For the most part, I consider the SLT series' control layout and design kind of ugly, but functional. It's got a typical layout, with direct-access buttons for drive mode, ISO sensitivity, white balance and display options, plus a function button to pull up access to frequently used settings like drive mode, flash, focus area and mode, metering, and ISO sensitivity. My biggest problem here is that there's no way to quickly change image quality; if you switch between burst JPEG shooting and single-shot raw+JPEG, that's essential. An even bigger problem is the placement of the movie record button, which is on the right shoulder of the camera next to the exposure compensation button (and farther left, the exposure lock button). I consistently hit the exposure compensation button and couldn't figure out why recording hadn't started.
Sony puts the mode dial on the left shoulder of the camera. It's a good location, since it frees up the right side for controls better operated by that hand. That said, I'm not sure the D-Range Optimizer button is the best choice for that spot, though you really couldn't put any button/dial combo button there as long as the dial needs to be operated by your forefinger.
In addition to the typical PASM modes and a couple of auto modes, the mode dial has a new Tele-Zoom high-speed shooting mode, which is just a digitally zoomed 8-megapixel 7fps burst mode; 3D and Sweep panoramas; and a handful of scene and special effects modes.