MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

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Barry4679
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MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

Post by Barry4679 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:18 am

I think that I have written enough here to demonstrate that I like the new features in MM5, and am looking forwards to migration.

There have been recent threads essentially discussing the limitations for a just-click-to-navigate user .. ie, a casual user of MM, or a user who is new to MM ... someone who has not yet discovered the new MM5 navigation|searching|filtering facilities, or just doesn't want to work that way.

So for this post I looked at MM5, mainly focusing on this area ... ie. the Media Tree, the Home node, and Browser view, and the Grid view under its various names.

I think in this area I would grade MM5 as a fail. There are areas that need addressing IMO.

Configurability

Next to no configurability ??!

This is a complete reboot of MM, but you have not offered any configuration options for what are effectively the "home" screens? ... eg. The Home node, and the Browser view for the top level nodes, and the Grid|Art|Media views for the sub-nodes.

The panels that you provide are attractive, but I would like to tailor them to my own Use Cases
  • or maybe I am a Classical Music fan, and would like to add an eye candy row (ie. where you promote a fresh "random" selection from my library) for Composer or Conductor ... or maybe I want to replace the artist selection with an Album Artist selection
  • maybe I want to tailor the sort sequence for the destination album grids (see below in the Sorting section)
  • maybe I want to define a default view mode for my custom collection ... eg. so that each time I open it, it goes to its AlbumArtist sub-node and to Grid view ... rather than just going back to wherever I went to, last time that I used this node

    if I upgrade to the Gold Edition, I can create my own custom collections, but I can't define my own sub-nodes or click navigation paths for my collections.
    • eg. you have hard coded a Genre>Album route for the Genres node, but I would like to define an additional node which went Genre>AlbumArtist>Album ... I proposed a simple (I think) mechanism for this here)
      The current navigation-by-clicks options in MM5 are poor. ... Yes I know that MM5 has wonderful navigation faculties, but there is also a place for navigation-by-click, and I would have expected that, with the Gold Edition, I would be able to configure MM5 for my own navigation preferences.

      Sorting

      Navigation using the Grid|Art|Browser panels leads down eventually to a grid of albums; sometimes a whole panel, and sometimes as an in-panel grid like this

      The sorting of this important album grid can only be described as a disappointing mess:
      • user configuration of the sort sequence is available in only two of the sub-nodes ... very very disappointing
      • the various sub-modes have a mix of different default, or fixed, sort sequences ... often not the optimal sort seq IMO

      album sort sequence configurable in these sub-nodes: Albums, Years
      album sort sequence NOT configurable in these sub-nodes: Artist, Albumartist, Genres, Composers, Conductors, Publishers

      sort by Date Released: for these sub-nodes: Artist|AlbumArtist, Composers, Albums, Conductors, Publisher
      sort by Album name: for these sub-nodes: Years, Albums, Location
      sort by AlbumArtist: for these sub-nodes: Albums
      sort by Rating: for these sub-nodes: Years
      sort by ???? (sorted by some field that is not displayed): for these sub-nodes: Genres
      no grid sorting: for these sub-nodes: Rating

      It just doesn't work IMO. ... eg. Genre ... I have a lot of Jazz albums ... The EntireLibrary>Jazz node takes three seconds to open ... and it opens a massive grid of nearly 900 albums, and the grid is in some undisclosed sequence .. and I can't change it.

      Or the Composer grid, where the albums are locked into Date Released sequence ... a really unhelpful sequence for a composer IMO .. I would want to be chose the navigation route that I need for whatever I am trying to do.
      • Composer>Genre>Album
      • or Composer>AlbumArtist>Album
      • or Composer>Genre>AlbumArtist>Album


      I think that album grid sorting urgently needs to be fixed and enhanced.

      Consistency

      There are little inconsistencies between the various modes and views. This modal nature of MM5 is its least attractive characteristic IMO. .. It makes MM5 harder to learn, and makes it longer to move beyond disorientation. ... It wastes a lot of time, because you end up thinking "I could do that yesterday", and you end up searching for things that are not there, because the behaviour or appearance is different for different modes. Examples:
      • MM5 offers navigation via clicks via its Browser|Grid|Art views ... all navigation terminates at a grid of albums ... the same for all sub-nodes, except the Rating sub-node, which has no album grid view ??!
      • MM5 offers limited sorting options for two of the sub-nodes, but not the others ... and for those lucky two sub-notes, the sort mechanism is compeletly different (details above)
      • why all the pencil watermarks in just the Genre sub-node ... it looks like they are action hot spots, but they are not
      • I can drill down from Decade to Year, in the Years node, if I have the Media Tree open ... but if I follow this navigation path, I can't get beyond decade
      • Nearly all sub-nodes have a Grid view ... except Albums where it is renamed Art view, or the Genres node, where it is renamed Genres
      • The Grid view for Years has grid tailoring facility ... it is not available in any other nodes? .... with this facility there can be a "toptracks" list in the Grid view ... if that is a good thing (unlikely IMO), then why is it not equally applicable in Genre view for example?
      I can understand that you tried various facilities while developing MM5 ... isn't time that you selected what worked, and then standarised on it so that MM5 is easier to use and learn?

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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Davo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:31 am

    @Barry
    I think in this area I would grade MM5 as a fail. There are areas that need addressing IMO.
    Agree!! & why no response from anyone ??

    Just to amuse myself i downloaded MusicBee loaded it with 500k files & guess what - It works out of the box, very fast, highly configurable & as far as i can tell none of the problems that you outline.

    Sure, It probably doesn't have all the new goodies that MM is developing, but in the meantime it looks pretty good & would satisfy my immediate needs.
    A response from the MM Project Manager would be appropriate here!
    David
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    Peke
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Peke » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:56 am

    I tried MusicBee today and it can't scan my NAS Network Location (They are not available/browsable) only Local Paths.

    Note that this is known issue that MM fixed few years back.
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Davo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:52 am

    @Peke
    With respect, I was expecting a response that addressed the issues raised in Barry's post. I can see the potential for MM to be a great Media Manager but at the moment it's a dogs breakfast & at my age i can't wait months/years for it to be sorted out.

    Having said that i will follow your development progress with interest.
    David
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    dtsig
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by dtsig » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:22 am

    Davo wrote:
    Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:52 am
    @Peke
    With respect, I was expecting a response that addressed the issues raised in Barry's post. I can see the potential for MM to be a great Media Manager but at the moment it's a dogs breakfast & at my age i can't wait months/years for it to be sorted out.

    Having said that i will follow your development progress with interest.
    I don't find it to be a "dogs breakfast" (what ever that means). and at 68 I can wait a while for things to settle down. I like MM5 and thing they are going in the right direction.
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Davo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:10 pm

    Hi DTsig
    I don't find it to be a "dogs breakfast" (what ever that means)
    "Did someone really say that? Yes, in response to the question “how did the meeting go?” and apparently it was a disaster

    What does it mean? It really just translates to a complete mess, mish-mash, hodgepodge or something that has gone very badly where the outcome wasn’t what was intended to be

    Origin: Since the 1930’s, the saying “dog’s breakfast” has been used in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries as slang for “a complete mess.” First recorded instance is from Eric Partridge, in the 1937 edition of his A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, the expression is listed as “a mess.” Although the origin isn’t exactly known, it alludes to the fact that if what you don’t succeed at what you are cooking, then the results are only fit for a dog. It’s usage can be widespread – from what a messy room looks like, to how a meeting went."

    So ok. MM5 is not a complete mess of course, but there are many issues to be sorted out & Barry has provided a good summary of some fundamental problems.
    I would like to know what others think & a response from the MM team would be helpful.
    David
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by dtsig » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:39 pm

    If it wasn't true then why did you say it. I think that the devs have been very good at replying to comments and suggestions and I believe that it is time to let them sort out the information and suggestions and see what they make of it. It would be much more productive than statements which you admit are not true
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Barry4679 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:28 am

    dtsig wrote:
    Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:39 pm
    I think that the devs have been very good at replying to comments and suggestions and I believe that it is time to let them sort out the information and suggestions and see what they make of it.
    I know that you are not talking to me, but as the OP I will reply.

    I agree with your statement 100%, and also, who knows what pressure and budgetary constraints they are working under.
    I am not impatient for a reply, because it is a big question ... but I would like a response to this feedback when they are ready.

    The original post in this thread was intended as a serious piece of positive criticism ... ie what this forum was designed for presumably?

    OK, I could have done better with the thread title. ... My intent was to try and make everybody read the thread, and for them to hopefully add feedback . I don't think that the changes I am suggesting are too large, but they are structural ... so it would be best if they get a variety of opinions before they make any plans re rejection, or accepting parts of it, etc.

    That was my intent, but maybe the title was unintentionally offensive ... I don't think so, but I don't know ... if offence was taken, I apologise.

    In essence I am saying that MM5 is a once in a decade re-write (MM4 was released in 2011). And that amongst all its great additions, it falls short of what should reasonably be be expected in some other areas:
    • I think that it falls short of what should be expected for a click-to-navigate user ... eg. novice users, casual users, and touch panel users (who seem to be a target for this new edition of MM btw)
    • I think that for a re-write it is disappointingly short of customisation options for what I think of as the various "home" panels ... ie. the Home node, and Browser View mode for the top level nodes, and the Grid|Art|Media view for the sub-nodes .... its 2019, we expect to be able to customise home screens .... MM5 customisation omissions:
    • .... a user configurable navigation path within the sub-node (eg. Genre>AlbumArtist>Album instead of the standard which is Genre>Album)
    • .... and album grid sort options (see next point)
    • .... and eye candy for Classical music fans also
    • navigation within each sub-nodes eventually descends down to a grid of albums ... it is disappointing that the user cannot set a default sort sequence, for the sub-node, for its album grid ... and (it gets worse) ... in all but two situations, the user cannot even change the grid sort sequence .. for the two lucky sub-nodes, the sort options are very limited .. in MM4 we had 6 sort options for the equivalent grid, everywhere ... and in MM5, there are different fixed sort sequences, on a node by node basis (?!), some of which are not even useful, ... and in one case it is hard to see how the grid has been sorted ... it sorted to nothing useful, that's for sure ... btw, I like fact that grid sort grouping has been removed .. if this is restored, please make it an option
    • and considered as a whole, there are a number of small inconsistencies in MM5, that I think are going to be obstacles and customer time wasters in the struggle to become proficient with MM5
    See the original post for details on each of these points. ... Here is an additional inconsistency example:

    The following Views have the Column Browser facility: AllTracks, AlbumArtists, Artists, Albums.Composers, Conductors, Publishers
    But for some reason, these Views do not: Genre, Years, Ratings, Classification ... why? the Column Browser would be equally useful there also.

    In MM4 I always have the Column Browser open ... I will probably do the same in MM5.

    But I can do this in MM4, but not in MM5 .... ?

    The Genre node doesn't even have a List or Album&Tracks view ... so frustrating!

    And another thing, navigation by breadcrumb is broken in Genre sub-node ... although this may be a bug, rather than a design issue

    The Genre Browser display in Grid mode can be toggled between Genre and Genre Categories mode. ... I am in Genre mode ... This toggle facility mucks up breadcrumb navigation ... ie. these are not my genres in the dropdown list (?) ... As you see I don't have "Latin & Caribbean" genres, and the list that they offer doesn't have Avantgarde, which is a genre that I do have ?

    I don't understand the value of this Genre toggle anyway ... it creates another nodal inconsistency ... and its not clear to me how it works ... ie. many of my tracks cannot be found in any of these hard coded "Genre Categories"

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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Peke » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:07 pm

    Hi,
    Someone would say "Big brother is watching". I am with DTSIG on this. We are watching and reading, but frankly Berry you are ahead of us and it is easier to find bugs than have time to fix it ;) Things are noted and individual issues are fixed, sorry for lack of reply.

    We are reading, and Talking about all three of you ;) in positive context, but we are more focusing on joining feedback and reports into fixes ATM as you raised few questions/things that we have not seen that way when considering things at design time.
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Ludek » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:49 am

    As Peke wrote, we are reading all the feedback and discussing it internally with the team.
    It is hard to reply (sort out and implement) all your items Barry ;-) (just even reading it all takes a considerable time).
    But as you know we are hearing and trying to make things still better.

    PS:
    The Genre node doesn't even have a List or Album&Tracks view ... so frustrating!
    Instead of trying to enable "Column browser" in the inline popup try to open the genre like in MM4 (or by clicking the genre title -- I see that it is another point that can be hard to discover) and you will see the column browser with Album & Tracks like this:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/wk2vm22m66z4o ... 8.png?dl=0

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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Barry4679 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:30 am

    Ludek wrote:
    Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:49 am
    As Peke wrote, we are reading all the feedback and discussing it internally with the team.
    It is hard to reply (sort out and implement) all your items Barry ;-) (just even reading it all takes a considerable time).
    OK, it is best if I stop providing feedback about the UI, and limitations as I see it, because it is probably only doing harm.

    I will just report bugs.

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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Peke » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:51 pm

    Hi,
    Write them down please. You will know when you should drop a bomb ;)

    MM5.0 is Functionality versions, real work on hammering things starts day0 MM5.0 gets released and on Day1 you should expect 5.0.1 Beta released.
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by BMF » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:13 pm

    Hi staff, hi Barry,

    because of Barry i changed the current language of MM5 from german to english. This way i could follow what Barry is pointing out (okay, it makes it easier for me too to give my little input). Yes, Barry's contributions need a hell of time to read. So i understand the staff not to be able to react immediately. But i think they do step by step, even when this does not happen the next day and fixing instabilities are of more importance to them. I can live with both for i see MM5 developing. So thumbs up for the staff and for Barry.

    Greetings

    bmf
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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Barry4679 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:51 am

    Thanks for your comment bmf,

    to explain my previous post better ... I can see that it is too late in MM5's alpha|beta cycle to be posting opinions about limitations in the UI.
    I have no problem with that ... actually, I agree with it

    Earlier they were responding to UI suggestions ... now they are not ... MM5 has to be released some time soon ... we all want that ... and it is late, eg. the target release date in their Roadmap is December 2017.

    I was just trying to say that now that they appear to have reached this phase, further comments probably aren't helpful ... so I have stopped supplying them

    I apologise that my submissions have been hard to read for people who don't have English as their 1st language ... I probably could have done better with the range of vocabulary used ... although discussion of UI design considerations is always going to be hard by email, where we are not all standing around a white board.

    In the meantime there are bugs to find ... finding bugs in MM5 is still like shooting fish in a barrel ... yeah, I know that just apologised to those who don't have English as a 1st language :) ... so try this https://makingheadsortailsofidioms.com/ ... -a-barrel/

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    Re: MM5 is a disappointing "fail" for a just-click-to-navigate user

    Post by Peke » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:42 pm

    Hi,
    Berry you made me laugh so much on the Video in post. I had numerous similar cases where I had WHAT!!!! on English idioms or people looked me very strange when I tried to translate some Serbian idioms to English.

    EDIT: Here is one, "I blow on cold, when I got burned" (Direct Serbian -> ENG translation) = "Once bitten, twice shy" (Actual English idiom with same meaning of Serbian idiom).

    You are both somewhat right.

    Berry I must say that MAJOR UI Changes (read functionality) at this point (even reasonable) are not helping, but rather introduce more bugs (eg. on every fixed bug there is another 10 new bugs you caused by that fix), so instead changes we are focusing on the actual functionality bugs.

    BMF Not step by step, but rather joining and the triaging ans asses the risk of fixing/not fixing ATM like Berry pointed.
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