Specifically, concerning the UI, yes, it has improved.
It is now much faster between each button press. Battle commands are now input with a 99% success rate. The action que system still gives the impression that some button presses are being lost, when in reality you need to wait longer to que the next action.
Canceling an spell is still counter-intuitive. You must select the spell (and target) a second time to cancel. In this case, if you want to que the same spell twice you need to wait and cast after the first is done.
There remians no verification that you have set an action to the que. For example , while you wait for your 1st ability to activate, you may cast "Cure". But you aren't sure that you put "Cure" in the que, so you go ahead and jab it again. Not surprisingly, "Cure" WAS in the que, but you cast it twice so now it canceled the first one.
You stand there expecting something to happen, you cast "Cure" twice after all. Instead, nothing.
Crafting: The crafting system UI has been improved greatly. There is now only 2 menus before you begin the synth, Recipe > Confirm. For Local Leves, the new "repeat Synth" command has made these synths twice a breeze. Simply hit: Repeat last synth? Yes.
Selling item to NPCs now takes far less time. The delay between items has been reduced. You now press only 2 buttons to sell items. Left to select the entire stack, and then Enter. Left Enter, Left Enter, Left Enter, it's much better.
Beside the UI specific improvements, you will find that the new Market Ward search and price history are a functional replacement for the traditional AH. You can find the item you want at the lowest price, you just need to walk there to pick it up. It still needs improvement, such as teleporting you direcly to the correct Ward when you click on the item/seller you want.
Overall, I think you will be happy with the UI changes, yet it is still not quite what we have come to expect in terms of speed and intiutive controls.
BONUS UI DISCUSSION: I think that the slight lag in UI is the price you pay for server-side authentication of commands. It is debatable that this authentication reduces hacking or cheating in a way that offers a decent risk vs. reward. I personally stop playing games after they become hacked to a certain point. I'm really not sure if I am willing to pay the price of a laggy UI to prohibit this. For one, people are going to hack/cheat anyway, but maybe to a lesser extent. Two, there should be better ways to prevent cheating then requiring a check for ever single action. Perhaps someone that understand this feature can better explain it. I do think authentication is central to an in-depth discussion of FFXIV's UI.
Welcome back to Eorzea. One tip, check out Behest. It is now a fairly popular and rewarding group activity for lower levels, head to Horizon and join in when you are Ranking 13-23. Enjoy!
Edited, Apr 4th 2011 2:37pm by SmashingtonWho