[REQ] Properties>Details>Start and End Time Units

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MattTown
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:09 pm
Location: Australia

[REQ] Properties>Details>Start and End Time Units

Post by MattTown »

Hi,

On the Details tab of the Properties dialog box it is possible to set a start time and an end time for a track. Please see the attached image.

Image

I get the impression that the start and finish values are added to the track's DB data when the track is inducted to the DB.

Being able to edit the start and end time is a useful feature but it has some characteristics which encourage wrong use. In particular, the units in which the start and end times are expressed are different, and there is no units description offered to the user to help make sense of it. My (evolved) understanding is that the Start time is expressed in minutes:secondsIn2Digits (ie m:ss) while the end time is expressed in minutes:secondsIn2Digits.decimalSecondsIn3Digits (ie m:ss.ddd). My interpretation of this is that the Start time setting offered on the Details tab simply omits the decimal seconds.

But that is not the only possible interpretation for those unused to dealing with time formats. In particular, it is possible (if one does not look hard) to see the 3 element End time setting as indicating hours:minutes:seconds, and then trying an hours:minutes:seconds format for the start time, which won't make sense if the start time ends up being after the finish time. But there would appear to be no sanity checking on the entered times because the Details tab accepts those values without comment and leaves the player code to figure it out, which then fails to play.

Two suggestions:

1. Specify the time units against the prompt text, ie "Start time: m:ss" and "End time: m:ss.ddd" so that the Dev's understanding of the values is made explicit for the user, and

2. Code in some checks for data entry so that:
a. the Stop Time cannot be beyond the length of the track, and
b. the Start time cannot be beyond the Stop Time.

Also, the time value seems to accept an hour value, as in 3:00:00 for a start time seems to be interpreted as "start at the 3hour mark", but h does not appear in the example values entered on the Details screen. I understand that adding the hour element to the default values and the format might induce more confusion than it solves, but I would always suggest that being explicit is more useful overall.

I have also noticed that if I edit the start/finish times for a track while it is in the Now Playing list, then before the altered settings become effective I have to:
  • remove that edited track from the Now Playing list and
  • play another song and
  • add the altered track back into Now Playing.
This can be frustrating for new users, because the update they play a track, edit the start/end times and play the track again, where they see that the play start/end time edits failed to work. The Details screen still reports them as edited, but it is not until that track is removed from Now Playing and replaced that the edits become effective. That's a problem for usability and puts a big demand on the patience of the user, because getting the timing right to the second inevitably requires multiple edit and play iterations. Is there a reason why start/end time edits are not immediately effective for tracks already in the Now Playing list?

Cheers

Matt
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