November 15, 2013 10:52 am

IE and Xbox One: The best web on TV

On November 22, we’re going to get our hands on Xbox One! Whether you’re lining up the night before or are on the fence about which console to buy this holiday, the team here at Internet Explorer is psyched to share with you more detail around the best browser for the big screen in your house – Internet Explorer for Xbox One.

So what’s the big deal? Three things. First, the sites you love on the web do more than just work in Internet Explorer for Xbox One. Because we built Internet Explorer for Xbox One with support for modern web standards like HTML5 and CSS3, your favorite sites are going to look amazing on a television. Second, how you navigate the web is up to you. With Xbox One you can navigate the web with your voice, use gesture input with Kinect, grab an Xbox One controller, or pick up a companion device with the Xbox SmartGlass app. Finally, any pinned sites or favorites you saved in Internet Explorer on your Xbox 360 will be pulled forward to your Xbox One.

About a year ago we launched Internet Explorer for Xbox 360, and on November 22nd with the launch of Xbox One, we’re upping the ante. We increased support for modern web standards by over 200% from Xbox 360 to Xbox One. We’ve added browser features that you know and love from your Windows PC – website pinning, multiple tabs, inPrivate browsing, SmartScreen, Cookie blocking, and Do Not Track, and we’ve increased integration with Xbox SmartGlass so you can use your smartphone or tablet to not only navigate Internet Explorer on Xbox One, but be able to move websites back and forth from your television to your phone or tablet.

One of the things we’re most excited about is all the new possibilities available when you can multi-task with a full-feature browser on your television. Playing a video game and need a quick reference for how to get through a level? Snap Internet Explorer to the side of your screen and pull up a walkthrough on the web, voila – a companion experience on the same screen. Plus, with the massive upgrade in system performance on Xbox One, you can now multitask between Internet Explorer and other applications and games in real-time, which means you never miss a moment.

Keep on top of Twitter feed

Keep on top of Twitter feed while destroying an enemy.


Browse with multiple tabs

Browse with multiple tabs.


Hands off

Xbox One features brand new support for gesture navigation, where you can use your hands to navigate with Kinect, as well as voice navigation support.

Just say “Xbox, Select” when Internet Explorer is running, and you’ll see a list of the different voice commands that are available. Probably the most popular commands are “Browse to” and “Click On.” Internet Explorer uses the latest Kinect speech technology to let you browse to your favorite sites and click on any link on a page – all without lifting a finger. Xbox recognizes the most-visited websites in your locale, plus all of your favorite sites. So if you’re looking for the news, you can just say “Browse to New York Times.”

This list is tailored to you, and you can customize it as you’d like –even rename them to something more memorable.


Xbox Select

Just say “Xbox, Select” to see a list of voice commands.

With “Click on,” you can activate any link on the page. Just say “Click on… <followed by whatever you want to click on>.” For really long links, you can just say a few of the words. Internet Explorer will still understand. Plus, this is implemented in a web standards respectful way, so it will work with existing websites, with no extra work required by developers. Once on a page, you can use voice to scroll through the page, play back embedded media, view video full-screen, add to favorites and more. Just say “Xbox, Select,” and you’ll see options as to what you can say.


Hands up

Gesture commands are pretty cool. They’re brand new for Internet Explorer on Xbox One.

Just reach out, and grab the page. Then move your hand up or down to pan around the page. You can also pull the page toward you to zoom in or push it away to zoom out. Move your open hand over a link and press it to click on it. And if the links are too close together on a page, the page will automatically zoom in so you can more easily choose one to press.


Grab the page to scroll

Grab the page to scroll, pull it toward you to zoom in. Press to browse a link.


Web Developers, get on the biggest screen in the house

Are you a web developer or designer? We think you’ll love Internet Explorer on Xbox One. Not only does it represent a massive leap in technical quality bringing the modern web to TV screens, but it adds the opportunity to engage your audience in new rich scenarios.

On Xbox One, your sites just work. Because of that, you don’t have to develop your site specifically for Xbox One, but if you choose, below we have some tips for site optimization that will aid you in creating awesome 10’ experiences. Shortly after the launch of Xbox One, you’ll be able to find in-depth resources around building for Xbox One at www.modern.IE.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a couple key tips to keep in mind:

  • Because Xbox One supports multiple inputs, think about designing for the controller, in addition to touch, mouse and keyboard. If you have been using Pointer Events on your sites to power touch experiences already, great news! That technology fuels the multiple inputs for Xbox One. Your sites will just work with all these inputs; touch (gesture), mouse, keyboard and console
  • Utilize adaptive design. That will help ensure your site looks it’s very best when it’s full screen, or snapped to the side.
    • CSS Media Queries or JavaScript can be used to change the layout of your page based on properties of the device that is loading the page.
      • On mobile devices, consider reducing image quality to save bandwidth and improve performance
      • Minimize horizontal scrolling on narrow devices to improve readability
  • Avoid using plug-ins
    • Use HTML5 audio and video (h.264/AAC/MP3)
  • Avoid using pop-up windows

When thinking about how a user can take advantage of voice input – Internet Explorer automatically does the work to scrape the pages on your site for text, but you can help us by not rasterizing text in images and avoiding duplicative links such as multiple uses of “more” and “read article.” Also, this is a great opportunity to consider how accessible your design is. For example, make sure to use text in anchors, alt tags, and ARIA. This helps all users, even on other platforms, have the best experience with your site.

Gesture support is brand new for Xbox One – if your site is designed for touch, it will work well with gesture. Internet Explorer on Xbox One features a bit of cursor gravity to aid the user, so things like larger hit targets, less information density, and simple interactions will improve a user’s experience with gestures on your site. If you’re designing for mobile phones and tablets, these are likely things you’re already considering when designing great consumption-focused experiences.

Finally, with regard to content – the average user sits 10’ from their television, so most great 10’ experiences are optimized for content consumption, as opposed to content creation and or productivity.

Remembering these little things will help your web experience pop on any screen, and especially with Xbox One and Internet Explorer.


Are you in the U.S.?

We’re giving away two (2) Xbox One consoles! READ ON

The Internet Explorer team here in Redmond is so excited for this launch, we want to hook you guys up and get you playing online. We’ve got two Xbox One consoles we want to give away. Sorry folks outside the US, we have to keep this to the fifty states for this giveaway.

Each Xbox One consoles comes with a one-year Xbox Live subscription. Here’s how to get in on this:

  1. Live in the United States
  2. With new Internet Explorer on Xbox One, your favorite websites just work. Send us a tweet that includes the @IE handle and the hashtag #IEonXboxOne telling us about what you’re excited to experience in Internet Explorer for Xbox One.
  3. We’ll announce the two lucky winners picked at random on the @IE twitter handle at 6pm on Thursday November 21th! And we’ll ship you your sweet prize within two weeks.


Game on!

Your Internet Explorer Team

Updated November 8, 2014 2:14 am

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