One of the problems with having joined Microsoft is that it's harder to criticise. Anyone who has attended my courses (coming up at OzChi, by the way) knows how I rely on sympathetic critique to build interaction design skills. However, since joining Microsoft if is harder to criticise others - coz they are possibly competitors, or else don't have the same resources as Microsoft. On top of that it's harder to criticise Microsoft, too, since I am effectively criticising my colleagues.
On the new Halo 3 Silverlight site I found this page, which has a simple problem of feedback (and 'Visibility of system state').
When I click 'Vehicles' I got this:
Cool. Then I clicked "UNSC Vehicles" and I got this:
So I clicked "Covenant Vehicles" and I got this:
So it looks like "UNSC Vehicles" must have been selected when I first arrived - but there was no way to know that (unless I had prior knowledge that UNSC vehicles only come in monochrome).
It's a simple problem of Feedback. At the very least, the selected option should be highlighted (the buttons do have a rollover highlight).
If I was to go further, there is also a problem of Hierarchy of Control. The buttons at the bottom-right drive the content of the rest of the page, but the Visual Hierarchy does not suggest that. Simple solution? Consider moving the buttons to the top-left. That would more naturally indicate the relationship between the elements on the page - especially for users who are used to reading in a left-right, top-bottom way.
Does this mean I have to give my Halo jumper back?