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Amarok Status / Tool Bar design improvments

User avatar granpez
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[generate by google translate:]

Amarok Status / Tool Bar improvments .

Amarok , the great music player and manager for KDE. But ...

The problem of color and design status / tool bar is perhaps the most visible Amarok bug in visual and functional terms (at least for me) .
Apparently the new KDE HIG recommend getting rid of the status bar , but until that happens ...
I just mean the status bar panels " media sources" and
" play list ". The panel context requires a separate post because they are
many design errors and proposals for mending .

The image speaks for itself , but ...

Amarok current design: http://i59.tinypic.com/2ecq3nn.png

Amarok wished design: http://i60.tinypic.com/1043vhu.png

Argument for change :
1. The current status bar breaks the visual design, causing distraction and frustration ( the ugly and out of place things and itchy rash). What does a completely alien to everything colorful , thick and inflated line? It is more noticeable when we place way down the toolbar when the blue bar short Amarok in two. which is the argument of visual design to keep it that way ?
2. In functional terms, although visually highlight over other bars , panels and controls , it is not more important than others. Indeed , functionally is secondary compared , for example , controls of the toolbar .
3 . Though the status bar at the bottom of the panel " play list " performs a permanent function , it always shows some buttons ( 5) and the amount of information and tracks time, the status bar located at the bottom of the " origins of Media" panel lacks buttons and displays information only in fleeting moments (few seconds each time) , which gives results in a large and empty blue box ( an abnormality of the Matrix? )


The change :
1. Integrate it into the overall design (colors, shapes and sizes ) for visual continuity.
2 . Denote visually occupies a secondary place functionally
3. In the bar " origins Media " panel you can add some buttons and relevant information related to the panel , such as buttons : home collection update , add media, add flow ; without overloading course.

Other options:
1. Completely disappear the status bar of the " origins of Media" panel and integrate their information to the buttons and status bar panel " play list "
2. made only one status bar , which is independent at 3 panels Amarok.
3. Heed to disintegrate HIGS and status bars , dividing its functions elsewhere. Where? not know ...

subject background:

Bug 279272 - Amarok respect global color palette Should in the bottom areas (currently blue)
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=279272

Bug 279527 - Color text in toolbar below playlist is always white even if background is light - not readable
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=279527

[ GUI] Re : [Bug 279527 ] New : text in toolbar below Color playlist is always white even if background is light - not readable
http://mail.kde.org/pipermail/amarok-devel/2011-August/009313.html


Original en español:

Amarok Status/Tool Bar improvments.

Amarok, el gran reproductor y gestor de musica en KDE. Pero...

El problema del color y diseño de la status/tool bar quiza sea el bug de Amarok más visible en términos visuales y funcionales (por lo menos para mi).
Al parecer las nuevas HIG de KDE recomiendan deshacerse de la barra de status, pero mientras eso no ocurra...
Solo me refiero a las barras de status de los paneles de "origenes de medios" y
"lista de reproduccion", porque el panel de contexto necesita un post aparte pues son
muchos los errores de diseño y las propuestas para remendarlos.

La imagen habla por sí sola, pero...

Argumento para el cambio:
1. La barra de status actual rompe con el diseño visual, causando distraccion y frustracion (las cosas feas y fuera de sitio provocan comezón y sarpullido). ¿que hace una linea colorida, gruesa e inflada completamente ajena a todo lo demás? Es más notorio cuando ubicamos hasta abajo la barra de herramientas, cuando la barra azul corta Amarok en dos ¿cual
es el argumento de diseño visual para mantenerla así?
2. En terminos funcionales, a pesar de resaltar visualmente sobre el resto de barras, paneles y controles, no es mas importante que otros. De hecho, funcionalmente resulta secundario en comparación, por ejemplo, a los controles de la barra de herramientas.
3. Si bien la barra de status ubicada en la parte inferior del panel "lista de reproduccion" cumple una funcion permanente, pues muestra siempre algunos botones (5) y la informacion de cantidad de pistas y tiempo, la barra de status ubicada en la parte inferior del panel "origenes de medios" carece de botones y muestra informacion solo en efímeros instantes (pocos segundos cada hora), lo que nos da como resultado un gran y vacio cuadro azul (¿una anomalía de la Matrix?)


El cambio:
1. Integrarla al diseño general (colores, formas y tamaños) para lograr una continuidad visual.
2. Denotar visualmente que ocupa un lugar funcionalmente secundario
3. En la barra del panel "origenes de medios" se pueden agregar algunos botones e informacion relevante relacionados al panel, como por ejemplo botones de: actualizar coleccion local, añadir medio, añadir flujo; sin sobrecargarlo claro está.

Otras opciones:
1. Desaparecer completamente la barra de status del panel "origenes de medios" e integrar sus botones e informacion a la barra de status del panel "lista de reproduccion"
2. Hacer unicamente una barra de status, que sea independiente a los 3 paneles de Amarok.
3. Hacer caso a las HIGs y desintegrar las barras de status, repartiendo sus funciones en otros lugares. ¿donde? no se...

Antecedentes:

Bug 279272 - Amarok should respect global color palette in the bottom areas (currently blue)
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=279272

Bug 279527 - text color in toolbar below playlist is always white even if background is light - not readable
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=279527

[GUI] Re: [Bug 279527] New: text color in toolbar below playlist is always white even if background is light - not readable
http://mail.kde.org/pipermail/amarok-devel/2011-August/009313.html

Last edited by granpez on Tue May 27, 2014 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar daedaluz
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Completely agree.
User avatar Uri_Herrera
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To be honest Amarok needs a complete face-lift, not just a change in some places, I mean, it doesn't even use the proper icons until you manually make the toolbar smaller. Then it also uses hard-coded icons, and then like you mention the way it uses the color scheme is just ugh.

Just removing the status bar is not enough to make it appealing.

I think Tomahawk should be starting point (if anything to take inspiration from) for a refreshed UI.
User avatar daedaluz
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Uri_Herrera wrote:To be honest Amarok needs a complete face-lift, not just a change in some places, I mean, it doesn't even use the proper icons until you manually make the toolbar smaller. Then it also uses hard-coded icons, and then like you mention the way it uses the color scheme is just ugh.

Just removing the status bar is not enough to make it appealing.

I think Tomahawk should be starting point (if anything to take inspiration from) for a refreshed UI.

You are correct, it is heinous as it is now. I think Amarok lost its way when it started integrating all kinds of secondary features like Wikipedia information and lyrics as primary features. But as it is now, I see no reason to start complete overhaul. It would be easier to just start from scratch.
User avatar colomar
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daedaluz wrote:I think Amarok lost its way when it started integrating all kinds of secondary features like Wikipedia information and lyrics as primary features. But as it is now, I see no reason to start complete overhaul. It would be easier to just start from scratch.


Whoa, that would have been back in the 1.something days, then. Actually, I'm pretty sure that integration of lyrics and Wikipedia was one of the reasons why Amarok became so popular in the first place. Any player can play music, most can handle playlists, but showing the lyrics or band info or upcoming concerts right next to the track is what made Amarok special (and they are what people find most impressive about it when I show Amarok to them).
Amarok is more than a music player. For people who just want to play music, Amarok is not the right application, period.

That's why JuK is the player shipped with KDE SC by default, not Amarok. And we also have Bangarang, which enhances the experience by integrating Semantic Desktop features. We don't have a shortage of music players. If we think there is no player which simply plays music and meets our user interface quality standards, we should work on improving JuK or Bangarang (actually, the original creator of Bangarang is our very own Andrew Lake).
If we think Amarok has usability and design issues which should be fixed, we should try to work on them.
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I have to push this thread on top.

In another thread we talk about a new music player app (viewtopic.php?f=285&t=122273) and here we have a powerful player how want help at the design.

You all right, there are a lot of usability issues, BUT the functions are powerful, so maybe we can use the functions from amarok and make a self explanation GUI.
User avatar lazyit
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Uri_Herrera wrote:To be honest Amarok needs a complete face-lift, not just a change in some places, I mean, it doesn't even use the proper icons until you manually make the toolbar smaller. Then it also uses hard-coded icons, and then like you mention the way it uses the color scheme is just ugh.

Just removing the status bar is not enough to make it appealing.

I think Tomahawk should be starting point (if anything to take inspiration from) for a refreshed UI.

Totally agree
User avatar andreas_k
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Thirst I like amarok, the player is feature rich and you have a good overview about your music collection.

The mokup is a mix between the music player design from the VDG and different other players like foobar2000, extended to the features amarok has.

Information Area
On top a information area where you can put some informations like you know it from plasma.

Navigation Toolbar
Beneath the navigation toolbar. With the key icons you need for music navigation. You can add and remove Icons like you know it from any other kde app. In the second screen shot there was a different volume button, you can put to the toolbar icons for shuffle, repeat, ...

Sidebar Left
The part under the toolbar is separated into three sections. Left there is the Sidebar. The sections (collection, internet, playlists, ...) are different tabs on the bottom.

Sidebar Right
Here is the information area, where you can put additional informations for the current track. This is the area where the current plasmoids are located, but they are normal frames. On bottom grouped with tabs.

Central area
In the central area is the current playlist (or additional playlists) and the navigation tab. When you browse the collection like albums, you don't have a album tree like you know it from current amarok. When you select Albums at the left sidebar, the album view was shown in the central area. hear you can navigate to the album or track you like to add to the current playlist.

Bottom toolbar
When you need a toolbar for the tabs, they are on bottom side. There you can add and remove icons, or change the stlye (icon size, text behind icon, ...).
In the collection tab you see in the thirst layout a folder tree symbol, click it and you get the album tree like you have it now and you don't have to use the navigation tab.

tabs on bottom
Amarok is a feature rich app. You can add and remove the tabs on bottom area by click on the + on the left side. When you look at the second layout, there are no tabs, because the tabs internet, playlists, files, current playlist and the information tabs are closed. So you can have an extended or simple music player.





Difference to amarok 2.8
1. the plasmoids from 2.8 are now normal tabs
2. you can switch between album tree view and albums (artists, ...) at a bigger navigation area.
3. consequent behavior with tabs
4. consistent use of the color scheme
pablow
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I really like your mockups!

One issue I can see with your mockups is: how to handle multiple collections? I mean in the sidebar, Devices attached and things like that
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pablow wrote:I really like your mockups!

One issue I can see with your mockups is: how to handle multiple collections? I mean in the sidebar, Devices attached and things like that


Thanks :-)



devices in the collection tab as a additional group and when you have different collections like ~/music, music collection on the nas, internet steams like you know it from thomahowk, ... there is a drop down selection in the toolbar area of the collection.
Wyatt
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colomar wrote:
daedaluz wrote:I think Amarok lost its way when it started integrating all kinds of secondary features like Wikipedia information and lyrics as primary features. But as it is now, I see no reason to start complete overhaul. It would be easier to just start from scratch.

Whoa, that would have been back in the 1.something days, then. Actually, I'm pretty sure that integration of lyrics and Wikipedia was one of the reasons why Amarok became so popular in the first place. Any player can play music, most can handle playlists, but showing the lyrics or band info or upcoming concerts right next to the track is what made Amarok special (and they are what people find most impressive about it when I show Amarok to them).
Amarok is more than a music player. For people who just want to play music, Amarok is not the right application, period.

This is interesting because it doesn't reflect my experience at all. I have personally never used the Wikipedia or Lyrics functions intentionally and of dozens of people I've introduced to Amarok, only one has ever mentioned either feature later. That said, it's great that it can serve the needs of people who want that, and I don't advocate for the removal of those features per se (I've always found them fairly unobtrusive).

Back in the "Good Old Days" (c. 2004 or so?), I was initially attracted to it because it offered robust library management and search. Over time I came to appreciate the flexibility it allowed for listening to my music on my terms. The smart playlists, ratings, labels, musicbrainz integration, moodbar, and even features for mass-editing metadata within the playlist. While Amarok 2.x has greatly improved on some of these things and I gladly use it over other music players, my view is it still lives in the shadow of 1.4. (People often suggest I use Clementine but it's not even in the same league.)

I should probably clarify that my Amarok experience centres around the playlist as the primary UI feature, and everything else serves that. The context sidebar is relatively small, and mostly serves to show me labels (that I can click to give me the list of everything it's applied to), and other tracks and albums by the artist. Summary metadata, album art, and the rating are also in that pane to clarify the subject of the column.

The sidebar is tabbed so I can get to my library to search and drop tracks into my playlist when the mood strikes me. Previously, playlists (which included Smart Playlists) were a third tab so I could very easily drag and drop "twenty-five random songs with lastplay:>3m rating:>3" into my playlist (I think I have at least one wishlist bug open related to this).

As you note, it's true that every music player under the sun does music and playlists, but my position is that I then choose to use amaroK (old style, like my UI layout natch) because it does what every other player does only better. So I have no problems with trying to make Amarok look better and behave more functionally -- I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I was satisfied with its UX -- but if a full redesign is being considered, I would strongly advocate it be done with the consideration that Amarok is primarily a highly-functional tool rather than trying to out-chrome all the shiny upstarts and becoming less useful in the process. That's already happened once and it still hasn't recovered.
User avatar hook
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Uri_Herrera wrote:To be honest Amarok needs a complete face-lift, not just a change in some places, I mean, it doesn't even use the proper icons until you manually make the toolbar smaller. Then it also uses hard-coded icons, and then like you mention the way it uses the color scheme is just ugh.


I pretty much agree.

Uri_Herrera wrote:I think Tomahawk should be starting point (if anything to take inspiration from) for a refreshed UI.


On this I disagree. I like it that I can change and tweak Amarok’s interface to my liking (e.g. I’m using a two-panel setup) and presonally dislike Tomahawk’s or any other similar (iTunes-esque). I agree that visually it looks nice, but I never found it very useful; even after trying to use Tomahawk exclusively for more then a month.


It's time to prod some serious buttock! ;)
User avatar colomar
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Wyatt wrote:As you note, it's true that every music player under the sun does music and playlists, but my position is that I then choose to use amaroK (old style, like my UI layout natch) because it does what every other player does only better. So I have no problems with trying to make Amarok look better and behave more functionally -- I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I was satisfied with its UX -- but if a full redesign is being considered, I would strongly advocate it be done with the consideration that Amarok is primarily a highly-functional tool rather than trying to out-chrome all the shiny upstarts and becoming less useful in the process. That's already happened once and it still hasn't recovered.


Nothing is being considered. This is just a thread with people bouncing ideas around. In the end, the Amarok team are the people who decide if they want to implement any of the ideas we are generating here. And I'm pretty sure they don't want to abandon their profile as a feature-rich application for not only playing music, but also orgamizing your collection and getting additional information on your music. Their slogan "Rediscover your music" still guides them.
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OK, now for my 0,02 € in general about Amarok and the proposed mockup.

I share the concern that when redesigning Amarok, it should be kept in mind what use case it’s trying to cover. My own use case is a bit different than Wyatt’s and I would very much like to mix different resources into the same playlist – e.g. if I’m searching for good blues, I don’t really care if I find it on my HDD, Ampache, Magnatune or Jamendo; ideally I want to search them all at the same time. But I agree that advanced filtering and dynamic playlists etc. are a must in Amarok.

That being said, in general I find andreas_k’s mockup very modern and visually pleasing and a very good start. It’s hard to get all that functionality into a nice and coherent UI and it’s great to see the community try to crack this tough nut together.


It's time to prod some serious buttock! ;)
enoop
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Seeing how there are quite a few applications that need porting and possible design work, could there be a kickstarter to help fund some of the work?

 
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