the details of the final result have been neglected.
As a huge Sony fan, I tried to redesign the console, maintaining the same project brief: