The new compact player gives a completelly fresh look & feel to MusicBee, however my impression is that there is a lack of consistency of layouts. Compact player looks a bit as if it was a different program, don't you think?
That's why I've done some small mockups that try to unify those layouts. I think this may be a good start for discussion of refreshing the whole MB a bit, as the new compact player brings it to quite a new extension.
The skin I use is my fav Dusk skin (thx mikebo!)
A. COMPACT PLAYER
I start with it, as it's gonna be a default MB's view soon.
1. tabs are located in caption bar. With this solution you can easily manage any playlists or folders you want!
"Now playing" tab in the right panel represents the tab you are in at the moment. So if you go to Music or Inbox, it changes it's name to Music or Inbox etc, so that those right panel tabs would be not Now Playing | Lyrics | Bio
Inbox | Lyrics | Bio
2. The search field is located on the artist picture field just in the same position as it's located right now in the main player. Later I will explain the reason and purpose for it***.
3. You can notice that track info colour is not adjusted to the dominant color of aartist pic and the whole field is not transparent. Partly it's because it was easier for me to do a mockup without transparency. The other reason is that transparency would be disturbing in the new look of Main Player.
B. MAIN PLAYER
4. As you can see, the Controls Panel and Track Info field (and Right Panel if you use it) are the core of both Compact and Main Players and look exactly the same way! Tabs are located in caption bar as well (I would suggest to get rid off the icons from caption tabs for a cleaner look).
5. Track info panel is opaque, as it covers the list of tracks in Main Panel - it would look ugly and chaotic if it was transparent (fonts from the library entries).
The color shift adjusted to the dominant colour of the album cover (just as it is in the Compact Player right now) would be logic IMO. However as in this view we don't see artist pics but only the album's cover, the colour could adjust to the dominant cover's colour in this case.
C. MINI PLAYER
6. version with Wave Bar as progress bar
7. version without Wave Bar
you can see a bit of free space in here - it can be used for Rating Stars fe.
D. CAN WE GO ANY FURTHER?
8. After that I started to wonder if there shouldn't be a simple way to change the view from Compact to Main Player not the way it is right now (so that player disappears for a sec and appears again in different mode). A button or a pivot, that would change only the Artist Pic field to Library with some smooth transition or fadeout, and the core (Controls, Track Info and Now PLaying panels) would stay still vivid.
Then I thought that maybe it's just a cosmetic detail. And then I thought that there's no need for a separate Compact and Main Players!!
(digression - this would work only if you use both Compact and Main Players in fullscreen ot at least in the same window size and position):
E. MY BOLD IDEA
9. My idea is that the Artist pics field would appear as a kind of a screensaver after a set time (5s/10s/1min - as you set it). After let's say 10s of not using MB the Main Panel of Main Player (Library View) would fade out into Artist Pics field. After 10secs Main Player changes smoothly into Compact Player.
So it changes into the view with big artists photos (paragraph A.) and if you want to operate on your library, you just click on the Search Field (*** - mentioned in paragraph 2). A quick fadeout of picture and you see the Library View (paragraph B)
There wouldn't be separate modes of Main and Compact players. Or the Compact Player would be additional mode for those who right now use it as a smaller window than Main PLayer (not the same window size).
I'm waiting impatientelly for your comments and ideas!