One of my favorite UI’s is found in Guild Wars 2. I found that they did a fantastic job optimizing their UI. Every interface in the game is designed with a bit of an artsy look, but it’s not so much that it looks like they went overboard or something. The interfaces look beautiful, but they also function extremely well, and are very easy to navigate.
As I previously stated, Guild Wars 2’s interfaces are very nice looking. The art style looks kindof like they are all painted on your screen. They use primarily bland colors, like browns and grays, which is perfect because it doesn’t draw your attention away from what you’re doing. If you look more closely, however; there are lots of vibrant colors hidden in with the bland ones, which you don’t necessarily notice until you take a moment to appreciate the art style. Everything is well sized too. It’s all just big enough that you can see everything clearly, but it’s not invasive, unless it’s something meant to be invasive like the character management screen.
It is extremely easy to navigate around the interfaces in this game. The buttons in the top left all take you to different interfaces and the symbols used for them are very easy to understand. Once you’ve gone through them once it’s very easy to remember what does what. When navigating around the menues after just a short amount of playtime you find yourself easily flying through the different screens to get what you need with no problem. There is also plenty of feedback in the interfaces. Just about every action makes some sort of sound. When moving items in the inventory for example there’s a quiet sound of items shuffling in a backpack. It’s the simple things like that that really add a nice feel to the game.
One of the worst interfaces I’ve used comes from Arma II. Nothing was good about it really. It was very confusing to use and not visually appealing at all.
To put it plain in simple, the UI in Arma II is ugly. REALLY ugly. It’s all brown and green, and that’s about it really. You do have to keep in mind though, that Arma is technically more of a simulator than a game. It’s kindof on the edge between straight up sim, and a game.
Also just plain bad. The menu can be very confusing, and simply just doesn’t work half the time. For example, if you want to interact with something, you have to look at it, then roll the scroll wheel and some options with numbers come up. You can then use the scroll wheel to cycle through the options or hit the number for the action, but the numbers don’t work half the time anyway. It’s very poorly optimized so a lot of the menues take a bit to load up and aren’t nearly as responsive as they should be. The inventory screen is abysmal and confusing. There’s no feedback whatsoever for a lot of actions in the inventory, so when you try to do something you can’t do, you have no idea what’s going wrong. There’s no weird sound that plays or error message or anything.