Sound Juicer user interface.

Bugzilla is not the best place to discuss ideas so I'm bringing this here
and attempting to look at the bigger picture.

I suggested it would be a good thing if Sound Juicer used a Toolbar
and it had been previously suggested even before Sound Juicer was
able to Playback CDs

Suggesting a toolbar without going into the reasons behind why it might be
a good idea didn't work so here's my effort at outlining the larger issues
of why I think it is a good idea to provide a more configurable user
interface of which using a toolbar is only one small part.  I think using
standard toolbar widgets is a particularly good way to keep good clean
default look and also give users a certain amount of flexibity at the same
time.  (This will necessitate a View menu with menu item to make it
clear which bits you can show or hide.)

Many applications start off as simple and very specific dialogs and later
grow into full blown applications.  One of the better ways to do full
applications is using a Single window with menus and toolbars and most
Gnome applications follow this convention.  The user interface of Sound
Juicer flows nicely from top to bottom like a good dialog but has menus
and a status bare more like a standard application.  Many applications go
through a stage like this but eventually grow out of as the becomes a need
to cleanly organise more and more functionality.  I'm basically pushing
for this to happen sooner rather than later.

There is also the idea of Sound Juicer now as a CD Player.  The design of
Sound Juicer was excellent for a Ripper, set the names pick the tracks
and then hit Extract to go.  However I think the it is worth looking at
how CD Player applications and how they usually have quite compact designs
to accomodate users who want to leave them permanently open.  (SJ
uses a dialog window style, no maximise button and the dialog
style spacing puts the scrollbar away from the edge where it might be
easier to hit.)

The simplest way to use a CD Player it is to play the whole disc start to
finish.  Similarly the simplest case of Sound Juicer is to rip a disc is
to do the whole thing. In both cases a track list is not entirely
necessary so being able to hide it or having a compact version in a drop
down menu is often used.  A way to hide the tracklist would be helpful for
this kind of user. Note how Totem provides a way to hide the playlist in a
sidebar (and previously used a seperate dialog).

Of course ripping is not always fast and not every song on an album is as
good as the others so users may prefer not to rip every track.  Similarly
most CD Players provide buttons to allow you to easily skip certain
tracks but Sound Juicer has not yet added extra controls allow this.
(If deselecting a track in the playlist means it gets skipped for
playback too that would be another nice way to allow tracks to be
easily skipped but then the list label would be inappropriate.)

The various bits of metadata are useful to have on display but they take
up a whole lot of space and are less important if you are trying to use
Sound Juicer as a CD player.  The current track infromation could be
displayed in the titlebar (like the way the document title would be) and
it would not be necessary to always have this information shown.

I think playback controls on a toolbar would help people who want to
use Sound Juicer primarily as a Cd Player and at the same time allow
those who only want to use it to rip to hide the Playback controls and
treat Sound Juicer as only a Ripper.

I realise this is a long way from strong clear reasons to to follow my
suggestions and I wish I had time to do a more rigourous and formal review
but I hope you will start to see how some of these ideas would make Sound
Juicer nicer to use as a CD Player.  Please consider moving Sound Juicer
to user interface design a little more like the average Gnome application.


Alan Horkan

P.S.  Any idea on how to accomodate machine with more than one
CD/DVD/CDR/etc drive to make it easier to put CDs in each drive and Rip
them all?  Might want to start a seperate thread for this question though.

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]