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General => MusicBee Wishlist => Topic started by: redwing on November 18, 2014, 07:06:45 AM

Title: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: redwing on November 18, 2014, 07:06:45 AM
Apple has finally removed left sidebar with the recently released iTunes 12 through innovative interface overhaul. Though it seems it has got mixed reviews so far, I think it was a brilliant change that gives iTunes much cleaner, less cluttered, more appealing look. I wasn't happy at all without the sidebar while using iTunes 11, but I never felt the need for it with iTunes 12. The sidebar only appears when either playlists or device node is selected. If you haven't tried it yet, have a look at this review:
http://www.macworld.com/article/2837886/itunes-12-introduces-new-look-less-intuitive-interface.html

The key idea is to turn the vertical navigator to a horizontal one, using only icons. It saves a lot of space and offers a clean look. It would be great if MB had this horizontal navigator as a layout option like the following mockup.

(http://i.imgur.com/tz8ioD3.png)

- The last three-line icon shows, upon a click on it, other nodes like playlists, services, computer, devices.
- Show/hide of left sidebar is auto-handled depending on the selected node like iTunes.
- Unlike iTunes, MB can have multiple tabs with each selection.
- Music node can show filters as sub-nodes like the mockup. But sub-nodes for non-music nodes needs new ideas, maybe consulting iTunes.
- For users who have lots of filters, tickbox to each filter to show/hide needs to be added to the filter settings pane.

Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Alumni on November 18, 2014, 08:38:18 AM
I've been thinking about this as well, and I support this suggestion.
Just like the expanded menu, iTunes does have some nice design choices that could be adapted to MusicBee.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: vzell on November 18, 2014, 08:44:23 AM
+1
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Steven on November 18, 2014, 08:05:56 PM
i agree with the comment that the left sidebar can make things look cluttered and i have considered in the past doing something about it, but then i see how much functionality would be lost if it was taken away. I thought the auto-hide functionality was a very good compromise to solve that for people who cared about visual clutter.
One thing i dont like about the iTunes approach is the way the left navigator pops in and out of existance when going to/ from Playlists. If an iTunes style layout was to be done i would use a different approach for playlists and filters.
I would like to see some more +1's or comments if i was to consider doing this.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Alumni on November 18, 2014, 08:31:10 PM
i agree with the comment that the left sidebar can make things look cluttered and i have considered in the past doing something about it, but then i see how much functionality would be lost if it was taken away. I thought the auto-hide functionality was a very good compromise to solve that for people who cared about visual clutter.
One thing i dont like about the iTunes approach is the way the left navigator pops in and out of existance when going to/ from Playlists. If an iTunes style layout was to be done i would use a different approach for playlists and filters.
I would like to see some more +1's or comments if i was to consider doing this.

A possible solution to that problem is a miniature floating sidebar that can pop open automatically when you mouse-over the button.

It could look a bit like this...
http://www.blogtogo.de/wp-content/uploads/itunes12-beta-5629.jpg
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: boroda on November 19, 2014, 06:08:20 AM
Only as an option
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: redwing on November 19, 2014, 07:18:33 AM
I thought the auto-hide functionality was a very good compromise to solve that for people who cared about visual clutter.

Yes, that's a great way to navigate without visual clutter. But I think horizontal navigator is a more advanced one that knows when the entire sidebar needs to be visible and when need not. Also, it gives a better idea of where you are and is easier to navigate.

One thing i dont like about the iTunes approach is the way the left navigator pops in and out of existance when going to/ from Playlists.

Not sure what you mean. But if you're referring to the way the iTunes's left side bar pushes the main panel to the right when it comes out, actually I prefer that to MB's auto-hide sidebar that covers leftmost part of the main panel. Often I can't see some important fields like title or artwork under the pop-out sidebar.
But for drag-n-drop, iTunes works the same way as MB. If you start dragging selected files to any direction with iTunes. left sidebar (with only static playlists listed) comes out like MB's auto-hide sidebar.

If an iTunes style layout was to be done i would use a different approach for playlists and filters.

Filters too? Hopefully it won't be a big departure from the mockup, functionality-wise.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: SimonBRT on November 19, 2014, 12:54:13 PM
I like this idea, but agree it needs some thought before implementing.

In regards to this point:
- Music node can show filters as sub-nodes like the mockup. But sub-nodes for non-music nodes needs new ideas, maybe consulting iTunes.
For the playlist node: do other people organise their playlists in folders?  I certainly do, e.g. I have playlist folders for 'New Music', 'Artist Compilations', 'Multi-Artist Compilations', 'Auto-Playlists', etc.  If this were a common practice among users (I don't know that it is?), then when clicking on the Playlists node (on the top left icon section in the mockup), the sub-nodes in the centre could be populated by folders.  Then, when clicking on a sub-node (i.e. folder name) there could be a floating menu pop-up with the playlists contained in that folder (floating menu similar to this pic http://www.blogtogo.de/wp-content/uploads/itunes12-beta-5629.jpg)
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Bee-liever on November 20, 2014, 11:58:16 AM
Only as an option

yes, or it would be a -1

i agree with the comment that the left sidebar can make things look cluttered and i have considered in the past doing something about it, but then i see how much functionality would be lost if it was taken away. I thought the auto-hide functionality was a very good compromise to solve that for people who cared about visual clutter.

Agree whole-heartedly with this.  Considering the vast majority of negative comments, that a quick search will show about the removal of the sidebar in iTunes12, I don't think the removal/remodeling of the left sidebar should happen anytime soon.

Even the article that redwing linked to
http://www.macworld.com/article/2837886/itunes-12-introduces-new-look-less-intuitive-interface.html (http://www.macworld.com/article/2837886/itunes-12-introduces-new-look-less-intuitive-interface.html)

says that it's a "less intuitive interface" and sums it up with
Quote from: Kirk McElhearn
But for now, iTunes 12’s most basic operation—finding and playing media—requires a lot more thought than it should
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: redwing on November 20, 2014, 12:23:51 PM
Did anyone ever propose this as the new default layout instead of an option? Why all talks about option when that's what's proposed?

It would be great if MB had this horizontal navigator as a layout option like the following mockup.

Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: OrB on November 20, 2014, 01:42:10 PM
-1  i dont like unusable itunes-clones without clutter in my main interface
but maybe its nice addition to the compact-player
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Alumni on November 20, 2014, 01:46:34 PM
As I recall there was a fair amount of disagreement when the modern layout was introduced.
Now that it's complete, most people seem happy with it. Nobody is saying this feature should become default or forced on users.

If implemented in the right way, I think this could satisfy those who want to save screen space but also want a functional interface.
The option to hide the left sidebar is a good compromise, but I don't feel this is the most intuitive method either, it can be finicky at times.
As I proposed earlier, a miniature pop-out sidebar is the best way to go about this, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Zak on November 20, 2014, 03:57:31 PM
I'm not allowed to be negative, but after thinking about how it might work I thought I'd raise a few UI issues for consideration/discussion/debate/pooh-poohing...:

- The last three-line icon shows, upon a click on it, other nodes like playlists, services, computer, devices.
- Show/hide of left sidebar is auto-handled depending on the selected node like iTunes.

1.
Quickly considering the current options for Navigation tabs available in MusicBee now, I'd say about half of them would need the left sidebar displayed to be efficient and intuitive to use. Anything hierarchical like the playlists, library explorer or computer explorer isn't going to translate well to a drop-down menu/sub/sub-sub menu selection method. In that case, I don't see a toolbar as an improvement over the navigation panel with auto-hide enabled. It may actually be worse, because auto-hide isn't really an option - clicking the Playlist toolbar button will need to display the panel to show the list of playlists - so it may actually result in the navigation panel being shown more often if you use those items regularly.

I'm not sure about the others like Audiobooks, Podcasts and Radio stations as I don't use them, but if they also allow for custom folders and sub-folders the same thing applies.

2.
It introduces a sense of "modality" which seems counter-productive. For example, if you have your music library displayed and want to do something else you have to click a toolbar button to switch to what would effectively be "Playlist mode" or "Filter mode" or "Explorer mode" or "Device mode" etc. in order to then select which one you want to work with. With the current navigation panel everything is one place and it's easy to switch between them with one click.

3.
On the other hand, if you find yourself mostly using the features that are only displayed in the main panel (e.g. switching from Library to Inbox or Play History or any of the Services options) a toolbar with buttons is an efficient use of pixels.

4.
Also, I know it's not the point of your request, but I'd recommend against having the search box left of the tabs. IE 11 does that and I keep clicking on it thinking it's the first tab I've opened! Or maybe I'm just an idiot.  :-[

5.
Obviously, if it's added as an option, no one is forced to use it and everyone(?) will be happy - something Apple should have considered in their "upgrade" to iTunes 12 if the Google results for "itunes 12 sidebar" are anything to go by.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Steven on November 20, 2014, 06:06:08 PM
and everyone(?) will be happy
not me! i am only willing to do this if i can see a strong benefit that justifies spending time to implement.
I am not opposed at all at looking at good ideas and using them if i think its really useful like the "expanded panel" for example.
For this at the moment i am not really seeing a lot of benefit and just downsides eg. more configuration options, more complexity in the musicbee code etc. I will spend more time thinking about it but at the moment i am inclined not to do anything with this.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Alumni on November 20, 2014, 06:35:07 PM
I will spend more time thinking about it but at the moment i am inclined not to do anything with this.

Setting aside the sidebar for a moment, what about an iTunes style tabs/filter bar?

I made a topic about it here, but redwing also included it in his concept above.
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=14250.0
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: redwing on November 21, 2014, 12:20:31 AM
1.
clicking the Playlist toolbar button will need to display the panel to show the list of playlists - so it may actually result in the navigation panel being shown more often if you use those items regularly.

Either the entire sidebar or pop-up list will do for navigation.

2.
It introduces a sense of "modality" which seems counter-productive. For example, if you have your music library displayed and want to do something else you have to click a toolbar button to switch to what would effectively be "Playlist mode" or "Filter mode" or "Explorer mode" or "Device mode" etc. in order to then select which one you want to work with. With the current navigation panel everything is one place and it's easy to switch between them with one click.

That has nothing to do with Music library. Simply you need to click on playlists, devices button, etc. Filters can be clickable sub-nodes of Music library like the mockup.

4.
Also, I know it's not the point of your request, but I'd recommend against having the search box left of the tabs. IE 11 does that and I keep clicking on it thinking it's the first tab I've opened! Or maybe I'm just an idiot.  :-[

That's what's already implemented. I guess you never tried tabs bar in caption bar mode.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: redwing on November 21, 2014, 12:35:15 AM
and everyone(?) will be happy
not me! i am only willing to do this if i can see a strong benefit that justifies spending time to implement.
I am not opposed at all at looking at good ideas and using them if i think its really useful like the "expanded panel" for example.
For this at the moment i am not really seeing a lot of benefit and just downsides eg. more configuration options, more complexity in the musicbee code etc. I will spend more time thinking about it but at the moment i am inclined not to do anything with this.


Fine. I can wait until more people see and appreciate the benefits of the proposed layout.

BTW, the key idea is not entirely new. This is how I use Chrome with bookmarks toolbar only with icons:

(http://i.imgur.com/Dv6OpA0.png)

Once you try this, you will see why this is better than auto-hiding (if such option is available) or constantly showing bookmarks sidebar.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Alumni on November 21, 2014, 02:58:00 AM
I created this mockup to show how the new interface could look. What do you think? (click for full-size image)

(http://i.imgur.com/EFaMBkCl.jpg) (http://i.imgur.com/EFaMBkC.jpg)
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: Zak on November 21, 2014, 06:11:07 AM
4.
Also, I know it's not the point of your request, but I'd recommend against having the search box left of the tabs. IE 11 does that and I keep clicking on it thinking it's the first tab I've opened! Or maybe I'm just an idiot.  :-[

That's what's already implemented. I guess you never tried tabs bar in caption bar mode.
So it is! I don't use that view because it forces the MusicBee menus under the one button which means more clicking (and it isn't possible to select tabs with the cursor at the very top of the screen).

It seems arbitrary for the search box to be on the left for that view and on the right for others, but I use the Dark skin so at least the search box is a different colour which makes it easy to distinguish.

BTW, the key idea is not entirely new. This is how I use Chrome with bookmarks toolbar only with icons:

(http://i.imgur.com/Dv6OpA0.png)

Once you try this, you will see why this is better than auto-hiding (if such option is available) or constantly showing bookmarks sidebar.
Obviously there are millions of applications that have toolbar buttons, but that's not the same thing - they're only acting as substitutes for a single menu item (or web site in the Chrome example). Buttons would work in MusicBee for some things currently in the left panel (like switching between the library and a radio station - hinted at in point #3 in my previous post), but the left hand panel is more than just a substitute for a menu. In your suggested layout, how would you browse to a folder in the Computer node and drag tracks to a playlist? Or drag a playlist to an external device? These are common activities which don't seem to have intuitive equivalents if the nodes were replaced with toolbar buttons.

I created this mockup to show how the new interface could look. What do you think? (click for full-size image)
This looks nice and would work fine if all you're doing is selecting one playlist to listen to at a time from a limited number of playlists. However, it doesn't scale well, either in functionality or number. If someone has dozens of playlists grouped in folders, selecting them from a drop-down menu quickly becomes inefficient. Also, additional functions like renaming, editing, shuffling etc. (all the stuff currently in the playlist context menu) would require displaying the menu first to find the playlist you want, then right-clicking that playlist menu item to display the context menu. It's not unprecedented for a menu item to have its own context menu (I see Firefox does that with its bookmarks menu) but it's not ideal.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: redwing on November 21, 2014, 06:27:47 AM
In your suggested layout, how would you browse to a folder in the Computer node and drag tracks to a playlist? Or drag a playlist to an external device? These are common activities which don't seem to have intuitive equivalents if the nodes were replaced with toolbar buttons.

Of course, sidebar needs to be visible for those tasks. Like iTunes, starting dragging could immediate pop out left sidebar.
Title: Re: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)
Post by: vpsaxman on November 24, 2014, 01:09:10 AM
I will spend more time thinking about it but at the moment i am inclined not to do anything with this.

Setting aside the sidebar for a moment, what about an iTunes style tabs/filter bar?

I made a topic about it here, but redwing also included it in his concept above.
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=14250.0


I love this idea of yours. They would be a big improvement over the current way tabs are implemented but could keep essentially the same functionality.