[Rhythmbox-devel] Re: [Usability]rhythmbox interface

Jorn Baayen wrote:

>The current Rhythmbox interface isn't very good, and we've been thinking
>about improving it, but it's hard. So some input from you guys would
>Current interface, with it's problems:
>To begin with, for the people who have never run rb here is a
>As you can see, there is a sidebar, which allows you to switch between
>different views. This has a lot of problems:
>1. The interface changes when clicking a button in the sidebar, just
>like Evolution. My opinion is that it sucks, badly. I tend to remember
>where items are in the menus, and if they get messed up all the time, I
>get confused.
When I first used Rhythmbox I found it took me a while to figure out how 
to add a new group in the sidebar.  I thought that it might be a good 
idea to be able to right click on the sidebar and choose an option "new 
category" or "new group", not sure which works better.

Then how to add music to Rhythmbox?  There is no option when you right 
click on a group in the sidebar to add either "files" or "songs" or 
"music", nor can you do this in the blank list of songs.  I think that 
you should be able to rightclick on either the list of files or the 
group in the sidebar itself to add music.

How about the idea of bringing up the file chooser to add music whenever 
a new goup is created?

>2. The toolbar with the playback controls and the area with the
>currently playing information are static; they don't change when
>switching between views, and act on the playing view. This is really,
>really confusing. Even though I wrote it, I still find myself being
>dizzy when using it. (Just hiding these wouldnt work either: because it
>still is playing. Or stopping playback is not an option either, since
>you may just want to browse your playlists or do some organization.)
>3. It's not obvious how to add songs to groups/playlists. (Right now you
>have to dnd songs from the lib to the sidebar button, or use C&P)
>4. Users cannot specify what song to play after the current one.
>Playlists are not enough here; if you are playing from the library, you
>want to be able to say which song is to play next.
>What we need:
>1. The music library we have now
>2. A way to specify what song to play after the current one
This is pretty much my only complaint.  Along with finding where the 
current playing song is in my lists.  But if we fix this then finding 
the current playing song wont matter so much.

>3. Playlists (reorderable subsets of the library) [1]
As above.

>4. A clean way to do this, without awkward views or stuff like that :)
Definately needed. 

My thoughts are;
Add another group in the sidebar (probably at the top) and call it 
either "Queue" or "Playing".  This list would only have the current 
playing song in it to start with but the option to queue either single 
songs or to queue entire groups/lists.
I would like to be able to go to the group of the current playing song 
from here, so maybe a context menu with the option "go to current songs 
group" would be in order?

>Things we have now, that will probably be moved out:
>1. Audio CD. Got this in because we had the views stuff, but it prolly
>belongs in a separate app. [For ripping we would ideally have nautilus
>support browsing audiocds, and support copying oggs off it]
>2. Internet radio. Same as above.
>3. The sidebar :)
Please dont move any of these out.  What I am looking for most in a 
media application is something that I can use to play any sort of audio 
I want.  Whether it be CDAudio, MP3, Ogg, Streaming.  I use rhythmbox 
because I know it plays music, whether it is mp3 or ogg or whatever, I 
would hate to have different apps for each different format, same for cd 
and internet raidio.

>What other applications do:
>1. WinAMP, basically supports everything but all in multiple windows and
>with a totally ugly and confusing interface. Not something to get
>inspiration from.
>2. iTunes, does mostly the same as the current RB.
>3. MP3Organizer [http://mp3organizer.sourceforge.net/], integrates
>playlists and queueing by putting them next to the library.
>4. Apollo [http://www.apolloplayer.org]. Has an interesting PlayFirst
>feature, but it looks like a hack to me.
>5. Squelch [http://rikkus.info/squelch.html]. Here you seem to mark
>songs/albums for playback, instead of directly playing them, or
>Current Ideas:
>The view on the left would be the song queue/playlist view.
>The problem with these is that the interface is crowded; I dont think
>it's very clear.
>Another random idea is to have a "Queue" button or something, which
>would append the selected songs to some song queue. (And not have the
>song queue shown by default, but make it possible to open it in a new
>window. This doesn't solve the playlist problem though.)
>[1] Seth: At least Luis wants reorderable playlists (for mix tapes and
>the like), so groups like we have now don't suffice.
>Usability mailing list
I hope some of these ideas are liked by other people and help with the 
development of my favourite music player.


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