[Muine] Muine UI idea for the future

Hello everyone,
I had nothing better to do tonight and so I did a mockup for a Muine UI
suggestion. (dread and fear the times I have nothing better to do ;-)
So, here are my mockups which I explain verbosely below (sorry for the long



The window has default dimensions that fit on a 800x600 screen (30% of the
internet users still use that res). Possible Gnome-panel and window manager
dimensions were also taken into account when designing this mockup's

I have re-arranged a few things, so, in my suggestion we have the playlist
and its buttons on the left hand side, which is the first thing a user would
do (at least for left-2-right users). On the right hand side you can find
the actual song playback area and below it the visualization.

This design has many ways to view the application. You can leave visible
only the song playback area, or the playlist and the playback, or the
playback and the visualization, or all 3 as in the mockup. For example, if
you leave visible only the playback area, it has the advantage to have a
view that it is a "mini view" for those who just want their XMMS-like small
app on their corner of their screens, not taking much space with unessasery
information most of the time (most people just select a playlist and they
leave it playing on the background, so there is a need to not show always
the playlist view). The "Views" can be controlled either with the litle
black arrows (I know that Windows, BeOS and OSX has such a widget, but I
don't know about GTK+) or by using the new "View" menu in the menubar.

Now, by resizing the visualization plugin's view with the handlers, it
should resize the visualization on the fly. The Playlist is resizable as
well to suit resolution restrictions (resizes up to the point that the
buttons don't collide with the shuffle/repeat text). The progress bar on the
playback area should also resize on the fly upon a window resize.

Another idea would be to allow the three views to be available attached on
the same window as in the mockup, or as different windows each. There are a
lot of people who like an SDI interface more than an MDI one. ;-)

I tried to keep the HIG's spacing into mind in this mockup, so the borders
of the widgets in regards to the whole window are now a bit bigger than the
current Muine.

The Playlist:

The Playlist view now places the "Add Song" and "Add Album" on the botton of
the playlist view  because they are out of the way, letting users have
direct access to the songs immediately after the initial song addition. I
also added the Shuffle and Repeat options here (might be better to only have
them in the menubar instead?).  I would also advocate to get rid of the
"Playlist (XX minutes remaining)" text. It takes space, makes the interface
more bloated and that information sounds more like a punishment than
actually useful information ("you got 17 more minutes to sing and dance,
after that, back to work!").

Now, the most important change I did in the playlist though, is the way it
handles selections. I used Muine all day today and I got more than 3 times
confused as to which song was actually playing, because of this scenario:
User starts playing a song ("Rasputin"), the little icon appears before the
song name in the playlist and the list item gets this teal/blue color
because it is selected. User single-clicks another song from the list
("Orinoco Flow"), but doesn't activate it. User goes elsewhere. User comes
back and sees "Orinoco Flow" being selected, but "Rasputin" actually coming
out of the speakers. User initially believes it is a bug! Paying closer
attention user sees the little icon on teh left of the song name. Still, it
is confusing without much paying attention and trust me, no one wants to pay
attention to music players which are "background" applications, we got work
to do. ;-)
So, this is what happened a lot to me today, and I didn't like this UI
behavior which leads to confusion. What needs to be done is to change the
selection/color behavior to this:
Always have the teal/blue color as in the mockup for the song that's
playing, but when a user single-click selects another song, please use a
lighter-color to represent the selection, cause otherwise it just gets
confusing as to which song actually currently plays. An idea would also be
to use that lighter color for mouse-overs as well, when the user mouse-overs
over songs in the playlist.

The Playback area:

The Playback area adds a progress bar (which as I mentioned above, resizes
automatically when its view resizes). Underneath it you will find the album
cover as you do today, but I changed the way information about the song is
displayed and the text weight applied to them. Now you also get Album
information (and the Year released in a parenthesis, no need for a new line)
and also the Genre infromation. The text should (more or less) be aligned
vertically with the height of the album cover so it won't look weird.

If no album cover can be found, please use Muine's icon image or another
icon, but not the Gnome logo,  cause that would be more relevant, I think.

Clicking on the album cover in my mockup, it changes the rectangle's view
and it displays the two simple visualizations as WinAMP does. This way, even
when people using Muine in mini-mode, they can get some form of a simple
visualization, and if they don't want it at all, they can return to the
"album cover" mode. An idea here would be to also allow via the "View"
menubar menu item to hide the album_cover/song_info sub-view and thus making
the main Muine window even smaller and more simple.

The Visualization View:

The third view has two buttons and the actual openGL plugin.  The first
button allows you to load another plugin from a list. The second widget, a
text widget, shows the name of the visualization plugin currently used. The
second button is the one that takes over the screen and makes the plugin
Fullscreen (use the character "F" for keyboard shortcut). Then, you get the
actual visualization widget (resizable on the fly).

A "Plugin Settings" and a "Start/Stop Plugin" should be available from the
View menu in the menubar.


I think that's all I had to say. :)
Just an additional feature request, I would like to be able to listen to
internet radio with Muine (Digitally Imported radio station rules! :-)


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