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Author Topic: User Interface / Paint  (Read 18213 times)

SamuriHL

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User Interface / Paint
« on: August 05, 2011, 05:07:56 pm »

Glynor kinda hit it on the head.  I mean, I spent probably an hour or two trying to get the interface set up the way I can use it.  I'm still not in love with it.  I LOVE the library feature, don't get me wrong.  I really really do and feel that's one of the greatest features of MC16.  But as a new user, there are SO many options, and SO many ways to customize things that it's a bit overwhelming.  I haven't messed with my setup simply because I don't want to lose what I have.  I see there's library backup and restore functions, but, I've not had time to mess with those.  I haven't been a UI design person for many years, so let's get that out of the way right now.  However, if i were to offer some design suggestions, I'd start by defaulting MC16 to a more "basic" mode and hiding some of the options at first.  This would let people take advantage of the power of MC16 as a library manager and playback software first and foremost.  As they become comfortable with it, there needs to be a "gradual" way to introduce more of the features until you get to "advanced" which exposes everything.  I'm just throwing out ideas here and don't have anything concrete.  But I tend to agree with those that say it's a bit busy....at least in the beginning.  I just think we need to throw new users a bone and help them out a little bit until they can get their head wrapped around things....slowly.  And not have it all thrown at them at once.  I don't know if that makes any sense at all.  If not, I'll work out a better explanation later.  I just had to drive through 3 hours of traffic to get home so my head's a bit off right now.  :)
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SamuriHL

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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 05:11:12 pm »

Just had another thought...maybe there's a way to create "themes" based around different use cases for MC16.  For example, I use MC16 almost exclusively for video playback.  If there were a "video mode theme" that exposed just the major features needed for library management and playback for video, that'd rock.  Then there could be an "audio mode theme" etc.  And allow them to quickly and easily switch between them.  I know, I know, there's those nice little library categories and such, but, I'm talking about changing the entire UI based on the function they pick.
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stottle

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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 05:32:57 pm »

...
All that matters to them is something that automatically works the way they want it to work—even if they don't know what it is they want. I'm sure not everyone agrees, but I don't consider such people potential MC users. Pursuing them is pointless, and attempting to cater to them is counter-productive.
I guess this is why I reacted to SamuraiHL's comment about getting more user's.  There is a large and growing interest in getting media from the computer to the entertainment system.  I think a lot of those users would love j river, but it is intimidating and has too much of a learning curve for many of them.  If j river is software for the hardcore user and doesn't want those customers, no problem.  If they want those customers, some suggestions have been made.  

For my part, my suggestions are meant to help.  If, as you suggest, they would move j river in a direction it doesn't want to go, no problem.

I work on backend processing.  I've found that it is easier to get a solid foundation working and then and chrome and usability features.  It is harder to work the other way around.  So I think (if j river wants to), it can add the flashiness/ease out of the box that say XBMC or WMC has.  I don't see XBMC/WMC adding the audio fidelity, zones, server/client synchronization and easy of tagging that j river has.

My specific suggestions (hopefully they are desired) would be:
1) Start with a wizard.  J river doesn't provide any capability until some files are added.  WMC has you point to folders to grab from before it starts up, j river should do the same (I don't keep anything in My Music/Videos/Pictures, so my db starts empty).  Then set theatre view as the default, but make exiting to the other views easier.
2) Continue to extend the database from music to DVD/Bluray, to provide automatic metadata lookup.  I saw the post about potentially storing the AnyDVD list of valid movies to circumvent a new protection.  Extend this with cover art and backdrop art, since your competitors already do that.  
2b) You need separate tags/art for genres.
2c) It would be amazing if one person could upload tags for the cool content on a bluray (main feature + alternate ending + deleted scenes + shorts) - by playlist.  Then when anyone else pulls the metadata, they get all of that for free.  Total wishlist - someone provides an edited playlist that does cool things like link the two discs for Lord of the Rings extended blu-ray, and everyone else gets that for free.
3) Create a new support (or change the wiki) to have task-focused how-tos.  A lot of this could be pulled directly from the forums, with minimal clean up.  But I love to be able to see a post - "How to use stacks to group photos", which I wouldn't think to ask on the forums,  but would jump out at me on a list.  Hopefully the user community could push this.

Personally, I think that what separates good software from great software is simplicity.  Make it simple to start, but make the extra features available to those that want to use them.

My $.02

Brett
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stottle

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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 05:44:50 pm »

I should also really say thanks for the great software.  It really is amazing, my suggestions aren't meant to suggest otherwise.
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JustinChase

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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 08:32:49 pm »

My specific suggestions (hopefully they are desired) would be:

2c) It would be amazing if one person could upload tags for the cool content on a bluray (main feature + alternate ending + deleted scenes + shorts) - by playlist.  Then when anyone else pulls the metadata, they get all of that for free.  Total wishlist - someone provides an edited playlist that does cool things like link the two discs for Lord of the Rings extended blu-ray, and everyone else gets that for free.


I wrote this almost 7 years ago, for V11 :)  these ideas  ^^^ would be a great addition (TB drives and mountains of metadata weren't common then)

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=24255.0
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Would anyone else find it interesting or useful to be able to share MC 'setups' with others.  Things like view schemes, smartlists, playlists, visualizations, etc.  Sort of like a skin.  It makes your MC look different, but doesn't change your library, or files.  Just makes it look and act different.

We could call them 'clothes' maybe, or 'armor'. Huh

I'm sure many people have some great organizational ideas, or clever smartlists.  there's just no good way to share them.  if they were saveable, or downloadable, they would be easy to share.  if I could use a couple good ideas from a few different people, I might be able to put together a better useage pattern, or workflow than what I use now.  I think it would be very interesting to see how other people use MC.

I'm certain I'm not using all of the cool features to their best use for my needs, and this might be a good way to learn how others do some things better than me.
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rick.ca

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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 10:38:56 pm »

Glynor kinda hit it on the head.  I mean, I spent probably an hour or two trying to get the interface set up the way I can use it.  I'm still not in love with it...

I wonder if it would have helped if you have been given some kind of meaningful overview of (for lack of a better term) the fundamental architecture of things. I get the impression many are inclined towards confusion just because they don't understand the basics. It doesn't help that what most people can readily understand as a "database" is called a "library." This is a database of meta data about media files, not of the files themselves. Understanding just that much makes it difficult to confuse information recorded in the database versus that stored in file tags, or to believe that file management is directly tied to file pathnames or playlists as it is in other programs. It also makes it easier to understand any "view" is just a highly configurable manipulation of the data in the database. If a view doesn't do what you want, change it or make one that does. When you understand it's just data, there aren't many limitations to what you can do with it, and if you mess it up you can restore the data from backup in seconds, it becomes much less intimidating.

This kind of overview could be conveyed effectively in a single professionally-produced (i.e., watchable) video that introduces the program to new users. Maybe one video could serve both as an introduction and as a "teaser" for potential customers. Both have their reasons for wanting a quick overview that gives a clear indication of capabilities—without providing overwhelming detail.

If I have that kind of vision about what unfamiliar software can do for me, I find myself motivated to try it. I don't have much difficultly in making good progress—even if faced with a steep learning curve. This should not be surprising. The kind of overview I'm talking about allows me to decide if I want to tackle the learning curve before I commit. For most people, frustration is caused from lack of direction, not the reasonable effort required to achieve a known goal.

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I'd start by defaulting MC16 to a more "basic" mode and hiding some of the options at first.

That's easy to say, but who decides what's "basic"? If I'm a new user who want to do something very specific, then whatever I need to do that is basic to me. Everything else is superfluous and potentially confusing. Trying to guess what I want and hide what I don't want is bound to fail, and the absurdity of the effort is going to piss me off.

Here's an example: I happen to favour Pane Views. They're very flexible and powerful, and can be used in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. According to this idea, they should be hidden from me until I'm "ready." But that's not how they grew on me at all. Because they are so powerful and well-designed, I found it very easy to configure simple views that served me well in the early days—when I knew next to nothing. I'm sure they actually helped me navigate my data before I was even aware of many alternative methods. As time went on, my Panes Views grew and incorporated more and more advanced techniques. As a result, I'm continually adding new capabilities to my views and enjoying the process of doing so. There was no point in my experience where "hiding" anything from me would have had any positive effect.

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I know, there's those nice little library categories and such, but, I'm talking about changing the entire UI based on the function they pick.

This strikes me as counter-productive as well. One of the benefits we get from using one application for all media is that much of what we learn about one media type—not just about the program, but our own preferences in data management practices—is transferable to other media types. I'm sure the most common approach is to try it first with one media type of primary interest. Much of the confidence needed to apply it to the next media type comes from the success of implementing the first. Much of that going to be lost by "changing the entire UI."
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rick.ca

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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 11:25:40 pm »

I guess this is why I reacted to SamuraiHL's comment about getting more user's.  There is a large and growing interest in getting media from the computer to the entertainment system.  I think a lot of those users would love j river, but it is intimidating and has too much of a learning curve for many of them.  If j river is software for the hardcore user and doesn't want those customers, no problem.  If they want those customers, some suggestions have been made.

Sorry, but I don't agree with your apparent premise: That MC "is intimidating and has too much of a learning curve..." Yes, it most certainly does—for those who would never consider using software anything like it anyway. It does not follow it would not appeal to a significant portion of those with that growing interest, or that MC is intended for a "hardcore user" who (by your implication) has completely different interests. Why would you not assume that with this large and growing interest, there is a rapidly growing number of potential users coming to the realization the learning curve required, contrary to being "intimidating," is nothing more than what should be expected, and well worth the benefits involved?

Furthermore, the idea no one is interested in things that require some effort to use or learn is nonsense. The idea actually seems rather contrary to human nature. If true, why are people moving in droves to smart phones, when plain ordinary phones so obviously fits their practical needs much better—with virtually no learning curve? Not only is there the common preference for anything bigger, better, faster and more complex. Many people actually prefer the choice requiring more learning—understanding that much of their enjoyment of the thing will stem from that. Maybe addiction to technology "crack" is more widespread than you think. ;)
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JustinChase

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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 11:32:42 pm »

...and incorporated more and more advanced techniques. As a result, I'm continually adding new capabilities to my views and enjoying the process of doing so. There was no point in my experience where "hiding" anything from me would have had any positive effect...

I completely agree.

Panes are great, and I am still learning MC in a similar fashion to what you describe, just messing about, poking around, trying stuff, I've picked up on how it all sorta works and I've read the forums, and learned the kinds of things I could do, and have had a wonderful time playing with all the data, and enjoying top quality playback.  sounds similar to your situation I think.

I would guess that you are also the person in your family that people call when they have computer problems.  Because you "get it" as far as how you can just play around, and with a general computer knowledge, and some fearlessness, you can get computers to do what you want.  you're not afraid to try and break stuff in order to "fix" it.  People likely ask for your help because of this.

Most users I see in here fall into this category.  But certainly not all.  Pretty much everyone you can expect to be helpful and "know how to help others" falls into this category.

the suggestions from SamuriHL that you responded to, or other suggestions from myself and others are, I think, meant to help people like my Mom

she's not clueless about computers, but has no interest in fiddling around with MC to figure out that she can see all of her Kenny Rogers CDs in a cool view.  She doesn't really want to figure out how to point MC to import files from various locations, automatically or otherwise.  she doesn't care about formats or codecs or any other such stuff.  She wants to click the MC icon, easily find her song/photo/video/playlist/whatever and get going.

some wizards and video help files and popup tips would help ease her into all the other stuff she can do, bit by bit.  this would get her to continue to be a user.  When I show her stuff, she loves it.  She goes home, then calls me and ask "how the hell did you do that?"  a frustrating converstaion ensues, and she gives up on it.

I don't know if MC is interested in gaining these types of customers, or if they are quite happy with more 'knowledgeable' users that can keep up with the development and can be contributors to the direction of the software.

They have indicated interest in these customers, and have asked for feedback on how to better attract and help them, and have made comments to this effect
I thought the video was awesome.  We need to figure out how integrate things like that into our website.

I don't disagree with your assessment, for "our" kind of people; but if MC wants my Aunt Terri to use their software, they need to help her into it.
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rick.ca

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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2011, 12:20:12 am »

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I don't disagree with your assessment, for "our" kind of people; but if MC wants my Aunt Terri to use their software, they need to help her into it.

If you want your Mom and Aunt Terri to be using MC, you should set them both up with remote clients running off your system. They both get a trouble-free media collection designed for their needs. You get all the enjoyment of figuring out how to do it and maintaining the collection. ;D
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JustinChase

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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2011, 12:38:54 am »

If you want your Mom and Aunt Terri to be using MC, you should set them both up with remote clients running off your system. They both get a trouble-free media collection designed for their needs. You get all the enjoyment of figuring out how to do it and maintaining the collection. ;D

I believe this was made in jest, which is all good :)

however, *I* don't want them to be using MC, the question is, does J River want them to?

if I did want them to, I would certainly not do this. ^^^  It wouldn't be "trouble-free" for any of us, least of all me.  For starters, I can't share anything with a remote client other than MY library.  Under no circumstances does either of these women want to hear my early Punk music collection, nor do I have any Kenny Rogers music.  Nor do I have the patience to help them understand and implement "designed for their needs."  ;D

I hope you got my point above though.  We're allot different then they are, and just because it's "challenging and fun" for us, one cannot expect that same enthusiasm from "normal" people, in my opinion.
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Daydream

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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2011, 02:26:42 am »

I won't single out Mom and Aunt Terry; let's just generalize as a certain category of public. Or consumer / clients. By the same definitions of what they "won't do / spend time with" as described above, they won't add sources to XBMC, they will not know how to install a skin for it, they would have minimal (if any) understanding of the metadata concept. They will like it nonetheless once they see it, but it'll be like magic to them. They would not know what script to add in Media-whatever or how to work the nodes, once plugged in. They would have no idea where to start with the likes like Helium. And they would not know how to add a tuner in 7MC even if the wizard blinks pink - "I don't know what this thing is asking me; can you take a look at it?". They will have all these solutions set up for them. By the likes of you and me.

Conclusion? You can't expect MC to have cute dancing kittens upon starting. Nothing really does have them and to get any kind of good results of any featured-rich software you have to apply yourself.

That being said, the things I got from reading this thread and the one on AVS forum are "paint, packaging, presentation". Get.Them.Hooked. MC is already exceeding expectations technically - you already see creeping in comments to the likes of "too many features". Exceed their expectations visually. The site, the videos, the skins (err... what?! :P), the screenshots. The brain likes colors not walls of texts.

On a sidenote, I believe right now JRiver is on an incredible successful streak, further developing the video side of MC. I wish they enjoy the extra exposure they got by the means of topics like these, focus on finishing what they are doing right now, and take whatever practical suggestion were made into consideration for the next version.
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rick.ca

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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2011, 06:41:15 am »

however, *I* don't want them to be using MC, the question is, does J River want them to?

What would be the point in marketing to those who don't want or need the product, or even have the aptitude or interest to use it if they did?

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We're allot different then they are, and just because it's "challenging and fun" for us, one cannot expect that same enthusiasm from "normal" people, in my opinion.

I thought it was clear my expectation MC should be of any interest to those it was not designed to appeal to is even less than yours. Although I see nothing wrong with making things easier to use, trying to do so to appease those who just aren't interested in what the program can do is just a waste of time. There's plenty of market potential from people more inclined to appreciate what the program has to offer.

That being said, the things I got from reading this thread and the one on AVS forum are "paint, packaging, presentation". Get.Them.Hooked. MC is already exceeding expectations technically - you already see creeping in comments to the likes of "too many features"...

One impression I got from skimming the AVS thread was that some are reaching for excuses to avoid having to contemplate changing to an alternative that sounds like it might be a better choice. I believe one astutely noted the tipping point will come when something like MC demonstrates it can "do it all." For audio, I suppose it's already there. For video, it's very close. It still needs an integrated system for getting meta data and automatically keeping it up-to-date. Someone who already has that in another application may be intrigued by news of MC's new video playback prowess, but they're unlikely to want to give up one thing for the promise of an improvement in another. But what happens if that objection is removed? Even those who are concerned about a learning curve and their available time are going to have a tough time resisting something that's credibly best in so many respects, inexpensive and a complete solution. There's probably already a significant market in those who are wasting a lot of time and effort trying to achieve the same result in other ways.

I believe JRiver will achieve much better results by removing that one objection as soon as possible. It will surely have a much greater positive impact than anything else that might be done with the idea of easing the learning curve. I doubt we'll even hear much about a steep learning curve—when new users are climbing it to get the best complete solution available. In an application where ease of use always has been a key consideration in ongoing development, the learning curve objection is not likely a real one. It's much more likely tied to some other objection. What it really means is, "I don't want to make the effort to change and learn when, in the end, I'll still be lacking something I need." Remove the real objection, and both are gone. As in, "Of course I don't mind learning how to do this. When I'm done, it will provide everything I need..."
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stottle

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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2011, 07:22:26 am »

Sorry, but I don't agree with your apparent premise: That MC "is intimidating and has too much of a learning curve..." Yes, it most certainly does—for those who would never consider using software anything like it anyway. It does not follow it would not appeal to a significant portion of those with that growing interest, or that MC is intended for a "hardcore user" who (by your implication) has completely different interests. Why would you not assume that with this large and growing interest, there is a rapidly growing number of potential users coming to the realization the learning curve required, contrary to being "intimidating," is nothing more than what should be expected, and well worth the benefits involved?
Specific to the section in bold, I think you are assuming j river is the only option.  The problem is that there are lots of other choices, and many of the other choices allow you to get up and running quickly and have importers for video backdrops and metadata tied in.  So you end up with a pretty compelling UI with very little work.  And several of the programs are free.

I hear your point, though.  J river does appeal to those that like the customize-ability (and don't mind the learning curve), and it shouldn't make changes so that it stops appealing to them.  I think that is your concern, right?

What if the installer (or a wizard) provided an option for "basic" or "advanced" interface?  Basic would start in theater view, advanced would start in standard view?  The basic would continue on to help set up importers for music, movies, etc..  Heck, I'd love to have an "easy setup" that let me point to an existing setup/library on a server and select Basic mode (for theater view).  That way I could share the library I set up on my dev computer, and have it instantly running on my HTPC in a few clicks, for my wife and son to use.  Maybe this would be a "client" mode instead of "basic", but I imagine it is a common enough use case.  (Ok, I know this isn't hard to do if you find the specific forum post that covers this*).

*Jeez, I know there is a wiki page or forum post that talked about how you could share networked files with two independent libraries, or you could save the library and the files on a networked location and have multiple computers use the same library.  But even knowing what I was looking for, I couldn't find the link in 5 minutes of looking.

My main point is that if j river could get a new user up and running with music and video in just a few simple steps, it would go a long way towards getting them excited about the product and willing to learn how to tweak it to their hearts content.

Part of my reasoning is that I kinda consider standard view to be the "edit" mode, where I can configure, but I need a mouse and keyboard to do much.  Then there is the 10' UI mode, where things are simple and can be run from a remote easily (but also a keyboard/mouse).  Getting users into the 10' UI mode faster, and only needing to get to the edit mode when they want to make changes (or in my case from a different computer), is what I am suggesting.
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stottle

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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2011, 07:33:15 am »

Although I see nothing wrong with making things easier to use, trying to do so to appease those who just aren't interested in what the program can do is just a waste of time. There's plenty of market potential from people more inclined to appreciate what the program has to offer.

It still needs an integrated system for getting meta data and automatically keeping it up-to-date.
I totally agree on the 2nd point.  And to me, that would be a wonderful example of easing the learning curve.  And since you obviously support the idea, I'm wondering what you think we mean by easing the learning curve?  I think RO goes a really long way towards getting video to work out-of-the-box, but still gives the flexibility to fully customize.  Great, great stuff.  And it eases the learning curve.  It seems like you are arguing that RO is a bad thing for j river.  I doubt this is the case, so I have to conclude that you think easing the learning curve means something different than I do. 

Would you mind giving an example case of easing the learning curve that would be bad?
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nwboater

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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2011, 07:37:51 am »

I totally agree that easing the learning curve and auto scraping of video meta data will eliminate some objections to MC. But until TV is fully developed within MC I just don't see how it can become a complete do-it-all media system.

Rod
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JimH

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2011, 07:46:32 am »

... until TV is fully developed within MC I just don't see how it can become a complete do-it-all media system.

Are you using it?  I know you've asked for commercial skipping, but I think our TV solution is pretty strong.  Please start a new subject if you have other needs.
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JimH

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2011, 07:48:08 am »


Part of my reasoning is that I kinda consider standard view to be the "edit" mode, where I can configure, but I need a mouse and keyboard to do much.  Then there is the 10' UI mode, where things are simple and can be run from a remote easily (but also a keyboard/mouse).  Getting users into the 10' UI mode faster, and only needing to get to the edit mode when they want to make changes (or in my case from a different computer), is what I am suggesting.
We've considered making Theater View the default view.
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nwboater

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2011, 08:01:04 am »

Are you using it?  I know you've asked for commercial skipping, but I think our TV solution is pretty strong.  Please start a new subject if you have other needs.

I'm not using it yet. I have been planning to try it when Glynor gets his HDPVR and TV working properly. When someone like him with all his video and other expertise has so much difficulty it makes me very hesitant to wade in. And yes the lack of Comskip is a real issue. When you get used to something like that it's difficult to give it up.

Jim you know I love MC, encourage its use in many forums, and truly want it to be our only media player. But I just don't get the sense when reading of others experiences and requests in the TV area that it is quite there yet.

Rod

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JimH

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2011, 08:01:27 am »

On a sidenote, I believe right now JRiver is on an incredible successful streak, further developing the video side of MC. I wish they enjoy the extra exposure they got by the means of topics like these, focus on finishing what they are doing right now, and take whatever practical suggestion were made into consideration for the next version.
Thanks.  I agree with your comments about both the success streak and the need to finish.  We're pedalling as fast as we can.

I also can't thank the community enough for what they have done.  It's a huge part of the recent breakthroughs.
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JimH

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2011, 08:05:06 am »

I'm not using it yet. I have been planning to try it when Glynor gets his HDPVR and TV working properly. When someone like him with all his video and other expertise has so much difficulty it makes me very hesitant to wade in. And yes the lack of Comskip is a real issue. When you get used to something like that it's difficult to give it up.

Jim you know I love MC, encourage its use in many forums, and truly want it to be our only media player. But I just don't get the sense when reading of others experiences and requests in the TV area that it is quite there yet.
Don't pay any attention to glynor.  Dive in!  Start a thread with your requirements and see where it goes.  Follow users like rpalmer68 who have it working well.
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nwboater

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2011, 08:14:27 am »

Don't pay any attention to glynor.  Dive in!  Start a thread with your requirements and see where it goes.  Follow users like rpalmer68 who have it working well.

Well glynor, guess I have to tune you out! 

Okay Jim in the next couple of weeks I'll give it a try. But I can only do this if I can be assured  that I will still be able to use our existing TV player on a daily basis while I play with TV in MC. WAF is very important here!

BTW does rpalmer68 use an HDPVR, or are there others active here that do?

Rod
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JustinChase

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2011, 08:47:33 am »

...But I can only do this if I can be assured  that I will still be able to use our existing TV player on a daily basis while I play with TV in MC. WAF is very important here!

I'll start a TV thread soon enough, but for the time being, i thought it important to note that MC will NOT play wtv files currently.  i think Yaobing has found the issue, but I haven't heard about the fix yet.

As for HDPVR users, I use a dual-tuner card that records fine in HD, if that's what you mean.  It works great for recording.  TV playback is less than great :(

Jim, is dedicated TV development coming anytime soon.  I mean, all the concentration on video playback/Red October the last couple of months had excellent results and this kind of attention on TV would bring it up to/beyond the level of other solutions I think.

I'd LOVE to use MC for TV also, but the fact that I can't even see titles or descriptions makes it pretty hard to start using it seriously for testing and feedback, especially if JRiver needs to spend dev time in other areas for a while first.

I tried starting a thread a while back with one of my TV improvement requests, but didn't get very far then...

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=58447.msg395602#msg395602

I'll put together some feedback on the reasons it doesn't work for me and start a thread in the next couple of days, unless someone else starts one first :)
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JustinChase

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2011, 08:52:54 am »

Another previous post on TV improvement requests...

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=59104.0
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lepa

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2011, 09:30:51 am »

No DVB-C (boards with BDA-drivers) support.
No DVB subtitles support.
Cannot record multiple channels inside a mux with one card.

So yes, at least for us living in DVB countries I think that TV support is lacking.
I don't mind though. I just use currently superior DVBViewer for TV which is easy to start from MC's theater view.

Other than that the only main thing lacking is the integrated data scraping for videos.
Wikipedia search is something but not enough. Maybe permission to use TMDb and TheTVDB would solve that? Solve the scraping and I think that MC starts to be near perfectomundo. (for a little while at least ;D )
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CountryBumkin

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2011, 10:07:51 am »

Based on the JRiver website and Wiki, I never would have tried the program. The info and screen-shots there just don't do justice to the program. Jim's RO posting on AVS lured me in.  I believe most HTPC hobbists put alot of time in their setups, and switching to a new program means abandoning all that work put in and starting over. There has to be a compelling reason to do so.

Also the free trial is great, but I for one won't go through the trouble to install a trial anything just to see what it is. I want the eye candy first, then I'll invest the time to try it out - and make it work.
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Lasse_Lus

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2011, 10:14:22 am »

I want the eye candy first, then I'll invest the time to try it out - and make it work.

eye candy is great the first 3 times, then you want a real nice bite, like KingSparta's meals  :)
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fitbrit

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2011, 10:50:51 am »

eye candy is great the first 3 times, then you want a real nice bite, like KingSparta's meals  :)

MC16 already has the substance, so additional style will not harm anything!
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fitbrit

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2011, 11:10:22 am »

Very impressive tablet remote app for XBMC. At first I thought it was similar to TheaterView running on Splashremote, but then it turned into a whole lot more. I guess metadata scraping is the key:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Yt8BLdAnp8
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)p(

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2011, 11:29:03 am »

Very impressive tablet remote app for XBMC. At first I thought it was similar to TheaterView running on Splashremote, but then it turned into a whole lot more. I guess metadata scraping is the key:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Yt8BLdAnp8

That is impressive. But I think we wont see something like that from jriver for the ipad. Now that more and more of jrmc's backend is exposed for gizmo our best bet as ipad owners is probably a thirdparty developer to create something similar. Its a good example though for j. rivers android efforts.
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imugli

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2011, 11:32:56 am »

Are you using it?  I know you've asked for commercial skipping, but I think our TV solution is pretty strong.  Please start a new subject if you have other needs.

I am and you're right, it is. Nevertheless, there are plenty of threads with suggestions/requests on how to develop TV functonality further. So many that I really don't believe another topic needs to be started. Unless of course you simply want a central thread for all of the existing ones to be listed or linked to in...

Not to mention that is probably the second or third time I've read you say "give us some suggestions". We are. Or do you simply want suggestions that match the ones on your list?

Jim, you have my money for life. I think I've used MC since 14 (possibly 13) and MC is streets ahead of anything else, but TV functionality IS the weak link and there are plenty of threads already suggesting how so. To this point in time it feels like these have mostly fallen on deaf ears at the expense of other aspects. Fair enough, there's more ROI to had in those, understood. With the demise of Sage though, MC has a real opportunity to step up and an opening that may just elevate the potential ROI of development of the TV aspect.

I'm not a 'power user' and I don't expect my thoughts or suggestions to be taken with much more than the proverbial grain of salt. You guys have a business case you need to fulfill, you produce a proprietory piece of software and as far as I'm concerned we are lucky that you do pay as much attention to users requests as you do, but when power users like Glynor raise ideas, perhaps a bit more attention SHOULD be paid...

fitbrit

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2011, 11:37:06 am »

That is impressive. But I think we wont see something like that from jriver for the ipad. Now that more and more of MC's backend is exposed for gizmo our best bet as ipad owners is probably a thirdparty developer to create something similar. Its a good example though for j. rivers android efforts.

The point is that if MC's own TheaterView could show some of that info, link to trailers etc., then there's no reason you couldn't continue to use SplashRemote on an iPad. I'd like to see a metadata scraping deal cut by JRiver, if cost isn't prohibitive, or a user submitted metadatabase for video. And I think we video users should be the ones to direct what we wish to see.
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fitbrit

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2011, 11:45:31 am »

I'm not a 'power user' and I don't expect my thoughts or suggestions to be taken with much more than the proverbial grain of salt. You guys have a business case you need to fulfill, you produce a proprietory piece of software and as far as I'm concerned we are lucky that you do pay as much attention to users requests as you do, but when power users like Glynor raise ideas, perhaps a bit more attention SHOULD be paid...

I also believe people like glynor, jmone and MANY others deserve the utmost respect. Jim et al do too, as can be seen from their frequently stated appreciation. I am sure Jim was just joking when instructing to "ignore glynor"! :)

As an aside:
Jim got me to try MC12 in 2007 through PM at AVS, because it was a Directshow player. Reading good natured, helpful posts from glynor was the ONLY reason I decided to stay with the software. I could see the complexity of MC even then, and I promised glynor that I would be a power user within a year. My wife got pregnant soon after and thus it was almost 2 years before I contributed much of anything except feature requests, many of them having been asked for before me anyway. I still hope to be a power user one day!
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)p(

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2011, 11:48:19 am »

The point is that if MC's own TheaterView could show some of that info, link to trailers etc., then there's no reason you couldn't continue to use SplashRemote on an iPad. I'd like to see a metadata scraping deal cut by JRiver, if cost isn't prohibitive, or a user submitted metadatabase for video. And I think we video users should be the ones to direct what we wish to see.

SplashRemote works very well but it has its limits. You need a fast server and you cant play anything in the background on an ipad with it. That and using standard ipad controls will make it feel more at home on an ipad. But to be honest for my purposes after the recent flicking update I am already 99% happy using theaterview through splashremote. The only thing I miss is swiping between items in display view.

I think the autometa plugin is a good starting point for scraping. Something like that should be integrated with jriver's import tool. When you run import it first could try to auto match based on filenames. And then after import present the user with the results. It then could give the user the option to change the search strings for incorrectly and not matched items to try again.
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imugli

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2011, 11:55:20 am »

I am sure Jim was just joking when instructing to "ignore glynor"! :-)

As am I :-) I was just making the point that on this aspect I don't think it's the case...

fitbrit

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2011, 12:43:15 pm »

Also the free trial is great, but I for one won't go through the trouble to install a trial anything just to see what it is. I want the eye candy first, then I'll invest the time to try it out - and make it work.


I think the extent of this sentiment throughout the crowd, who've meticulously set up their home theatres, is grossly underestimated here. It's not enough to say, "Well we don't want these people, anyway."

There is no war between form and function; no software has them both in the perfect harmony, however. MC is at an advantage in that for function (the "hard part") it is way in front of the others. Form can follow, and there're plenty of precedents to look to for ideas, not to mention its army of users.

One day, a couple of years ago, I got fed up with MC's video limitations. I downloaded XBMC. It was really pretty, but I honestly didn't even know where to start to play a video from my extensive collection. MC's function definitely won out for me immediately. I went back to MC and became more vocal about what I thought was wrong with video playback in MC. There were some issues, but mainly they were issues with the way I set stuff up.
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rick.ca

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2011, 05:57:16 pm »

It seems like you are arguing that RO is a bad thing for j river...
Would you mind giving an example case of easing the learning curve that would be bad?

Of course I would mind! I'm not the one suggesting there's a "learning curve" issue. ::)

I certainly never said anything even remotely suggesting "RO is a bad thing." On the contrary, witnessing JRiver tackling these fundamental usability issues in due course is part of the reason I'm pointing out the learning curve issue—as it's evoked by those who know little about the program—is largely bogus.

RO is very near complete. It's not really something that addressed an existing issue within the program anyway. Prior to RO, the program simply supported DirectShow. Most of the learning curve for configuring video playback had to do with the complexity involved in that—something entirely outside the program. That may be splitting hairs from a user perspective, but the fact remains RO is an entirely new feature. An important goal was to deal with a usability and learning curve issues, but those were issues that existed outside the program, resolved by bringing them fully into the program.

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...many of the other choices allow you to get up and running quickly and have importers for video backdrops and metadata tied in.  So you end up with a pretty compelling UI with very little work.

So do you call the lack of system for automatically providing meta data a "learning curve" issue as well? I suppose that's tough to argue with. I can tell you it took me a lot of learning—without a doubt more than what most users would care to undertake—to work around the complete absence of such a fundamental feature. But I'd rather call that what it is—a missing feature. It's addition would be yet another illustration of what I'm talking about. Such a system, if properly designed, will necessarily include a lot of complicated stuff to allow it to be adapted to any particular situation and user preferences. Yes, another learning curve. Probably even steeper than, say, the Theatre View configuration—something which few users have yet to master. So is it a bad thing? Or are you right about the more important consequence of such a new feature—that once it's in place and configured correctly, everything just works and is kept up-to-date automatically. The benefits of that far outweigh the time invested in climbing the learning curve.

Forget about trying to solve problems that aren't real. Those would include all the ideas I've heard so far mentioned in connection with "learning curve." If you disagree, please provide a concrete example. Not only is it a waste of time, it's a distraction from the obviously useful goal of adding essential features that do not currently exist. Those will go much further in making the entire program easier and more beneficial to use. And, ultimately, reduce the perception of a steep learning curve.
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Visth

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2011, 06:51:10 pm »

A lot of the people on this forum argue: build a slicker user interface

I think another way to look at this is actually to allow an easier way to segue into the really cool features of JRiver. I will explain: As a reasonably tech savvy person, but not totally versed in all the ins and outs of audio and video playback, libraries, metafiles etc, i was looking for something to extend beyond the usual medial player. For starters, the ability to play multiple zones, use multiple displays and remote access, control and moderate the media was what lured me to MC. However, in stead of finding a media player that would do that for me, i found a new time consuming hobby of trial and error.

The previously mentioned idea of creating wizards that help you set up your system with clear explanations of why and how would go a long way. it will be an introduction into the complexity and lure people into the deep features of this program.

I think that by creating a "theater view for all" you will miss that opportunity and you just create another layer of plastic around a package that already is fairly easy to start up. What is hard is the next layer, and that is what most people that click on JRiver.com are looking for in my humble opinion. i needed, and still need a lot of help with it and that is sad really. The new redoctober function is a great step in the right direction in this respect. I had to get a PhD in codecs prior to this, and still don't get all of it, just to get my files to play. But, wow, once you get your zones configured, music libraries up to date with meta files and all that, it is super cool!!

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imugli

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2011, 07:08:15 pm »

Regarding overall fit / finish of MC, have to say I'm one of those who doesn't pyne for more eye candy. I think the clear, concise Theater View UI that we have is far nicer than one that looks like it's been designed by a 5 year old who has just discovered crayons (or the adult equivalent who has just discovered Adobe Creative Suite).

I LOVE the customisability of the program, but an easy way to import metadata would be great. Metadata is really where the ability to customise begins, and I'm one of these lazy people who CBFd entering all the data myself, so is happy to go without, but it would be awesome to be able to delve into some of the things I see here that are really dictated by that data being in the system.

JustinChase

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2011, 08:33:43 pm »

What would be the point in marketing to those who don't want or need the product, or even have the aptitude or interest to use it if they did?

Wow, what a question.  Well, let's ask Steve Jobs. 

"Stevie boy, would it make any sense to market a fancy techie thing at people that don't want or need it; maybe call it an ...iPod, or iPhone or iPad?

"Nah, they're too stupid (no aptitude) to use it anyway."

Perhaps there is a point to marketing to people that don't know they want your product yet.

Besides, who *doesn't* need or want the best categorizing and playback of any media file they find anywhere?  i think everyone wants that, even those that don't yet know they do.

However, I think you actually missed the real question, which is, 'Does J River want those customers?' 

If they are not interested in people like my random neighbor, then these ideas to make wizards and videos may be unnecessary, as you indicate.

However, with all of the times this has been mentioned, and all of the ideas that have been presented over the years, I don't recall Jim ever saying that they 'don't want these people as customers.'  Nor has he (that i've seen) ever said he didn't want to see/read these kinds of comments.  This leads me to believe that perhaps they do, in fact, want these people as customers.  I could certainly be mistaken.

However, if they are interested in these people, or any of the range of people in between them and power users/geeks, as potential customers, then they MUST make it easier for these people to begin to use this software to start.  I think some of the ideas presented would go a long way to making it easier for these people.  I honestly don't remember at all what the "welcome new user" process feels like, since I always begin to customize an installation immediately, but I don't remember it being particularly 'walk-thru of the basics' helpful.  I think it just starts importing files from wherever it feels, without much of a notification, and a database looking front end staring at you.

"now what?"

I thought it was clear my expectation MC should be of any interest to those it was not designed to appeal to is even less than yours. Although I see nothing wrong with making things easier to use, trying to do so to appease those who just aren't interested in what the program can do is just a waste of time. There's plenty of market potential from people more inclined to appreciate what the program has to offer.

I don't think I've stated that I have any such expectation. Your expectation that "regular" people won't be interested is questionable.  I said I don't expect them to be motivated to climb the learning curve.

I disagree that "trying to [make things easier to use] to appease those who just aren't interested in what the program can do is just a waste of time."  I simply disagree, which is fine, we're each allowed our opinion, I respect yours.

I disagree because trying to make things easier WILL allow MC to expand it's potential customer base.  the easier it gets, the more the regular folk will be able/willing to get their media playing everywhere.  As long as they don't start taking away capability (and we all know this WILL NOT happen), I simply fail to see how making things easier is a waste of time.  Polishing up TV to be easier is NOT a waste of time, IMO.  Creating a little wizard to ask you where your media is stored, how you connect to your TV and Stereo, internally assessing sound and video card capabilities and getting some metadata about the data, then present it in a simple interface that asks, what do you want to play, where, go.

Maybe we can forgo the next uber cool DSP internal upgraded signal path, super fancy thingie for a few more weeks and that time can instead go into Polish/presentation.  I think the potential reward for this kind of development might be higher than another great techie improvement to functionality.  those can continue to come, and will, but some work to help "regular folk" get up to speed faster would not be wasted work, IMO.

I doubt we'll even hear much about a steep learning curve—when new users are climbing it to get the best complete solution available. In an application where ease of use always has been a key consideration in ongoing development, the learning curve objection is not likely a real one.

I think new users are climbing to get the best complete solution available right now.  these are exactly the new users that are complaining about the steep learning curve.  They are also not likely to give MC another try anytime soon, unless/until they demonstrate good reasons for a user to do so.  videos showing functionality and some whiz-bang screen shots and demos are going to be needed to show people why it's worth 'sticking it out', as well as making it not so required to 'stick it out', but more 'wow, that was easy'.

Windows Media Center.  not nearly as great, but anyone can get it working reliably and quickly. 

MC does not have that yet.  If/when they do, more people will be willing to spend money on it.  feedback bears this out, the AVS thread has 3 or 4 counts of this i think already.
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rick.ca

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2011, 12:12:00 am »

Wow, what a question.  Well, let's ask Steve Jobs.

Sure. Steve's a brilliant guy. I have no doubt he'd agree with me. He's demonstrated how effective it can be to differentiate your product and market it to the target user. He knows his target market excludes me and millions like me, and he doesn't care. (On the contrary, he'll gleefully use that to his advantage.) He's only concerned with those are interested and those for whom demand may be created (the latter being an objective clearly beyond JRiver's marketing budget).

Quote
However, I think you actually missed the real question, which is, 'Does J River want those customers?'

I didn't miss the question. I've argued consistently this is the wrong question! JRiver has an excellent product. Rather than treating potential customers as if they're stupid, they should trust their judgment in deciding whether the product is well suited to their needs. Similarly, they should trust in the ability and willingness of those who do become customers to be willing to make a reasonable effort in learning and implementing it.

Apple's success didn't come from trying to convert those who had no potential interest. In fact, they did an excellent job of defining their target market by what they were obviously not—happy Windows users. I think a similar strategy might be very effective for JRiver. Something along the lines of, "There are two types of media manager users. One is satisfied with half-measures and primarily interested in something that "just works" most of the time. The other wants much more. The best possible playback quality. Data management capabilities far more powerful, flexible, robust and powerful than anything else available. [And whatever else differentiates MC from the alternatives...]"

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I disagree that "trying to [make things easier to use] to appease those who just aren't interested in what the program can do is just a waste of time."  I simply disagree, which is fine, we're each allowed our opinion, I respect yours.

I was not expressing an opinion, and this is not something you can disagree with. I was referring to "those who just aren't interested" as those who are fundamentally not interested, and never will be. That trying to convince them otherwise is a waste of time is an obvious fact, not an opinion. What I'm saying is, differentiate the product, and then let the customer decide. Or to put it another way, your opinion or mine on what another person should decide is best for them is irrelevant.

I also believe there's a subtle—but very real—negative consequence of any measure primarily intended to ease an objection to adopting a product. It implies a lack of confidence by the creator and suggests the objection is well founded. "If a bunch of wizards and instructional videos and manuals are necessary for use of this program, it must be unnecessarily complicated. Why would I want to use something like that?" I'm not saying that none of these things should be used. But care has to taken to ensure they're not compensating for deficiencies in design, or likely to be perceived as such.

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Windows Media Center.  not nearly as great, but anyone can get it working reliably and quickly.

My experience with WMC is that it did reliably and quickly work. But after hours of frustrating investigation, it became apparent it had taken me to the classic Microsoft dead end. It did not allow me to do the things I knew I wanted to do. As I've already said, JRiver would do much better in using WMC as an indication of what MC is not and promises never to be. Just like what Steve would do. ;)
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)p(

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2011, 12:44:55 am »

Regarding overall fit / finish of MC, have to say I'm one of those who doesn't pyne for more eye candy. I think the clear, concise Theater View UI that we have is far nicer than one that looks like it's been designed by a 5 year old who has just discovered crayons (or the adult equivalent who has just discovered Adobe Creative Suite).


I agree its current form is way better then its reputation. Its pretty minimal but what it does for the most part it does very elegant in a consistent way. Two things I especially like that alone put it for my use above any other offering are. First line up view that gives you automatic previews of what is inside each item. Ideal for things as large collections of photo's. Second the by far fastest, smoothest and beautiful scrolling through lists...the rounding off effect when you scroll fast is really a nice touch. And the latter is the basis for any good theater gui.

Also if you want to go beyond the standard views in xmbc and others I think they are actually more complicated to setup then through the mc gui for setting up custom views.
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JustinChase

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2011, 03:35:11 am »

What would be the point in marketing to those who don't want or need the product, or even have the aptitude or interest to use it if they did?

Sure. Steve's a brilliant guy. I have no doubt he'd agree with me. He's demonstrated how effective it can be to differentiate your product and market it to the target user. He knows his target market excludes me and millions like me.

I strongly doubt Steve Jobs would question "the point in marketing to those who don't want or need the product, or even have the aptitude or interest to use it if they did."  The iPod was designed to play a large quantity of a limited set of music so easily, anyone could use it.  Literally, anyone.  That's his target audience.  Any person able to comprehend and use the product, he very much wants them to purchase one.  YOU are his target market.  he wants it to be so easy to use that every person is able, therefore, can/will buy it.

If the iPod was not so easy to use, it would not have sold so well, as witnessed by every other product that it competed against at the time.  harder to use, fewer sales.  yes, it iPod had great marketing, great pop culture excitement, yada, yada, there are many reasons for HUGE success there, but the point is the same, it CAN sell that well BECAUSE it's that easy to use.

iPhone, same thing.  so easy, anyone CAN use it.  I've watched my friends 17 month old daughter open the case, turn on the iPad, navigate to her videos, play one, get bored, back out, go find a game, play a bit, get bored, and go find something else.  17 months old.  it's quite easy to use.

I didn't miss the question. I've argued consistently this is the wrong question! JRiver has an excellent product. Rather than treating potential customers as if they're stupid, they should trust their judgment in deciding whether the product is well suited to their needs. Similarly, they should trust in the ability and willingness of those who do become customers to be willing to make a reasonable effort in learning and implementing it.

I disagree.  It IS the question.  IF J River would like to sell to a broader audience than people willing to "make a reasonable effort in learning and implementing it.", then they will, in fact, need to reduce the effort required.  This seems elementary to me.

It's not much different than price in many ways.  A Ferrari is priced such that a person must have some qualifications to purchase/use one.  In this case, money.  If they wished to sell to a broader audience, they would lower the price.  This is not their target market, so they don't change their price.

IF J River wishes to be the 'Ferrari of media players, that requires a fair amount of effort to begin using' then they can/have effectively limited their audience by computer skill, and level of dedication.

Lowering the computer skill and dedication level requirements would allow more people to enjoy the product, just like lowering the price of a Ferrari would allow a more people to enjoy their product.

I think its clear that this is an important question; DOES J River want to sell to a broader audience?  If they do not, then any effort spent on lowering the user requirements goes against their intent, and makes no sense; as you say.

However, if they wish to sell to a broader audience, the requirement must be lowered. 

(I was going to add "or the value must go up" and it got me thinking.  Any improvements to functionality will increase the value of the product, and this could push some people over the fence, indicating that this could be used as the only method to increase customers, meaning the polish is not required.  But, these same improvements to functionality would happen with or without the polish, perhaps just delayed a month or 3, so the above still stands.  to sell to more people, it needs to be easier.)

Also, I disagree that it's reasonable to expect the level of knowledge and dedication required to use this software well.  it's complicated, it's complex.  you point this out every day.  But, IF I'm wrong, and IF that is a reasonable expectation, the important question is still DOES J River want to sell to a broader audience?

Apple's success didn't come from trying to convert those who had no potential interest. In fact, they did an excellent job of defining their target market by what they were obviously not—happy Windows users. I think a similar strategy might be very effective for JRiver. Something along the lines of, "There are two types of media manager users. One is satisfied with half-measures and primarily interested in something that "just works" most of the time. The other wants much more. The best possible playback quality. Data management capabilities far more powerful, flexible, robust and powerful than anything else available. [And whatever else differentiates MC from the alternatives...]"

I disagree, see above about apple's success.

one problem with your 2 media manager user types comparison, is that MC falls into the first category in some places.  TV being one of them.  it's also finickey.  it "just works" most of the time, but not always.

another problem is that your other choice is not the opposite of the first 'half-measures' choice.  best quality, more powerful is not necessarily the only alternative to option one.  In fact, they are quite often one in the same.  a fantastic quality, super powerful, mostly just works most of the time, if you're willing to tinker.  that's both of your 'options' in one thing.

a better choice 2 is, always works, so easily anyone can use it.  that's the opposite of 'half-measures'

MC could play all music so well that it all sounded like angels playing it live directly wired into your brain, better than anything you could ever have imagined and the normal person would not put forth the effort required to make that happen.  they will not do it.  no matter how super-duper-fantastical-realistic-great you make it, the average person will NOT buy or even use something if it's too difficult to use.  it's not worth it to them.

IF J River wants to cater to the HTPC geeks that are willing to put forth the effort, they will eventually end up with a large portion of them, the product is great.  I think HTPC geeks is a small portion of the population that would like to get more enjoyment out of the ever-increasing digital media collections.

I was not expressing an opinion, and this is not something you can disagree with.

I beg to differ.  This is actually the reason I chose to respond to this at all.  A Fact is something that can be proven true or false.  '72 degrees Fahrenheit is the boiling point of water' is a fact.  'MC TV recording capabilities are top of the line' is an opinion.  Both are false.

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Trying to convince {those who are fundamentally not interested, and never will be} otherwise is a waste of time" is an obvious fact, not an opinion.

No, it is not quantifiable, trying is an uncertain term, and cannot be measured, what does "otherwise" mean, to what degree? How exactly is wasted time measured, is there a chemical signature?

None of that sentence is fact, it's entirely opinion.  That you believe in in strongly does not turn it into fact.  It is just your strong opinion.  Many religions do not share your strong opinion, and spend a great quantity of time and money "Trying to convince {those who are fundamentally not interested, and never will be} otherwise."  I doubt they find it a waste of time or money.  If this statement were a fact, they would not spend time or money trying...

What I'm saying is, differentiate the product, and then let the customer decide. Or to put it another way, your opinion or mine on what another person should decide is best for them is irrelevant.

I disagree here also.  The product could hardly be more differentiated, it is, hands-down THE best audio player around, the best video player, the best data manager I've used, including on some projects it was never designed for.  It plays any file, on any zone, from nearly any hand held device.  it's outstanding, or differentiated already.  the customer has decided (to what degree I do not know, I have no idea of J River sales numbers) that they cannot see enough value within 30 days with the tools available to them to justify a purchase.  If it were easier for them to see the value, I suggest that more would purchase the software.  I do not think that the software can be made THAT much better to overcome this hurdle to the vast majority of potential buyers.  This is my opinion. 

Additionally, I think that the developers actually "should decide {what} is best for them" to get them started off on the right foot.  How can one expect the new potential buyer to know what's "best for them" in the first 5 minutes of seeing this VAST software?  how could you possibly expect them to want that badly to figure it out.  a lot of people still watch DVD because its just easier.  blu-ray, shmu-ray, 1080 whatever.  if you don't care about those people, fine, at what point between them and Glynor or jmone (and many others) does J River become interested in them as customers?  Wherever it is, is that level of dedication currently being served by this product today?

I also believe there's a subtle—but very real—negative consequence of any measure primarily intended to ease an objection to adopting a product. It implies a lack of confidence by the creator and suggests the objection is well founded. "If a bunch of wizards and instructional videos and manuals are necessary for use of this program, it must be unnecessarily complicated. Why would I want to use something like that?" I'm not saying that none of these things should be used. But care has to taken to ensure they're not compensating for deficiencies in design, or likely to be perceived as such.

I agree with this in general, but think it's effect is minimal

My experience with WMC is that it did reliably and quickly work. But after hours of frustrating investigation, it became apparent it had taken me to the classic Microsoft dead end. It did not allow me to do the things I knew I wanted to do. As I've already said, JRiver would do much better in using WMC as an indication of what MC is not and promises never to be. Just like what Steve would do. ;)

I take the opposite away (surprise!), I think it's great that it worked reliably and quickly.  its unfortunate (i guess) that it's a "Microsoft dead end", by which i assume you mean not powerful enough.

But, isn't that a much better first few days experience than "now, how do I play a TV show, 'Drives and Devices'?!?!?,  What?!?!?"

I think that IF a company wishes to expand their customer base, they should make a product easier for more people to use.

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JustinChase

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2011, 03:36:55 am »

Let me reiterate that I don't really care if J River makes it easier for a 'normal' person to use, or not.  I'm past the learning curve, I'll figure out whatever, because I'm that kind of person.  I have no vested interest in arguing about this.  I really only replied to correct you about the fact/opinion mistake, and figured if I corrected that, but not the rest, it would appear I agreed with the rest, and as you can see, I generally don't.

I believe this thread is meant to collect useful information on HOW to improve the "User Interface / Paint" of MC.  Jim didn't specify in the tile if he wanted comments on 'ways to improve' or 'should we make any', so I don't know what Jim is hoping to get from this, but I assume he's a smart business person, and that he's always looking for ways to improve his product and sales of his product, so I'll further assume that he wishes more ideas on how to improve the product, which I and many other opine are refinements to the "User Interface / Paint" of MC.

therefore, i would prefer to not continue debating the merits of these ideas.  If Jim wishes to steer this conversation, I'm sure he will.
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rick.ca

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2011, 04:48:48 am »

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i would prefer to not continue debating the merits of these ideas.

That's okay. Steve and I have found you very amusing. ;D
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Daydream

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2011, 05:23:06 am »

therefore, i would prefer to not continue debating the merits of these ideas.  If Jim wishes to steer this conversation, I'm sure he will.

Let's break into groups of 3-4 and continue the discussion on separated issues. We can reconvene in 2 hours and every group will make their pitch. Then we go for drinks and world domination. :)

I don't have a starting point so I'll just start throwing stuff at the wall and if anything sticks, maybe JRiver will consider it.

- website: it needs more wow factor and a more clear visual message. If that message is MC can do all media everywhere there has to be something a bit more compelling than the current graphics.
- forum: the wiki link has to be more up front than lost somewhere at the bottom of the page. I had to press CTRL+F on the page to find it. Between 'support wikipedia' link (wich IS a graphic as it happens) and the MC wiki link, the wiki link position would not be in my first 5 places to look. Somewhere up top on the menu (do we really need 'calendar'? it doesn't work; where's that SMF config php :) ) or even as a separate placeholder on the page.
- getting closer to the actual program now. Does it have shortcut keys? Yes it does. Which are? I know a few that I really use and have probably discovered by mistake. Maybe there can be an interface for assigning these shortcut keys, not editing through resource.xml file that would rather scare everybody. (note: I have 80 resource.xml files on my machine belonging to various programs; a better name maybe?)
- on the actual UI: this is just me, so I don't know how much would help a newcomer. The Tag Action area still leaves me wanting more. I know it can snap to most used or full length vertical size but the truth is that 1) one still has to scroll and 2) every field  gets only one row when you look at them (if that value is a long(er) description of something is not... optimal). This is gonna sound nuts but I'm aiming for crazy new ideas: can you float it entirely? Detach it like the Display window.
- somewhere in the same area as the idea above how about multi-monitor support? As in the standard interface with its columns and views will snap with some logic on the boundaries of the monitors, so nothing gets 'cut' in the middle (I guess this is easy for me to write this, looking at 3 same-size monitors, but mixing sizes it won't be pretty)
- there are some things on the current interface that don't add up, as in a newcomer will not guess them for a long while. The fact that you can put shortcuts on the bottom bar (yeah, where you usually see the count of your files); the fact that the OR and AND logic operands in expressions are triggered by clicking on an empty area that otherwise doesn't betray its purpose by any stretch of imagination. They look more like easter eggs.
- theater view. This cannot be discussed anymore. This needs graphics. Lots and lots of graphics. As proof of concept, as proof that something is good/wrong and so on. If we could transform only 10% of the walls of text we wrote on this topic in good code, we would probably have a theater view holodeck style.
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JustinChase

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2011, 08:22:23 am »

That's okay. Steve and I have found you very amusing. ;D

Is that a fact?  Nope, that is only your opinion.  I'm glad well reasoned thoughts amuse you  ;D
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BradC

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #46 on: August 12, 2011, 02:57:48 am »

To add my opinion,

I use MC for audio and I still use 7MC with media browser for video.

Even with the better quality video with ROHQ, MC doesn't go and get all the metadata that media browser does automatically, hence it is difficult to use for video at present.

I am sure that MC can be setup to look like mediabrowser, but it would be nice to have some easily selectable views that make it look similar.
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BryanC

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Re: User Interface / Paint
« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2011, 01:43:40 pm »

I think that there are only two necessary display configurations for MC, and the installer should let a user decide which interface to use at the time of installation. Of course, the two display configurations I am alluding to are desktop use and HTPC use.

In the case of desktop use, the default display should remain standard view with some of the more complex features disabled, such as TV, etc...
For HTPC use, the default display should of course be theater view, perhaps with the ability to choose from different theater view themes during install, much like how standard view works today.

In either case, the first time MC is run, a new interactive installer should be able to walk a new user through setting up important settings while explaining the features. The user could choose which audio settings to use based on a brief description, file locations and library folders could be set, preferred encoders, network settings, services, file sorting, and video settings could also initially be set from the interactive installer.

Of course there should be an option for the power user to leave everything on default and allow him or her to set everything manually.
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