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Rockbox General => Rockbox General Discussion => Topic started by: adamti91 on September 19, 2006, 03:21:41 PM

Title: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: adamti91 on September 19, 2006, 03:21:41 PM
This is the original post in a thread on MisticRiver (http://www.misticriver.net/showthread.php?t=46846). This was written in particular for the iRiver H10, and any updates to the thread will be made in the MisticRiver thread (again, http://www.misticriver.net/showthread.php?t=46846). I am a moderator at MR, and am just posting here to increase exposure.

All buttons mentioned below are for the H10, but hopefully will be used in other players as well (with corresponding buttons)

Quote
Alright, I know RockBox for H10 is nowhere near the level that is is on other platforms, and it will be some time before it is. However, I would like to put forth a suggestion, and an outline along with it. I am by far one of the least technical people on the moderating staff, and my experience and know how with RockBox is limited. I'm sure the same can be said for the majority of the MisticRiver community. Therefore, I am proposing a less complicated approach to RockBox, that will hopefully increase awareness and usage.

Notes: All buttons below refer to the iRiver H10, but SimpleBox will hopefully be able to be used on all RockBox supported players.

The Idea: Have an offshoot of RockBox, called SimpleBox. SimpleBox would run on the same code as RockBox, but would offer a much simpler, streamlined approach to the interface.

The Plan: Let's face it. The majority of us don't use/don't know how to use the majority of the features of RockBox. SimpleBox would streamline the interface, and focus on simplifying the UI of the player, but including some of the more sought-after features RockBox adds to the original firmware. Creating a simple, graphical main menu, with sections like 'Music', 'Pictures', 'Radio', 'Recording', 'Text', 'Games' and 'Utilities' (and 'Video' should it become functional with sound) (and 'Settings') would be essential, with it being the same (obviously screen sizes and color restrictions would be taken into account) across all platforms. More advanced equalizer settings would be customizable through the current (iRiver firmware) procedure, and the keymap would be the same. You would be able to change the playback settings/EQ on the fly by holding down the "o" key on the 'Now Playing' screen. Album Art would be available, as would an option to turn it off.

On startup, the player would boot to the SimpleBox firmware by default. If so inclined, other firmware could be booted by holding down a button, let's say "<-", during startup. If this button was held, the user would be shown a GRUB style selection screen, with the options "[insert player here; e.g. iRiver; iAudio, etc.] Firmware (and the version of the currently installed iRiver firmware)", and "SimpleBox" (and "RockBox, more below). The user could then pick witch firmware to use.

While there would be a cross-platform default skin, here would be other complete "skins" made for SimpleBox (not RockBox), that changed the look of everything from the USB connected screen to the main menu, to the 'Now Playing' screen. These skins would be included with each final build.

The Excecution: While RockBox is far away from being optimized for the H10, I believe if we get a team of people commited to SimpleBox to pick and choose features as they become available for RockBox, we could have a functional version of SimpleBox sooner rather than later. Features would only be added to the stable builds once they were absolutely optimized for the [target player] and SimpleBox. Usability would be the main objective of SimpleBox, so only plugins that functioned at 100% would be added, with keymaps that actually made sense (unlike some current RockBox plugins). The plugins would be added to either "Games" (Pong, Snake, etc.), or "Utilities" (Calculator, Stopwatch, etc.). Plugins like "Plasma" or "Fire" would be available through the 'Now Playing' screen's "o" menu (the one where you can change EQ and playback modes), as "screensavers".

There will be an optimized build of SimpleBox for each player.

I have no coding experience, so I couldn't really contribute to the coding of SimpleBox, but I would test daily builds, and give critiques along the way. I try to spend as little time on MR (and the internet) as possible, but I would try to stay updated until a final version is released.

Who's on board, and could we get an official endorsement from RockBox possibly?

Edits/Additions:

    * When booting with "<-" held down, a regular/customized RockBox (non SimpleBox) boot option is added, in addition to iRiver Firmware and SimpleBox
    * Revised suggestion to add cross-platform compatibility, not only for iRiver H10. Because RockBox is already very stable on other platforms (iRiver H3xx for example), progress could begin on making an H3xx optimized build of RockBox, off of which other builds (for the H10, X5, etc.) would be based, using the same 'Utilities' and 'Games' (as mentioned above).

-Adam


While discussion will hopefully begin here, please make any major announcements in the original thread on MisticRiver (http://www.misticriver.net/showthread.php?t=46846), and keep in mind it was intended for the iRiver H10 player, but will hopefully work on other RockBox supported players.

-Adam
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: LinusN on September 19, 2006, 03:31:48 PM
Good luck!
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 19, 2006, 06:44:07 PM
How would I change EQ settings on my iPod, which doesn't have an 'o' button?

For that matter, how would I change the EQ settings *at all* using only one button?   (Note:  I mean actually change EQ settings, and not just scroll through crappy 'presets.'  One of the huge advantages of Rockbox over the original firmware--iPod or iriver--is that it has a customizable EQ.)
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Davide-NYC on September 19, 2006, 07:42:31 PM
Personally I dislike this idea. Custom builds and forks in general are (IMO) a waste of effort.

But as a start: Why not just comment out what you don't want from the files apps/plugins/SOURCES and apps/plugins/SUBDIRS? This will decimate the plugins. Just keep the ones that work.

If you want fewer WPSes just comment out the appropriate lines in wps/WPSLIST.

That's what I do. Then I generate a patch and I call it "nofun.patch".  :)

Good luck!

Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: saratoga on September 19, 2006, 08:30:59 PM
So basically all hes saying is he wants the menus rearranged and the splash screen changed?
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: JdGordon on September 19, 2006, 08:34:49 PM
2 things I wanted to point out...
there is no such thing as an optimized build, if anything, the custom builds with extra patches for individual targets make then less stable..

and 2, if there are button mappings which are just plain wrong, then mention them so they can be fixed.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 19, 2006, 08:51:28 PM
Guys, I'm not even sure he's going to ever read this post again, or at least any time reasonably soon. You may have notice that he intentionally quoted his other post, instead of copying and pasting the text, and wants all conversation related to this idea to happen over there.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: JdGordon on September 19, 2006, 09:09:46 PM
well then its his loss... seen as this is the proper rockbox forums and MR isnt.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: adamti91 on September 20, 2006, 05:25:35 AM
who said i wasnt going to check this? i agree, its radically different than rockbox, and as someone said in the misticriver thread, graphics for the main menu is possible, and commenting out what we dont need it too. these are two big parts of the proposition. I know its a big undertaking by all who volunteer, but i think its worth it.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: lachlan on September 20, 2006, 05:30:43 AM
I remember seeing a patch in the tracker not to long ago that had something to do with a scrolling graphic based GUI, although I think it was for the iPod.

Found it: http://www.rockbox.org/tracker/task/5167
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 20, 2006, 05:38:40 AM
All I said was that I didn't know if you would be checking this often, or soon. Your post said that all updates would be at MR and that you only posted here to increase exposure, so I was unsure if you intended to follow up much here.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bazmonkey on September 20, 2006, 01:07:36 PM
Looking at the proposal, this would be a very complicated undertaking for essentially a new UI and less features.  And with you having no coding experience (or, as you said yourself, a willingness to even get online often), you're going to have a very hard time finding someone to, uh, do it for you, basically.

Specifically, though, what don't you like about Rockbox's UI?  You scroll through your filesystem to what you want to play (be in a playlist, movie, image, or music), and play it.  It's not pretty and graphical, but it's not unintuitive.  Really, is starting in your filesystem and navigating to the file you want to play (or through tagcache to the artist/album/track you want to play) really easier than hitting a little music note button that says "Music" on it, and then navigating to the file or track you want to play?  

And just out of curiosity, on a device out of which you want to squeeze as much battery life as possible, why would you want to use energy running a screensaver of any sort?  

I do agree that the settings, while a major feature of Rockbox, could scare away some people.  I think a lot of the frustration there could be fixed by different/better default settings.  Turn on dircache (why does anyone with a newer player *not* want that on?), tagcache, crossfeeding, etc.  Enable what most less-than-technical people would want running on their so that while it leaves all of Rockbox's features, less people have to play around with them.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: nls on September 20, 2006, 02:20:00 PM
I dont't like the idea of a "simplified" ui those often end up making things more complicated and less flexible, also saying that rockbox adds features to the OF makes me wonder if you've grasped the concept of rockbox.

I do however agree that the userinterface could be a little better, prehaps as mentioned many times before a bigger default font for players with big displays, nicer looking standard wps, saner defaults on some settings. But please not the "Everything on" approach especially sound altering stuff like crossfeed. And as to why anyone would not want dircache, ask amiconn ;-) or copy the HVSC to your player and wait for it to update...

Also I think most usability "problems" could be solved by having a really big "MANUAL -- read it" link covering at least half the front page and flashing and playing some anoying sounds or something because we have a IMO pretty good manual (albeit not in very good shape for the h10 yet) and it seems it is very difficult to find it...
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 20, 2006, 03:54:36 PM
we have a IMO pretty good manual (albeit not in very good shape for the h10 yet) and it seems it is very difficult to find it...

Do you really think so?  There is a link to "documentation" on the navigation panel on the left.  From there, it's just two clicks to the manual for your specific platform.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 20, 2006, 04:09:28 PM
I really don't understand why it's so difficult for users to find that "documentation" link on the left side or the "manual" link below each daily build. Really, I don't get it. Seems a bit to me as most users are thinking "it's open source, so there is no documentation". Strangely as most bigger open source projects have really good documentation (even if it is sometimes really hard to read, and does not necessarily include the code itself).

How about distribution a couple of cfg files with rockbox that get installed in, say, the root directory or /.rockbox. Then we could state "try the shipped configurations, if none matches your need just look into the manual and build a configuration yourself". That way we could have a "most users.cfg" that uses iCatcher as wps, turns on tagcache, selects a font that is suited to the screen size etc. Another option would be a README.txt in the root folder -- hopefully most users will open that first and this would be the perfect point to tell "try the shipped configuration files first" and "download the manual".

But I'm getting OT. To simplebox itself: I don't like the idea as it's useless IMHO. Also, starting that argumentation on the h10 feels a bit strange as the h10 port is the newest working port and thus it's the one that I consider most incomplete of all working ports. A lot of other arguments have already been posted so I won't repeat them. Nevertheless, doing such a fork would be a really huge task. This shouldn't get underestimated at all.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 21, 2006, 03:54:27 AM

Also I think most usability "problems" could be solved by having a really big "MANUAL -- read it" link covering at least half the front page and flashing and playing some anoying sounds or something because we have a IMO pretty good manual (albeit not in very good shape for the h10 yet) and it seems it is very difficult to find it...

I don't think that you get the whole usability issue. The GUI of RockBox should be that simple, that you don't need to look at the manual for the most stuff!
I mean, has anybody ever looked at the manuel for functions of the iPod original firmware? I think in terms of usability, the iPod original firmware is way better than RockBox.
Of course, RockBox has much more Features, but they're often presented in a complicated way. I think that there even is the idea of making such a SimpleBox port shows how complicated RockBox ist to use.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 21, 2006, 04:00:10 AM
There is a choice between a simple interface, and lots of options. To keep their interface simple, Apple do not give users access to the equaliser, only presets.

I prefer options, and those options are what Rockbox is about.

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: tucoz on September 21, 2006, 04:14:34 AM

How about distribution a couple of cfg files with rockbox that get installed in, say, the root directory or /.rockbox. Then we could state "try the shipped configurations, if none matches your need just look into the manual and build a configuration yourself". That way we could have a "most users.cfg" that uses iCatcher as wps, turns on tagcache, selects a font that is suited to the screen size etc.


Good idea :) That must be the least complicated way of shipping "default" settings, that most people will  use eventually.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: LinusN on September 21, 2006, 04:19:19 AM

Of course, RockBox has much more Features, but they're often presented in a complicated way. I think that there even is the idea of making such a SimpleBox port shows how complicated RockBox ist to use.

Can you give an example of where Rockbox could be changed to make it simpler? If we can simplify the interface without sacrificing flexibility, I'm all ears.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: lachlan on September 21, 2006, 04:33:26 AM


How about distribution a couple of cfg files with rockbox that get installed in, say, the root directory or /.rockbox. Then we could state "try the shipped configurations, if none matches your need just look into the manual and build a configuration yourself". That way we could have a "most users.cfg" that uses iCatcher as wps, turns on tagcache, selects a font that is suited to the screen size etc.

Good idea :) That must be the least complicated way of shipping "default" settings, that most people will  use eventually.

I also think this is a great idea.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 21, 2006, 06:43:42 AM


Also I think most usability "problems" could be solved by having a really big "MANUAL -- read it" link covering at least half the front page and flashing and playing some anoying sounds or something because we have a IMO pretty good manual (albeit not in very good shape for the h10 yet) and it seems it is very difficult to find it...

I don't think that you get the whole usability issue. The GUI of RockBox should be that simple, that you don't need to look at the manual for the most stuff!
I mean, has anybody ever looked at the manuel for functions of the iPod original firmware? I think in terms of usability, the iPod original firmware is way better than RockBox.
Of course, RockBox has much more Features, but they're often presented in a complicated way. I think that there even is the idea of making such a SimpleBox port shows how complicated RockBox ist to use.

If you want SimpleBox, use the original iPod firmware.  That's what it is.


I agree with Linus--if there are ways of making the interface easier to use without sacrificing features, let's hear them.  But if you just want to strip features off of Rockbox to make it more like the original firmware, what is the point?

I come back to the equalizer as an example.  Rockbox has a fully parametric 5-band EQ.  On the 5G, it also has what is curently a 2-band semi-parametric EQ.  The iPod firmware, on the other hand, has *only*a number of crappy-sounding presets that give the user no ability to control them.  It would be a relatively simple matter for someone to make a bunch of EQ presets and make them available to Rockbox users to duplicate the "functionality" of the iPod software.  Although I personally find EQ presets to be useless, I would have no objection to including such presets in Rockbox if it improved the usability of the firmware.  Likewise, I would have no objection to improving the interface of the EQ to allow users to access the existing settings in a more intuitive matter.  (In fact, I've had discussion with some of the developers about doing just that.)

On the other hand, I would object, and strenously so, if there were an effort made to strip out the customability of the EQ for  the sake of making Rockbox "simple."  That would be a huge step backwards.

In short:

Improving usability of existing functions = good
Reducing functionality to "improve" usability = bad
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 21, 2006, 09:33:58 AM
How about distribution a couple of cfg files with rockbox that get installed in, say, the root directory or /.rockbox. Then we could state "try the shipped configurations, if none matches your need just look into the manual and build a configuration yourself". That way we could have a "most users.cfg" that uses iCatcher as wps, turns on tagcache, selects a font that is suited to the screen size etc.


The idea of making "good" presets is great. But why packing them into a config file, which the user first has to select, instead of making them default in the firmware? OK, there would be different presets for different players, but that istn't too difficult, is it?

And I think, the GUI could use some slight improvements. I think it's not always intuitive where you get when you push certain buttons etc.

The third point is the menus. I don't know if this is the right place to discuss the whole menu again. But maybe we should hide the more esoteric options in a menu in a submenu called "advanced" or something like that.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 21, 2006, 09:41:54 AM
Why include them in the firmware? If they're hard-coded, they're always in memory even when not used. How on earth is having them in seperate files a bad idea, since you still just browse presets and see a list of them?

As for the menus, I don't see how hiding anything in an advanced menu improves anything. That just means your options are in two places instead of one, and you have to learn which options are considered "advanced" and which aren't. Is it really all that difficult to just not use an option if you don't know what it does?
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 21, 2006, 09:49:26 AM

Why include them in the firmware? If they're hard-coded, they're always in memory even when not used. How on earth is having them in seperate files a bad idea, since you still just browse presets and see a list of them?

OK, maybe saving them in a file is alright. But that the user first has to go into the menus, find out where to select the config files and then select this file, I think this is a bad idea.
Maybe we could just save the settings in a file called default.cfg and load by default this config file.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: xlarge on September 21, 2006, 09:58:24 AM
Still the big WHY hasn't been answered properly imo...

Isn't it quite an insult towards people saying that we need a "simpler" interface?
I can't imagine anyone willing to use and capable of installing rockbox without being intelligent enough to learn the menues (although there can be quite intelligent people who doesn't want to spend time learning it - a completely different story).

If it's to big of a deal to learn the menues or look in the manual i don't think they (the people) will use rockbox at all! They are perfectly satisfied with the original firmware.
I mean, flash the firmware, compile rockbox (no, you are right people would prefer to download an already built one... i guess) - without using manual - and then complain about the interface?

I'm tempted to say; Just go for it! Make it happen! I won't use it. :)
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 21, 2006, 10:10:20 AM
Why?

Maybe because a simpler interface would be more efficient and easier to use & learn?

Maybe because more people would use RockBox and its great features if the interface would be easier?

Maybe because it's annoying if you wonder the 10th time which button to push to get to menu x to change setting y?

Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: tucoz on September 21, 2006, 11:14:55 AM
I agree. There is a lot that could be done to simplify the user experience. Also a lot to be done with the first impression of rockbox. And a simple fix to that is to provide a demo.cfg with a prettier wps, larger font etc.
Wrt the navigation, key assignments, menu layout etc. I think someone will have to convince the developers that their approach is better than the current one. And a nice way of doing that, is to provide a patch with your proposal for the developers to try. Another thing to do is to really put some effort into a restructure proposal wiki-page, and try to convince the devs that this is good :)

Martin

(sorry for the off topic spin off here)
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Peter200lx on September 21, 2006, 12:43:29 PM
Would it be possible to make a .rock plug-in for the simple interface for now so that people can experiment with how things work. Then have some way to auto load the plug-in at start up for the people that want to use a simple interface. I personally like the current interface, but I can see why people might like something a little less complex. And we could have an option in the simple interface to go back to the standard one. Maybe even have the simple interface have a settings menu that only has basic stuff like SHUFFLE:[yes...no] .

Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: LinusN on September 21, 2006, 12:53:54 PM
I think a good way to start is to try to explain what it is that makes the current interface so complex. When we know that, we should be able to figure out a way to make it simpler.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bazmonkey on September 21, 2006, 03:12:28 PM

Would it be possible to make a .rock plug-in for the simple interface for now so that people can experiment with how things work.


There is no "simple" interface.  The original poster wasn't even announcing one.  It's a pipe dream right now.

BUT, this is a great time for everyone to tell everyone what's wrong with the interface?  Besides "it's hard", or "I didn't get it at first".

Like the equalizer, what's difficult about it?  It's got 5 bands like the custom EQ's on many players.  It's got a graphical interface.  If you only adjust the gain, it works EXACTLY like a "normal" custom EQ that y'all are used to.  So what's wrong?

I'm all for a cfg that has a bunch of popular settings enabled that usually aren't in the default settings.  That just makes sense, that the initial settings be the ones the most people will be satisfied with.  I understand some things can't be on as default because some players don't support it, some aren't working well yet, etc.  But if you've got a new-ish player, color screen, and nothing crazy going on in your music collection, a little cfg would do no one any harm.

A couple of people have thrown out "read the manual" as a solution to a difficult UI, which it isn't.  I personally don't think it's that difficult, but reading a manual on it doesn't make the UI easy.  A flight manual doesn't make piloting aircraft magically easy.  A bad interface with a manual is just a documented, bad interface.  But rockbox's interface isn't bad IMO.  
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 21, 2006, 03:51:44 PM
I've said this many, many times before, but IMO, the single biggest change that could be made to navigation to improve the overall intuitiveness of Rockbox is to make the "Play" button return to the WPS from the menu system and the file browser, rather than only from the file browser.  Patch 5294 did this (and some other things) before the revamp of the button handling system).  The "Play-to-WPS" functionality has not been updated to the new system.  Before the button overhaul, I used patch 5294 for several months, and I really believe that it improves the overall consistency of the interface without any downside.

Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Yotto on September 21, 2006, 04:39:40 PM
I agree, Febs.  I was using Senab's build (which does go to WPS with play from almost anywhere) and switched to the base build for a bit, and it was very frustrating.  I never knew what 'Play' would do.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 21, 2006, 06:02:55 PM
I have not been using Rockbox for a very long time, only since it was released on the iRiver. H3xx.  I now use it on a 5G 60Gb iPod.

I like the interface. I love having long lists of options.

If you are going to put some sort of preset on the EQ, I would ask it is flat.

There are some whose first impression might scare them off, I think a better looking wps loaded as default would stop them running away. If you are going this way, I would suggest a full colour default wps on those platforms that support it.

For me, the idea of Rockbox is not stripped down simplicity, but a music firmware offering many options, and  customisability. This comes at a price of a complex interface.

Maybe the interface could be made less complex without compromising options, if so, then I am for it. But I would not trade one option for an interface that was twice as easy to use.

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: DrSpud on September 21, 2006, 06:45:34 PM
I just wanted to say I really think we need to realize that an intuitive interface != a simplified/feature reduced interface. So here's what I did. I rearranged (and renamed) a number of the options in a way that makes better sense to me, and made a patch: http://drspud.no-ip.com/better_menus.patch
There's nothing removed or duplicated, just moved. This is closer to my idea of a streamlined interface and to what I think most people would expect. Thoughts?
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: JdGordon on September 21, 2006, 06:51:14 PM
there is a wiki page and forrum thread dedicated to rearranging the menus into a more logical order...
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 22, 2006, 01:55:32 AM
Here are a couple of my humble ideas:



Of course you could configure that on startup, you go to the main menu (default) or to WPS, WRS, Radio
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: belly917 on September 22, 2006, 09:07:03 AM
Here are a couple of my humble ideas:

  • make a "main menu"
    • Browse files
    • WPS (Maybe now playing or something)
    • Radio
    • Recording
    • Settings
    • Browse Plugins
  • Play Button always goes to WPS
  • Rec Button always goes to Recording


Of course you could configure that on startup, you go to the main menu (default) or to WPS, WRS, Radio


I'd have to agree with keuleJ, while I've never had problem navigating the interface of rockbox, it's always bothered me that having the entry point for the radio or the recording screen in the settings menu seemed like an afterthought.  I understand that the radio or recording is not available on all rockbox targets so this menu may only consist of 4 items in some instances.

Of course this opens up some new questions:
Is the WPS also for the radio play & recording now?
What happens when you press navi* in the WPS?
Does pressing the a/b* button anywhere bring you back to the main menu?"
*iriver buttons used for example

........Also a lot to be done with the first impression of rockbox. And a simple fix to that is to provide a demo.cfg with a prettier wps, larger font etc. ..........


First impressions are very important, and while some techno-geeks such as myself can see the benefits of the features of rockbox, there are alot of users who get hung up on glitzy things, and even if they understand the benefit of extra features, they get caught up on the default screen being "ugly".

I propose that rockbox hosts a "default rockbox color wps" design competition.  This wps should scale well across all the color targets and would present an initial unified front to the new rockbox user community.  (this is something I've been wanting to attempt myself for a while, but recently all my attention has been trying to get my mythtv box to work!)

a little more than 2 cents, but I hope it's useful
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 22, 2006, 09:15:22 AM
Actually, there is an included WPS that looks pretty good, and works on all targets (including grayscale) except possibly the small H10s. And for some reason, being early in the morning, its name has completely dropped from my mind.

One of the core concepts of Rockbox is that it's based around the filetree (or tagcache browser) and that the WPS is a layer on top of that, not the main screen. Reorganizing it so that you start in the menu, and file browser is an option in there is quite contrary to the conceptual structure of Rockbox as it is currently.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 22, 2006, 09:15:48 AM


I propose that rockbox hosts a "default rockbox color wps" design competition.  This wps should scale well across all the color targets and would present an initial unified front to the new rockbox user community.  (this is something I've been wanting to attempt myself for a while, but recently all my attention has been trying to get my mythtv box to work!)

a little more than 2 cents, but I hope it's useful


Now that, I think, is a *very* good idea.

Llorean, what do you think?

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 22, 2006, 09:17:55 AM
iCatcher, that was its name. It has versions for nearly all targets, and uses different fonts on many of them so that it's not identical, but rather adapted for each. I personally am not terribly fond of it (since it seems very inspired by the iPod look) but it fits this need.

I certainly wouldn't mind if someone came up with a unique-to-Rockbox WPS that worked on all targets, but I would say that it needs to work on all bitmap displays, not just all color ones.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 22, 2006, 09:25:18 AM
Here is where I become unsure of how separate builds are put together.

Is it possible to have a different default wps for each build. That way when a new user boots to RB the first time they are greeted with a nice interface?

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Genre9mp3 on September 22, 2006, 09:27:02 AM
iCatcher, that was its name. It has versions for nearly all targets

Actually it currently has versions for _all_ targets since 18 of September! :)

Quote
18 Sep 19:17
Hardeep Sidhu
"iCatcher/UniCatcher WPS updates by Ioannis Koutoulakis: code update to the new volume/battery enum system and new versions for H10 5GB, Gigabeat and X5 remote"
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 22, 2006, 09:28:58 AM
At the moment the default WPS is actually hard coded into Rockbox in a way where it would be a hassle to have a different one loaded for different players.

Here's where the interesting bit comes in: The plan is to move to the config mostly being saved in a file, rather than on a sector, which would mean the default WPS can actually be set to a file by setting the line in the included default config file, I would think, and so since each player includes a different version of iCatcher, or whatever WPS, each one would load its version of it quite easily, I think.

Remember, this is speculation, but I *think* it should be doable easily if/when that system is implemented. Until then, not as easy since the default wps is hard-coded, but if you could convince someone to load a .cfg file as their first action, it could of course change the theme to something prettier.


Genre9mp3: That is good to hear. :) Clearly I'm out of date.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 22, 2006, 10:11:15 AM
One of the core concepts of Rockbox is that it's based around the filetree (or tagcache browser) and that the WPS is a layer on top of that, not the main screen. Reorganizing it so that you start in the menu, and file browser is an option in there is quite contrary to the conceptual structure of Rockbox as it is currently.

Well then let me play Advocatus Diaboli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocatus_diaboli) and say that this structure is maybe not suitable anymore for the newer players with more options (radio and recording for instance) and that we should think about something different.
Even a graphic menu would be possible, I think. Maybe optional, maybe not for all targets, but possible.
Reading default values automatically from a config file and using a good theme (eg. iCatcher) would be great.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 22, 2006, 10:13:39 AM
I'm not sure there's much benefit to come from a graphical menu. It'll cost in battery life for what is essentially eye-candy, and I don't know how that relates to actually making it more user friendly.

As for the "newer players" thing, some of the oldest Rockbox players had FM radio and recording, so that's not going to fly as an argument in favour of moving the main screen to the menu. In the case of Recording devices there's usually a recording button, and the plan is to eventually allow this to invoke the recording screen anyway, most likely, so again there's a one-button press to get to the screen you want.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: LinusN on September 22, 2006, 10:29:55 AM

I'd have to agree with keuleJ, while I've never had problem navigating the interface of rockbox, it's always bothered me that having the entry point for the radio or the recording screen in the settings menu seemed like an afterthought.


1) The menu is not only for settings, thus the FM radio and recording are not in the settings menu.

2) Yes, FM radio and recording came after music playback in the original Rockbox on the Archos, so you can call it an afterthought if you wish. In fact, all features that are added to Rockbox are basically afterthoughts, since that is how Rockbox is developed.

Quote

I propose that rockbox hosts a "default rockbox color wps" design competition.  This wps should scale well across all the color targets and would present an initial unified front to the new rockbox user community.

And the winner is: iCatcher!
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: belly917 on September 22, 2006, 10:54:13 AM
And the winner is: iCatcher!

LinusN, I appreciate the humor!  ;D

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't iCatcher require the Album art patch?  And if so, how can it be included as the default WPS in a daily build?

--- edit --
I was wrong, the icatcher on the wiki is different than the one included in daily/cvs builds as Llorean points out below.  I never copy over the wps folder when I update rockbox because I use my own, hence I never noticed it.
--- /edit -----

And sorry if I didn't make it clearer before, but my thought was that this unified rockbox WPS would be the default that shows up when you first run rockbox.. not the simple text one that is the current default.

I know that the default WPS is currently hardcoded into rockbox's code, but with the possible changes that Llorean discussed, this sounds plausible.


p.s.   Talk about thread hyjacking.. I never liked the simplebox idea, but once the question was raised of suggestions to change the rockbox interface, the topic shifted to a more interesting subject and took off.

Sorry for contributing to the hyjacking.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: DrSpud on September 22, 2006, 10:57:53 AM

  • make a "main menu"
    • Browse files
    • WPS (Maybe now playing or something)
    • Radio
    • Recording
    • Settings
    • Browse Plugins
  • Play Button always goes to WPS
  • Rec Button always goes to Recording


Believe it or not, that's very similar to how I changed the menus in my patch. Thanks for confirming that this style of layout is what people would expect  :D
Seriously, we should just have the main functions of the player on the 'main' screen - wps, file browser, radio, recording, plugins, and also playlist & bookmark controls (IMHO) - I would have had the first two in my patch if I knew the code better  ;)
Then put all the options - organized neatly - in a single 'Settings' menu, and we'd have what nearly any user would expect as far as navigation and usability goes.
Simply put, regardless of how RB works and is structured internally it should present an interface that makes sense from the user's point of view.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 22, 2006, 11:01:14 AM
Well, this thread is still discussing the merits of a simplebox idea, and the way to achieve similar goals without forking the Rockbox project, so it's not really hijacked (yet).

Also, no, iCatcher does not require Album Art. It's been included with CVS Rockbox for ages, and is usually what I recommend now for people who want to change WPSes to one that will skip less than the default with peakmeters.


And to many of us, starting at the file tree does make sense to our point of view. The vast majority of the time you're selecting a song or playlist to play, so the most logical place to start is where you can choose one from. I think part of the problem is that people have an expectation of starting in a menuing system because other firmwares do so, but I really don't see the benefit of requiring extra keypresses to get to the filetree every single time I turn my unit on.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: RedBreva on September 22, 2006, 12:33:58 PM
Isn't the fact that iCatcher (for example) is 'better' on newer platforms (ie no skipping on iPods etc) a good reason in it's own right to seriously consider using it as 'The Default', regardless of any aesthetic considerations.

It would look 'better' - The poster is being subjective!! - and would in likelihood reduce some of the newby support questions regarding performance!
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: nls on September 23, 2006, 04:17:32 AM

A couple of people have thrown out "read the manual" as a solution to a difficult UI, which it isn't.  I personally don't think it's that difficult, but reading a manual on it doesn't make the UI easy.  A flight manual doesn't make piloting aircraft magically easy.  A bad interface with a manual is just a documented, bad interface.  But rockbox's interface isn't bad IMO.  


I was reffering to this statement in the original post
Quote
The majority of us don't use/don't know how to use the majority of the features of RockBox


If you don't know what something does I think you should look in the manual. The manual also explains the rockbox interface and its quirks, most people have a difficult time with it in the beginning because it is simply different from the system they're used to and what they expect from a use interface.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 23, 2006, 04:32:35 AM


And to many of us, starting at the file tree does make sense to our point of view.


I agree.

As for the manual not making a plane easy to fly, that is because flying is hard. Rockbox is not simple when you first start, but if you stick to it, you will learn how to use all or most of its features.


So far, except for having some use of colour and a sensible font as default for each platform (and sensible differs amongst platforms because of their screen characteristics) all of the suggestions seem to lean towards dumbing down to make it easier for beginners.

The idea behind Rockbox is that it offers a very wide choice of options. The only way to make them easier, is to remove them.

One suggestion is to make the order of options in a menu user definable.  This would not make it more simple, but more complex to use, and would require a couple of manual pages to explain. I love the idea of user definable menus. I dont mind the extra complexity. But it wont make Rockbox more simple to use.

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bazmonkey on September 23, 2006, 06:53:27 AM
As for the manual not making a plane easy to fly, that is because flying is hard. Rockbox is not simple when you first start, but if you stick to it, you will learn how to use all or most of its features.


I bet if you stuck to piloting you'd figure it out, too  ;D

The point I was getting at still remains; a poor interface that comes with a manual documenting said poor interface does not make it a good interface or an easy one.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 23, 2006, 07:03:50 AM
And yet many of us are just fine with the interface. The problem is, those of you who say it should be improved suggest making it more awkward to use AFTER you've learned it. Hiding the options away in an 'Advanced' menu, or putting them anywhere that makes them less readily reached somewhat defeats the purpose of Rockbox being a powerful alternate operating system.

Face it: People who are satisfied with the basics will stick with the original firmware. Rockbox is targeted for people who want to get more from their player. In general this means they want ready access to the advanced features as well as the basic ones.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 23, 2006, 07:25:38 AM
I dont think the interface is unintuitive, but it does take time to learn as there are *lots* of options.

I have just read this thread again, to look for what people are actually asking for, and it seems there are 5 things.

1) Hide some of the more esoteric* menu options in sub-menus

2) Add graphics to make it more intuitive

3) Make it more intuitive

4) Start in a menu system instead of the filetree.

5) Remove some menu options.

I address them like this....

1) I use some of them, I prefer them near the top of the menu tree. I think most who stick with Rockbox want access to them, because those who stick with Rockbox tend to be the sort of people who like to fiddle. But I do like the idea of a file RB reads the menu layout from that is easy to configure with standard tags for each menu option. That way I could set it up just the way I like it with each theme :) I will even write the manual for this if somebody does the code :)

2) I would like some examples of this. I thought the iRiver H3xx menu system good at first, but wasted effort afterwards.

3) I have yet, besides option 2) seen any indication of what this might mean.

4) I prefer to either return to the song/playlist it was on when I stopped, or the filetree. Which is exactly what I get :)

5) Please dont remove options. Add them


*esoteric in this context means anything the Apple firmware doesnt have.

h

Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 23, 2006, 07:37:48 AM
3) Make it more intuitive
(snip)

3) I have yet, besides option 2) seen any indication of what this might mean.


You mean besides my suggestion that the "Play" button always go to the WPS, from both the browser and the menu system?   ;)

I would implement this feature myself if I could.  In fact, I have looked into the code and while I have learned a great deal about how it works, unfortunately, I just haven't had time to learn enough to make the changes that are required to make this work.  So for the time being at least, I have to just keep making the suggestion in the hope that someone will implement it.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 23, 2006, 07:43:51 AM


You mean besides my suggestion that the "Play" button always go to the WPS, from both the browser and the menu system?   ;)



I am using Senabs second last build, and it is implemented on that. Well unless you are a couple of layers into the menu, then sometimes it doesnt work....

:)

Forgot that I am not using the standard build.

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 23, 2006, 07:45:18 AM
I thought there was a working play-button-to-wps-from-menu patch already? Like, on the tracker. That someone just needs to be browbeaten into committing..


To follow the previously posted breakdown of some of the general concerns in this thread, these are how I would address them:

1) What about things Apple doesn't have but iRiver does? The idea is for Rockbox to have the same menu layout on all targets so someone can updgrade to a different Rockboxable player and be on familiar ground. Again, it's vitally important that choices *not* be made simply because that's what a commercial firmware did. As well, hiding the options just makes it more of a hassle to get to them once a user *is* ready to use them, and I don't see how having them available from the start can actually *confuse* someone. If you don't know what it does, don't change it or look it up. How confusing is that?

2) How do graphics "make it more intuitive" since all they do is the exact same things as word. Graphics are only more intuitive for the illiterate, and it's very hard to express "Sound Settings" as an image, let alone "Playlist" and various other things.

3) What do you even mean by "more intuitive" exactly here? I mean, ideally that means "things are where a person could reasonably expect them to be" as in the category and submenu names follow a progression that if someone thinks "I want to change the equalizer" and sees several choices, one of them is clearly enough the one they think they should go through to find it. In most cases this is already true, though I've no doubt a few things are in unintuitive places. If you mean something else with "intuitive" please expand.

4) As has been said, it makes the most sense in to return to the filetree/tagtree since if you're using the device for the intended purpose of "being a file-based music player" the filetree is the primary place you return to, as most menu settings aren't changed as often as you start new playlists or pick songs.

5) Removing options doesn't really "improve" the situation so much as sticking your head in the sand and trying to pretend it's not there. One could respond "Why remove them when you can simply ignore them?"
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 23, 2006, 09:52:13 AM

I thought there was a working play-button-to-wps-from-menu patch already? Like, on the tracker. That someone just needs to be browbeaten into committing..


I just tested that patch against current CVS on my iPod 5G.  It applies cleanly.  The "quick exit" part works, but the "Play to WPS from within menus" does not.

I'm compiling a build for my H100 right now and will test it there.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 23, 2006, 09:59:20 AM
Well, it's rather easy for things to fall out of date, I suppose.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 23, 2006, 10:00:50 AM
The point I was getting at still remains; a poor interface that comes with a manual documenting said poor interface does not make it a good interface or an easy one.

IMO the interface is even superior to all other interfaces I've seen on such kind of devices. Calling it »poor« is just useless -- it's different, and as Linux won't change the way its terminal behaves just because some users coming from Windows aren't used to it Rockbox interface won't change just because someone isn't used to it and calls it »poor«. I also needed to get used to it the time I started using Rockbox. Every time I happen to start the OF again I'm shocked how broken the OF (and its menu and navigation) is.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 23, 2006, 10:05:25 AM


I thought there was a working play-button-to-wps-from-menu patch already? Like, on the tracker. That someone just needs to be browbeaten into committing..


I just tested that patch against current CVS on my iPod 5G.  It applies cleanly.  The "quick exit" part works, but the "Play to WPS from within menus" does not.

I'm compiling a build for my H100 right now and will test it there.


It  works on the H100.   Maybe there's a button mapping issue on the iPod.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 23, 2006, 03:51:30 PM
First of all, what's wrong with making RockBox easier to use for noobs? Maybe that not only geeks could use such a player?
We definately should find a way to make RockBox easier to use without loosing functionality.

One key for this, in my eyes, is to have good defaults and that is certainly not just for colors and fonts, but for pretty everything. If RockBox had a good default for "Max Files in Dir Browser" for each player, the average user would never have to touch this option.

I still like my proposition of having a main menu. And I still like the idea of having it popping up when you push the menu button. You still could have record button for going to rec and play button for going to wps. I just think wps, radio and recording screen are similar und should be treated similarily.
Maybe we could even stay with "press select for file browser in wps".

For start up, I think you should have the following options:

Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 23, 2006, 04:52:02 PM
how do you want to decide what "good defaults" are for e.g. the "Max Files in Dir Browser"? Of course you can simply use a greater value on players with a bigger memory. But that value highly depends on the way you organize your music -- I for example have organized my files in a way that a folder usually has less than 20 files. Using a higher value is simply waste in that case. Of course, as "try this first" defaults a bigger value could be used e.g. for ipods, as the chance the users are using tagcache (and thus having a pretty long "Artists" list) is pretty high.

Also, there is a main menu. What's wrong with it? You won't get the devs convinced to start in any other view than the browser. It's simple: what do you want after turning on your dap? Listening to music. To do so, you either resume the last played playlist (which then automatically switches to wps) or you need to pick some files. Thus, the only logical starting point is the browser. Starting in any menu would require another keypress to switch to the browser, and this keypress is the reason why you won't get devs convinced to start in anything else than the browser.

The "quick exit" patch makes the buttons a lot more consistent by only adding a few changes. AFAICS it isn't unlikely for this to get implemented, but apart from that (and maybe a little menu reordering) I don't see any point in adding an additional "startup" menu.

Also, I don't think it's a good idea to make Rockbox too much noob-friendly. Those noob-not-reading-the-docs questions are already annoying enough, and Rockbox is intended for people who acually want to get the potential of their hardware and are willing to dig into it. People who just want to "use" something -- why don't they simply stick to the OF? Rockbox is a different firmware. It's not for simply adding the missing functionality to the OF. IMO the user interface of Rockbox is pretty good, but you need to get used to it a bit. Which also is the case (according to my experience) for most interfaces that are "different". Once you get used to it it's logical and fast. To quote Linus Torvalds on a (different) usability issue (http://mail.gnome.org/archives/usability/2005-December/msg00021.html):
Quote
This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of
Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will
use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long
since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

I believe the same applies to the usability discussion for Rockbox, so that's the point I don't think it's useful making Rockbox easier for noobs. IMHO I don't believe we want nor need users that don't care about. YMMV.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: tucoz on September 23, 2006, 05:24:22 PM
@bluebrother:
I have to disagree somewhat with you on this.
We are all noobs sometime, and i wouldn´t want to not have them rockbox for whatever reason.
Rockbox should be made simpler. By that, I don´t mean changing the fundamental design, but reorganizing the menu, installing a prettier theme by default. If these changes make the experience more beginner-friendly, then all good. I would like all people (to some extent) to use rockbox instead of their original firmware. If a reorganization of the main menu would lead to a more intuitive feel, then we would get less questions from newbies without changing anything in terms of functionality.
I do however agree with you on the gnome issue. I would not want to remove the tweaking heaven rockbox is. I think of rockbox as all about settings, and doing what you like with it. Not based upon what the average joe would like to do with it, and the settings he would apply.
And the devs have in fact played with the idea of being able to select if you end up in the filebrowser, or a top-level menu when you boot rockbox. So that idea looks like it could be made possible.
But, like always. Someone has to do this, and show their efforts to the community for a change to be made.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 23, 2006, 05:48:04 PM


And the devs have in fact played with the idea of being able to select if you end up in the filebrowser, or a top-level menu when you boot rockbox. So that idea looks like it could be made possible.


More settings? YAY!!!!


h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Yotto on September 23, 2006, 07:20:57 PM
Remembering back to when I myself was a Rockbox noob, I recall not knowing how to get to the menu.  Yes, I know the iPod has a button for it.  Doesn't matter, it was not intuitive because it wasn't on the screen.

I of course solved this by reading the manual, but I'm an exceptional noob :D

Would it be difficult, or even possible, to have a *file* named "Menu" or "Main Menu" residing in the root?  A newbie could select it and get the menu.  Just a thought.  We've been arguing about putting a "file browser" in the menu (not a bad idea, to be frank), but nobody's thought to put a "menu" in the file browser.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 23, 2006, 07:39:03 PM
1) Putting anything in the file browser pretty much makes it not a "file browser" any more. Why is pressing a button to get to the menu even remotely a non-friendly concept? I don't think putting a visual option for it in the filetree makes things more intuitive. Once you do that people go from the concept of "Filetree" to "Base level of the menu" and I think that ruins everything. Filetrees don't have options in the same list as files. In the context of TagCache is the same limitation even necessary? If you're browsing an in-RAM tagcache there should be a way to manage creating the list without even particularly much extra memory since it's already in RAM (I'm sure someone can come up with it) and if it's in disk it could probably be loaded by parts or something. Just a few ideas, for that aspect.

2) Out of curiosity how is 400 *not* a sane setting for "Max files in Dir Browser." The larger you make the setting, the worse battery life gets, and the vast majority of decently organized music collections should only have about 30 or less songs in a folder (the size of a moderately large single album).

3) In regards to the Noob question: I think the idea isn't "the noobs can just deal with it" but rather that "noob-friendly usually meanys dumbed down, and that's different from improved, so we should concentrate on how to squeeze more out of it, not how to simply simplify."


I personally am quite against the idea of putting non-files in the filetree. It's already quite easy for someone to see the main menu, and I honestly think it's rather stupid of ANYONE to replace the firmware on their multi-hundred dollar MP3 player without looking at least briefly at how it works first.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 24, 2006, 02:58:47 AM
We are all noobs sometime, and i wouldn´t want to not have them rockbox for whatever reason.

Sure, we are all noobs sometime. But the point is if someone is actually trying to get a new thing known (be it a software, some hardware design or whatever). Currently I see a load of noobs who are not interested in getting to know Rockbox, it's simply a "I don't like apple, so I need to use something else (but this should be the same)". Writing this "Quick Start" for the manual was one attempt to make it more noob-friendly (which still could be improved -- but it's a bit frustrating to see those questions answered there getting asked again and again simply by those people not reading it).
Quote
Rockbox should be made simpler. By that, I don´t mean changing the fundamental design, but reorganizing the menu, installing a prettier theme by default.

IMO Rockbox should be made more consistent, not simpler  ;)
There are some inconsistencies that should get eliminated. The "quick exit" patch was for one of those. Using "nicer" defaults is another, but with those defaults I also see some problems: the current defaults don't need any additional files. When using iCatcher as default it will fail if the theme is not installed (unlikely) or the fonts are missing (extremely likely). As missing fonts aren't warned about the theme will look completely broken and users will report this "broken" theme (or call rockbox "crap" because of this).

Maybe the best solution would be to (a) include some "runme.cfg" file in the fonts package's root folder or (b) generate a separate zip file with some try-me-first configurations.

Quote
I would like all people (to some extent) to use rockbox instead of their original firmware.

This is something like a "holy war" like Linux vs. Windows. I'm a linux user and would like to see more people using it, but I have stopped trying to convince people. Why? Those people who are not willing to get themselves used to it only create hassle. So while I'm sure to use the OS that's better for my needs I don't want others to use it just for the sake of doing so.

Rockbox can play doom. How many users install Rockbox simply because of doom and "it's cool", but don't actually want to get used to it? I don't think those will keep using Rockbox, but those are creating a lot of disturbances by their ignorance and super-noobish-behaviour.

Quote
I do however agree with you on the gnome issue. I would not want to remove the tweaking heaven rockbox is. I think of rockbox as all about settings, and doing what you like with it.

Unfortunately there is always a tradeoff between simplicity and settings. More settings automacitally means to make it more complex. So I don't think there is actually a way to make it simpler without sacrifying the settings options. Some menu reordering could be done, indeed.

Some ideas:
- the recording screen could get moved up one level. It's a bit strange it is hidden in another submenu while e.g. the fm screen isn't. The recording settings would fit below the "General Settings" along with the "Playback" menu. As the Recording Settings are accessible directly from the recording screens also I don't think this would complicate it.
- reorder the main menu a bit so that additional screens (fm, recording) come last (except the "Info" entry which should stay the last IMO).
- implement the "quick exit" patch. The menus are toggled, and thus it should be able toggling them from everywhere.
- provide a "start me first" configuration package, possibly including a README file.
- I don't like this "startup screen" patch but would prefer to have the screen last active saved and restored upon reboot.

Quote
And the devs have in fact played with the idea of being able to select if you end up in the filebrowser, or a top-level menu when you boot rockbox. So that idea looks like it could be made possible.

Really? AFAIK this is "only" a patch in the tracker. Might be possible, though.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: tucoz on September 24, 2006, 04:03:20 AM
Quote
IMO Rockbox should be made more consistent, not simpler   ;)

I think there is language confusion from my part here. By simpler I do not mean less options, but more consistent and intuitive menu(s). Just a reorganization of the main menu would be splendid in terms of that (like a lot others point out).

Quote
This is something like a "holy war" like Linux vs. Windows. I'm a linux user and would like to see more people using it, but I have stopped trying to convince people. Why? Those people who are not willing to get themselves used to it only create hassle. So while I'm sure to use the OS that's better for my needs I don't want others to use it just for the sake of doing so.

Hmm, I think I know what you mean. It´s an uphill battle in any case, but I would´t consider myself part in that war. People use what suits their needs. I said i want all people to use rockbox. - Consider this a dream situation. :) And to be honest, I do not like the noob term. I do not think it´s the noobiness that is the problem with lazy people, but lazyness.

Quote
Really? AFAIK this is "only" a patch in the tracker. Might be possible, though.

well, this has been discussed in irc at least once by people i consider core  :)
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: mnhnhyouh on September 24, 2006, 04:35:45 AM

This is something like a "holy war" like Linux vs. Windows.


I guess there are some that might think I am on this sort of kick over at the iLounge where I spend some effort to publicise Rockbox.

However, I think Rockbox is not even for the majority of iPod users. Most will be happier using iTunes and the stock firmware.

My hope is that some of the iPod users who take up Rockbox will join the Rockbox team. I would be happy if it just meant a few more well designed wps, or a couple more people testing bugs.

If I was the person who caused somebody to come to Rockbox who then started developing code, I would be a very happy person :)

h
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 24, 2006, 02:33:18 PM
2) Out of curiosity how is 400 *not* a sane setting for "Max files in Dir Browser." The larger you make the setting, the worse battery life gets, and the vast majority of decently organized music collections should only have about 30 or less songs in a folder (the size of a moderately large single album).

I have 491 Artists in my "Music" directory. I don't order them by genre.

Quote from: bluebrother
Also, there is a main menu. What's wrong with it? You won't get the devs convinced to start in any other view than the browser. It's simple: what do you want after turning on your dap? Listening to music. To do so, you either resume the last played playlist (which then automatically switches to wps) or you need to pick some files. Thus, the only logical starting point is the browser. Starting in any menu would require another keypress to switch to the browser, and this keypress is the reason why you won't get devs convinced to start in anything else than the browser.
What do you want after turning on your dap? Maybe listening to music, maybe recording music, maybe listen to the radio or even play a game?
OK, we have a main menu. But I think it should have entries for WPS and Browse Files and I think it should show up at startup optionally, but by default.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 24, 2006, 03:11:40 PM
You can't make the maximum possible assumption though, because increasing the limit decreases the battery life for *everyone* who doesn't know about the setting. It's better for the few people with higher than average lists to increase theirs than making everyone with smaller lists decrease it to improve their performance.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 24, 2006, 03:12:12 PM
Quote

I have 491 Artists in my "Music" directory. I don't order them by genre.


IMHO, the problem there is with your method of organization, and NOT with the 400 file default setting.  Not that there is anything wrong with your method of organization if it works for you, but you are clearly in the minority of users, and therefore (again IMHO) you need to adapt to the default rather than vice versa.

With respect to the other topics of discussion:

I have Word 2003 on my work laptop, and a slightly older version on my home computer.  The version that is on my home computer is the one that hides most of the settings in the menus, and shows only those that have been recently used.  I can't stand it.  If I know what menu something is in but it is an option that is not currently visible, it's an extra click that I need to make to get to that option.  If I don't know where something is, that "feature" makes it a real pain to look for it.   In short, hiding menu items to make the interface "easier" does nothing of the sort.  It only adds hassle.

I am 100% behind making Rockbox more user friendly by making the interface as intuitive as possible.  I don't think that "dumbing down" the interface is the way to do it.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 24, 2006, 05:02:01 PM
What do you want after turning on your dap? Maybe listening to music, maybe recording music, maybe listen to the radio or even play a game?

About 95% of the users want their dap to play music. Not radio, not games, not recording. So having the main menu as startup will make startup slower for about 95% of the users. Sorry, but this is the majority. Adjusting to 5% of the users (or probably even less) doesn't make sense at all.
Quote
OK, we have a main menu. But I think it should have entries for WPS and Browse Files and I think it should show up at startup optionally, but by default.

I completely disagree. You simply need to take into account what most people are doing with their players. Additionally, some players even have those options. Take the ipods for example -- no fm, no recording. What should that main menu be for? Selecting "Playback"? For all users starting with something else it's simply one additional button click. (Even the iriver OF doesn't start with such a useless menu!).
Also, there is a play button that takes you to the wps. Why have an additional (useless) menu entry when the same function can be achieved with a button? (Nevertheless this should work from all menus -- but this is a different topic).
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: keuleJ on September 25, 2006, 02:16:31 AM
Sorry, I think some of you guys didn't read half of my post. I said, make it optional: You could select if you want to boot into recording screen, wps (which would probably resume), FM Radio, Main Menu or File Browser. Just saying, the Main Menu should be default and that it should have entries for WPS, Radio and Recording. even if you have dedicated Buttons for some of these. This redundancy makes it easier to use, I think. If you select File Browser, it's nearly the same as now.

As for the fonts: Once we have a release version, we should include the fonts that are used for the WPSes that are supplied with the release.

If I'm really in the minority of users that have more than 400 entries in a directory, then I think the default is fine.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 25, 2006, 02:32:06 AM

Sorry, I think some of you guys didn't read half of my post. I said, make it optional: You could select if you want to boot into recording screen, wps (which would probably resume), FM Radio, Main Menu or File Browser. Just saying, the Main Menu should be default and that it should have entries for WPS, Radio and Recording.

I believe I read your complete post. But I argued that having such a "main menu" is waste and useless IMO and also something like that should never be default. I even gave you an argumentation why and why you won't convince the devs that this solution is good or should even get implemented. Consistency should get adressed, but this is a different thing and has nothing to do with an additional menu.
Also, showing the wps without anything playing doesn't make sense at all. Which is the reason why the wps isnt't the "main" screen. But this has been discussed several times before.
Quote
As for the fonts: Once we have a release version, we should include the fonts that are used for the WPSes that are supplied with the release.

It has already been agreed by the devs that the release will be a complete install, including the fonts package. It has even been discussed about including the manual also. So there is no point in discussing this.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: LinusN on September 25, 2006, 02:49:02 AM
Just my $0.02:



BTW, we discussed the GUI in the IRC channel some time ago, and we came to the conclusion that we wanted a more "flat" arrangement of screens (mainly an issue with how the code is designed), and that a startup menu isn't all that bad.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: adamti91 on September 25, 2006, 07:06:02 PM
Well I have taken a back seat for awhile, just reading posts. I agree with points on both sides of the issue, but obviously lean toward my side of the argument. I believe the suggested "Main Menu" (Music/FM Radio/Recording/Games/Utilites/Settings) is the best option (Graphical, as an option), with the current default menu available as an option as well.

-Adam
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Febs on September 26, 2006, 06:02:40 AM
What would you consider to be a "utility"?
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: nls on September 26, 2006, 11:44:22 AM
I recently lent my h300 to my (not rockbox aware) sister and observed confusion while trying to show her how to use the recording feature.

The problem was that there is no(t really any) visual difference between the file browser and the menu. For example my root contains folders such as music, recordings, pictures etc and then in the menu ther's settings, recording etc and this was obviously confusing as the two look very much the same.

So an improvement would be some clearer difference between the two. I don't really know how to do that but perhaps have another backdrop for the browser or some "menu arrows" or icons (shrug...) in the menu.

As a side note she managed to get the recording right and was able to listen to it, so our user interface can not be all bad  :)
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bluebrother on September 26, 2006, 01:39:02 PM
How about simply adding a caption to the list views? The "Show Path" feature could get extended to be a "List Caption" option which can show the path (like already present) or show a caption like "File Browser", "Tag Browser", "Main Menu" and so on. This could be set to the caption setting per default. Maybe add a small line to separate it from the rest of the list view.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Llorean on September 26, 2006, 01:44:55 PM
I'm quite fond of that idea. I suggested something very similar a long time ago.

Also, the Root folder needs *some* sort of caption for both visual consistency and decreased confusion.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: adamti91 on September 26, 2006, 04:17:28 PM

What would you consider to be a "utility"?

Calculator, Clock, possibly a Periodic Table of the Elements like iPodLinux had, etc...

-Adam
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: JdGordon on September 26, 2006, 04:44:44 PM

How about simply adding a caption to the list views? The "Show Path" feature could get extended to be a "List Caption" option which can show the path (like already present) or show a caption like "File Browser", "Tag Browser", "Main Menu" and so on. This could be set to the caption setting per default. Maybe add a small line to separate it from the rest of the list view.

just fyi, having a title in the menus at the moment is not very easy to add, but.. (here we go again) in my menu/ressetings recoding patch (forumn thread a few below this one) this is done for the main menu, and any others which use the new menu code.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: Neogx on September 29, 2006, 01:44:29 AM
Honestly I think it would be a cool idea to have a simpler way with rockbox  like adam was saying=).
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: jamier on November 08, 2006, 12:47:39 AM
I'm gonna fence sit on this one,
(I try not to be too obnoxious on my Hello World post)
but i agree with most points of both sides. I couldn't possibly tell one of my friends or siblings how to operate rockbox, and it would take a long time for them to figure out, as it did me. But at the same time, a simpler interface causes it to lose its flexibility. Having a main menu with all the functions set out in categories would be good, but as long as its done in a way that doesn't hide features or items.
Title: Re: Proposition: SimpleBox
Post by: bascule on November 08, 2006, 03:38:26 AM

How about simply adding a caption to the list views? The "Show Path" feature could get extended to be a "List Caption" option which can show the path (like already present) or show a caption like "File Browser", "Tag Browser", "Main Menu" and so on. This could be set to the caption setting per default. Maybe add a small line to separate it from the rest of the list view.

For me, using Tag browser exclusively, I find having the name at the top of each Tag Cache menu gives me just that functionality. This is activated by switching on the 'Show Path' setting...