Author Topic: Proposed (optional) changes for simplified layout  (Read 102207 times)

redwing

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Unification of search box and location box is an interesting idea, but so far no explanation was given as to how the user will know that functionality is there.

Perhaps moving the magnifying glass icon to the right could tell the user that the box is capable of more than searching.


mikebo

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I do have to say though, that personally I fall heavily in favour of of extending the header bar to over the left panel.  I use MB by keeping several tabs open at all times.  Some of these have the left panel collapsed, and some expanded, depending on the purpose of that tab.  I have always found it to be one of the strangest and most frustrating quirks of MB that as I switch between tabs, the back/forward buttons jump left and right.  It just isn't logical and it certainly isn't intuitive.  I still find this catching me out (with my mouse wandering to the incorrect location) even after years of daily MB use.
This is a very interesting observation and something I wasn't aware of. This is especially bad if you use anything else than 'Tabs in caption bar' and start switching tabs with different states of left panel. A strong reason to reconsider the header bar layout.

This is clearly starting to become a divisive topic so I don't blame Steven if he wants to play it safe.

Steven has repeatedly stated that these options would be just that, options.  This flexibility is something he has somehow managed to keep with almost every reworking of key aspects of the program in the past.  Yes, it has led to a large amount of options that may not be apparent out of the box, but that core usability has always remained, all the while adding more and more excellent features for us hardcore users and settings tweakers.
I've recently started having some doubts as to whether this is the best approach. Feels to me like almost every new idea becomes yet another option instead of replacing old solutions. This is good for old users of MB as we can mostly stick with options we are used to, but at the same time increases the already overwhelming amount of settings that new users will have to face. This is the case with "modern" and "classic" variants of different players.
Another problem for me is that every little detail has to have a setting to satisfy everyone wishes and a prime example of that is the setting page for modern compact player - classic design by committee.




I feel strongly about vertical space because I have a very small amount of it.  I haven't meant any of my comments to be particularly negative.  I'm looking forward to trying this change out.  This discussion just reflects the differences in how we're all used to using the program.

I particularly like the proposal of putting all the tabs and toolbar elements in the caption bar.  Someone said they thought it looked crowded, but if you want to talk about how other programs are doing things, they're putting tabs in the caption bar.  That's what would create more space on my screen.
I said that. I think the search box looks especially bad in the caption bar. That's why I proposed to make search a separate node. If you don't mind command buttons you can add them, if you don't want them in the caption bar you won't, that's fine. But I'm not against the general idea, just the specifics.
According to this statistic nearly a third of internet users have 1366x768 displays so it is wise to have an option to fully integrate the header bar and caption bar. Option to hide the status bar wouldn't hurt either.
This is how that would look in my imaginary ideal world:
1. Default layout:


2. Combined caption and header bars layout:


The only problem with tabs in caption bar is they look shit when you move the player controls up top, which end up dividing the tabs form main panel. To avoid that player controls could be integrated into the caption bar when up top. Saves space and looks good imo.

3. Player integated with caption bar:


The setting for vertical/hoizontal/caption tabs could be removed. Instead there would only be an option to combine the header and caption bars.
Setting for menu placement could also be removed.



Perhaps moving the magnifying glass icon to the right could tell the user that the box is capable of more than searching.
Why not just use the 'Open File or URL' dialog from the File menu?
Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 02:42:35 AM by mikebo

psychoadept

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I've recently started having some doubts as to whether this is the best approach. Feels to me like almost every new idea becomes yet another option instead of replacing old solutions. This is good for old users of MB as we can mostly stick with options we are used to, but at the same time increases the already overwhelming amount of settings that new users will have to face. This is the case with "modern" and "classic" variants of different players.
Another problem for me is that every little detail has to have a setting to satisfy everyone wishes and a prime example of that is the setting page for modern compact player - classic design by committee.

^^^ This, 100%.  As Steven says, there's always backlash when something changes.  I can grouse as well as anybody when things aren't the way I want them, but in the long run it seems like a lot more potential for bugs and a lot more work overall maintaining so many different settings.  For settings which truly add different functionality, I can see it being worth the effort, but for things like skins and layouts, I think sometimes the older options need to just go by the wayside.  But it's Steven's time and Steven's program, so our opinions are just that.  :)

Quote
I think the search box looks especially bad in the caption bar. That's why I proposed to make search a separate node. If you don't mind command buttons you can add them, if you don't want them in the caption bar you won't, that's fine. But I'm not against the general idea, just the specifics.

I see what you're saying.  What about instead of a search box or a permanent search node, having just the search button that would pop up the search box as needed, with a click or a hotkey.
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mikebo

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I see what you're saying.  What about instead of a search box or a permanent search node, having just the search button that would pop up the search box as needed, with a click or a hotkey.
Still fighting for that precious left panel real estate :)
But seriously that's also an elegant alternative. Though having a separate search node would give as some more space and an opportunity to design a better search ui.

psychoadept

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Still fighting for that precious left panel real estate :)
But seriously that's also an elegant alternative. Though having a separate search node would give as some more space and an opportunity to design a better search ui.

Ha!  :)  No, my objection to the Search node is only what I said before, that it makes it more complicated to search a specific node.  It seems better to have a single solution for all nodes.  The only thing I would improve about the search UI as-is would be to make it work more consistently with the navigation buttons.
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redwing

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I particularly like the proposal of putting all the tabs and toolbar elements in the caption bar.  Someone said they thought it looked crowded, but if you want to talk about how other programs are doing things, they're putting tabs in the caption bar.  That's what would create more space on my screen.

I don't know what other programs you're talking about, but don't they still retain header bar?

Anyway here's my revised proposal of tabs in caption bar without header bar layout.



As you can see toolbar buttons can be hidden by clicking a small icon. As I stated before, MB menu button is replaced by Chrome-like menu icon on the right to put back/forward buttons on the leftmost position for consistency. Also it doesn't take any more space in left sidebar that some people seem to feel strongly about.

Perhaps moving the magnifying glass icon to the right could tell the user that the box is capable of more than searching.
Why not just use the 'Open File or URL' dialog from the File menu?

You can use that. But having the permanent box will certainly be more intuitive for new users and offer more conveniences when opening and searching by not obstructing the content of the panel.

mikebo

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Perhaps moving the magnifying glass icon to the right could tell the user that the box is capable of more than searching.
Why not just use the 'Open File or URL' dialog from the File menu?

You can use that. But having the permanent box will certainly be more intuitive for new users
Except that it won't be because it doesn't say anywhere you can enter a web address there. And i don't see how "moving the magnifying glass icon to the right could tell the user that the box is capable of more than searching".

redwing

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Then, what about the current location bar? I never heard people complain about they don't know how to use it.

mikebo

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Well I don't want to defend the current location bar because it's has own faults, but it doesn't trick you with a magnifying glass icon and won't perform a search when you enter text into it. That helps.

As you can see toolbar buttons can be hidden by clicking a small icon.
I like that

As I stated before, MB menu button is replaced by Chrome-like menu icon on the right to put back/forward buttons on the leftmost position for consistency. Also it doesn't take any more space in left sidebar that some people seem to feel strongly about.
I think that the menu button should be more pronounced. This just looks like another toolbar button and since it is on the right side users might think that the menu is gone before they discover that this little thing is the menu now.
Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 04:50:11 AM by mikebo

redwing

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I am assuming that people are very familiar with using web browsers - Chrome, FF, IE. So I'm fairly certain that people will soon learn what this box is about after some trials. Chrome menu icon is on the same vein. FF too recently embraced the exactly same UI, and IE also offers some menus with rightmost icon. Of course, my proposal is just a suggestion and open to ideas. Feel free to revise it, if anyone wants to.

psychoadept

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I agree with mikebo that it's not intuitive to put a URL in a search box, even if browsers are doing it that way now.  But that's because it's not intuitive to put a URL in a music player at all, IMO.  However, it seems like there's a fairly simple solution.  The lowlight text that currently says "Search" could say "Search or URL", something in that vein.
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redwing

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The lowlight text that currently says "Search" could say "Search or URL", something in that vein.

Great idea! That would certainly help!

mikebo

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However, it seems like there's a fairly simple solution.  The lowlight text that currently says "Search" could say "Search or URL", something in that vein.
And then you start typing your URL and it instantly searches for that www song you like so much :)

psychoadept

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Okay, so either there needs to be a search/URL toggle of some kind, or - going back to the button proposal - there could be a search button and a url button, independent of each other.
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redwing

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if you entered "://" or ":\" in the text it would tell MB to open a web page or folder location

This is what Steven suggested. In addition to that, it could support pressing tab key which toggles to web page, folders, and nothing (tag search).