Suggestion for the UI

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n49o7
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:38 pm

Suggestion for the UI

Post by n49o7 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:12 am

Hi everyone,
The average number of items in a menu and in the settings tree show that MM is a full-featured tool that has grown up a lot. Options are added so you end up with something that is powerful, but not a bliss.The purpose of the following is to end up with a soft that's tidy and feels really nice to use.


Windows

Stop using (non-resizable) popups. Use tabs instead.


Menu bar

Access to the various features should be categorized. For example, the menu bar could go like:
- Library:
     Watched folders
     Maintenance
     Create report
- Import:
     Rip a CD
     Add podcast
     Add radio
     Add network location (copy network directory to local)
- Export:
     Sync device
     Burn or export
     Make preview
     Export in format...
- Play:
     Play all
     Append to now playing/other playlist
     Play on device
     Save as external playlist
     Playback Options ( Crossfade, Shuffle, etc... )
- Modify:
     Auto-tag
     Analyze volume
     Level volume
     Convert
- View:
     New tab
View options with check-boxes: details, album art (selecting both is possible), equalizer, visualizations...
- About:
     Settings
     Help
     Register Gold


Tabs & Toolbars

The world is divided between those who like the Office ribbon and those who loathe it. I suggest something in-between:
When using the menu bar described above, the user experience is divided in categories. For example, I want to burn a CD. I click "Export", then "Burn or export". A new tab is opened, titled "Burn or export". In this tab, the ribbon-like ( categorized ) but thin ( Office-unlike ) toolbar allows me to set all the options relative to the CD I'm about to burn. The point is: the toolbar is unified, pretty, and dynamic ( http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... =4&t=57357 ).

The exact content for the toolbar and what's beneath it can be described in relative detail:
For the example above, either dragging the files from another tab onto the "Burn" tab or having two panes, CD on the right and library with search bar on the left.
The toolbar of each tab contains the entries from the corresponding menu; the tabs offer the same functionality as the current popups ( it's not about starting from scratch, au contraire ). The tabs/toolbars also contain:

- Library:
View tools: colors, margins, album art size...
- Playlist:
Same as in Library, plus:
Playlist tools: name and statistics, export button...
- Search:
Default new tab.
Use a combination of filters instead of a single search field.
- Burn, Convert, Volume:
Make it possible to switch, so that if you click not the item you want in the menu but the one next to it, you haven't opened a tab for nothing.
- Settings:
Again, don't put them in a popup.
Organize them according to the menus, so it's easy to find what check-box does what.


Well I think I'll stop here for now...

Anyway, tell me what you think. Also: I used to make mockups using graphics software but ( I have become too lazy and ) I thought there might be a more code-ish way. Anyone know a good soft ?

Lowlander
Posts: 46194
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by Lowlander » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:53 am

I don't really like the suggestions. I like the popups in many cases (tool popups on selected files) as it allows me to see the related tracks in the main panel at the same time, tabs takes this away or I need to remember data and switch between tabs. Lack of resizing for certain dialogs is a pet-peeve of many though. On the other hand a burning dialog can be a tab much like the Device Profile has now become a tab.

I like full featured menu's, if you want less you can use the toolbars and disable the main menu. There is something to say for the categorization, but you've extended the menu with 1 item making it bigger.

I'm on the side that I don't want to program to guess what I'm trying to do (ribbons) as it's often wrong and thus not helping me, but hindering me. Having everything always available allows me to do what I want, when I want and how I want.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

n49o7
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:38 pm

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by n49o7 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:47 am

@lowlander

Well as I said, it's just organizing, rather than adding or removing. Everything stays accessible through the menu. In terms of workflow I guess it would be similar to the "bookmark toolbar + tabs" combo in Firefox: you have your items ( bookmarks / functions ) and you open the ones you need. The current global toolbar ( which is categorized, by default ) is replaced entirely by the menu, and each tab contains the buttons necessary to accomplish the corresponding task swiftly. Note that you don't have to return to the previous tab to see what tracks you are working on if the new tab displays that information.
I'm just sharing a vision here. The more ideas, the better the chances to find a good one.

vpsaxman
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:39 pm

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by vpsaxman » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:18 pm

My hope of a better UI are now directed towards MM5. :wink:
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
AMD Phenom II x4 940 (3GHz)
ASRock A780
4GB DDR2 333
ATI Radeon HD 3200
Library on two disks : Western Digital Caviar 1.5TB - WDC 640GB

Peke
Posts: 12472
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 7:21 pm
Location: Serbia
Contact:

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by Peke » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:09 am

I would rather say Multi Platform MM Version.
Best regards,
Pavle
MediaMonkey Team lead QA/Tech Support guru
Admin of Free MediaMonkey addon Site HappyMonkeying
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vpsaxman
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:39 pm

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by vpsaxman » Fri May 13, 2011 11:07 am

Ha, please make the UI's customization more straight forward and powerful in MM5... :cry:
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
AMD Phenom II x4 940 (3GHz)
ASRock A780
4GB DDR2 333
ATI Radeon HD 3200
Library on two disks : Western Digital Caviar 1.5TB - WDC 640GB

n49o7
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:38 pm

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by n49o7 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:39 am

Ok, so it's been a while and I forgot to share the results of my experiments.

I went with mozilla's application development platform (Notepad + XULRunner) but I quit after two weeks: the prototype I got resembled Foobar2000 it too many aspects. I then tried Foobar for a few other weeks, as well as Zune and Clementine.

I now see better how to integrate MediaMonkey's numerous features into a simple interface, which was my problem with the first prototype. Perhaps I'll give it another shot some time next month.

n49o7
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:38 pm

Re: Suggestion for the UI

Post by n49o7 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:36 am

All right,

I gave it a shot and I thought it would be best to not work alone, so I created this thread: EarApe: a community-fueled prototype

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