Re: Planned "Sound Settings" improvements

Hi guys, I spent some time thinking on how to accomodate this new feature from PulseAudio. And, while restructuring it, to see if the UI could have been simplified even further (this is why the slightly controversial survey).

To recap, the problems I have been trying to solve were:

  1. Obsolete hardware choice (can now be detected by the port which uses it)
  2. Not clear boost functionality (it can compromise the sound experience, after all)
  3. Awkward interaction with menu bar when boosted

The results from the survey not only showed that many people find the boost very important, we need to consider that these people were also more keen on compiling the survey (when the community felt that this feature what on risk), but showed that it is not hardware or user specific, people might use it few times but they still find it important. Also the context described (VOIP, YouTube) are experiences which are very important.

To summarise the solution, here the key points:

  • The hardware will be automatically assigned based on the selected output port
  • The user should explicitly choose to boost the audio output (eg. via a check box)
  • When the audio output is boosted, there should be a clear representation of the boost in the various bars
  • When the audio output is boosted, the interaction with the bar should still be as simple as it is when it is not boosted.
  • Regardless of the audio output boost, the indicator should have the same scale as the settings dialog
The wireframe for the output, with roughly the correct pixel sizes, looks like this:


[1] The list of devices uses user friendly names
[2] Options which were expressed as profile, now use ad-hoc widgets with user friendly terms
[3] To be ergonomics friendly, the global output slider has contained width. To preserve aesthetics, it goes below the rest of the content. The mute/unmute functionality is embedded in the speaker icon which also reflects the sound volume level when unmuted.
[4] Boost volume now is called amplify and when clicked it prompts a modal dialog which informs the user about the consequences of amplifying the sound, this might be shown the first time only or include an checkbox not to prompt it again.

When the volume is boosted (now "amplified"), would look like this (still a wireframe):

The wireframe for the input looks like this:


[1] The name of the type of connector should be simplified, there is no need from the user to know if it is analogue or not if it’s clear which port it is.
[2] The input volume has the same behavior as the output volume, the only difference is that the boost is always enabled. The reason is because it is much easier to over amplify the output both because the frequency it is used and because, thanks to keyboard shortcuts, its accessibility.

I know there are some radical changes here, but I think there are valid reasons for doing so. Would be great to hear some comments!

Best, chr

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