The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the 5th installment of The Elder Scrolls series made by Bethesda. You take control of a created character who turns out to have mystical powers once thought to be extinct. Skyrim is considered an open-world game due to it's vast amount of content. From defeating bandit fortresses, to looting caves, to being a pivotal role in a civil war, this game has something for everyone. Skyrim was released for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch (soon as of writing this). Seeing as it was meant primarily for console play, the screenshots taken are on a PC using a controller. This way I could capture the original UI to it's full effect.
Please note, Skyrim supports user created modifications (mods). I will be analyzing the original UI without mods.
Skyrim's UI is simple and minimal with a touch of Norse knots on corners, arrows, and check boxes. Much of the UI comes in panels. The inventory, crafting, looting, and bartering all have the same theme of a panel that enters from the left. Any sort of tooltips appear from the bottom of the screen and sometimes overlap with the left panel (see Alchemy crafting). Any sort of actions that can be taken appear in the middle of your screen under your targeting indicator. The top line in the action is always what your going to be doing, the middle line is what you're doing it to, the last line is any sort of information like armor rating or value and us usually separated by a white line.
The typography is Skyrim is a condensed sans serif font with a large x-height. Bethesda uses bolding, colors, capitalization, and sizes to make a clear visual hierarchy. You can see that when you look at an item. Bethesda does not use a different font for titles or important information. This also gives a sense of cohesion throughout the game as you don't see any variation in type family.
The colors in Skyrim's UI are minimalistic as well. The bulk of colors used are white, black, and grey. There most notable injection of color is in the HUD bars for health, stamina, and magika. Bethesda uses red for health, green for stamina, and blue for magika. There's a small gradient on these bars from light to dark and a highlight to give it a 3D look. Another use of color would be when stealing or pickpocketing. The items you could steal are indicated by the red color of their text. Once stolen, they are white in your inventory but have a small "stolen" word in the top right corner of their description.
Skyrim's UI really shines when navigated with a controller. Players of the PC version often boast about using SkyUI, a user created mod that is meant to be navigated with a mouse and keyboard. However, there are some things I would change in the original UI when using a controller. For instance, telling the player how much gold the player has to give in order to purchase an item might be overlooked. The wording "value" might be misinterpreted or missed due to placement. There are also places when the lower tooltip overlaps with the left navigation menu. This happens in the bottom left corner and could be fixed by merging the panels.