Author Topic: Horizontal Navigator (from iTunes 12)  (Read 12834 times)

redwing

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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.



- 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.

Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 07:09:52 AM by redwing

Alumni

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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.
Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 08:46:55 AM by Alumni


Steven

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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.

Alumni

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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
Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 09:09:24 PM by Alumni


redwing

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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.

SimonBRT

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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)

Bee-liever

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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

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
MusicBee and my library - Making bee-utiful music together

redwing

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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.


OrB

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-1  i dont like unusable itunes-clones without clutter in my main interface
but maybe its nice addition to the compact-player

Alumni

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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.

Zak

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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.
Bee excellent to each other...

Steven

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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.

Alumni

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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