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#73476 - 20/02/2002 13:35 Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu
sidorg
new poster

Registered: 18/02/2002
Posts: 12
I think one feature that would be extremely handy would be to be able to switch between vertical and horizontal menus. I currently have around 38 main playlist entries, which are the artist names. If you want to scroll through, it takes forever. (Yes I know about the number key shorcuts, but that doesn't help if you just want to browse quickly through the list.) If the user were given the ability to switch to a vertical menuing sytem, then you could easily show 4 artists at a time, instead of really just one. I can't imagine this would be a difficult change to implement.

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#73477 - 20/02/2002 14:01 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: sidorg]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31258
Loc: Seattle, WA
When they designed the user interface, they tried both horizontal and vertical, and decided that horizontal worked much better on this particular player. Many people have speculated that they'd like vertical better, but they're saying it without actually having seen vertical menus implemented on the player, so there's nothing to compare it against.

The Rio Receiver has vertical menus, and I'm not sure whether I like them better or worse than the car player's horizontal ones. I know I get confused as to which direction I should turn the knob on the Rio Receiver, and I don't get confused on the car player. I know that my selections on the car player are quicker and require less fiddling. But maybe that's just me.

I could have sworn that one of the empeg guys said that when they implement the Soup views on the player, they would make those vertical-scrolling. But I might have been imagining that.
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Tony Fabris

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#73478 - 20/02/2002 17:57 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: tfabris]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5787
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
The Rio Receiver has vertical menus, and I'm not sure whether I like them better or worse than the car player's horizontal ones. I know I get confused as to which direction I should turn the knob on the Rio Receiver, and I don't get confused on the car player

It's not just you Tony, there is something seriously screwy about the Receiver's UI. I am always turning the knob the wrong way, I have never done this on the empeg.

It just shows that UI "consultants" know bugger all about using UIs (something I struggle with at work repeatedly as the "UI" guys in product management tell us how "our" application should work).

The Receiver is a great product, but it needs more magic empeg dust sprinkling on it.
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#73479 - 20/02/2002 22:24 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: andy]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Clockwise should move you forward through the list, which would cause the items on the screen to scroll up. If it's not done like that, then it's not an intuitive design. If it *IS* done like that, then you're not intuitively wired.

Bruno
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Bruno
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#73480 - 21/02/2002 00:54 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: tfabris]
sidorg
new poster

Registered: 18/02/2002
Posts: 12
Well, I can understand that you can make the fonts bigger in horizontal scrolling, so that helps with legibility I suppose. What I envision in the vertical scrolling is something similar to the Now & Next info mode, where you have 4 (or 5?) lines of track names, with the current selected one in a larger font. I think that would work really well for Playlists as well. Now that I look closer at the Now&Next info view, it looks like there are only 4 lines, but it sure looks like there is room for 1 more line at the bottom (looks like 7 vertical pixels free). So, you could have 5 playlist artists displayed at once (or 4 if all were using the bigger font). Right >> scrolls down, and Left << scrolls up. I think it would be very ergonomically correct as regards GUI efficiency, and would give you a lot more info with a LOT less button pushes. Please, please implement this feature. There is no reason why the user couldn't be given the choice which type of layout to use. So everyone would be happy, including me! Heck, since I'm a software developer (with lots of embedded programming experience) I wouldn't mind writing the software myself if the Player source was available, which I suppose it isn't. I'll sign an NDA and do the work for free and give whoever owns the source unlimited license to use my additions, if anyone out there is listening.

I wonder if there is any way to add features? Is there an API for the player? Maybe the code is already there, and we just need the correct config.ini options? It wouldn't be the first time code is released with certain features disabled by default.

George

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#73481 - 21/02/2002 12:02 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: sidorg]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31258
Loc: Seattle, WA
I wonder if there is any way to add features? Is there an API for the player? Maybe the code is already there, and we just need the correct config.ini options? It wouldn't be the first time code is released with certain features disabled by default.

No, there is no feature like that on the player at all. If there were, we would know about it. Right now, there is no API that lets us hook directly into the player software like that. Everything we do is outside the player software.

Everyone has asked if they could please do this (add a full API), and they have discussed the possibility of doing just that. However, it's a lot of work to do that, and they haven't had the time to implement it and it hasn't been high on their priority list.

There's nothing to stop you from writing a complete piece of player software yourself from scratch. Then you can put in vertical menus, your own API, the kitchen sink, and whatever else you want. This has been discussed elsewhere recently, there was a thread started, I believe by Mark Lord, in an attempt to get movement on this idea. Nothing yet has happened in this area that I know of.
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#73482 - 21/02/2002 14:30 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: andy]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5322
Loc: Cambridge UK
Nobody consulted on the Receiver UI - it was largely influenced by a major OEM client.

You're thinking of Jupiter. I would have to say that the UI consultants that came in on that project impressed me greatly - previously I was cynical toward such agencies. There are shortcomings in the Jupiter UI, but on the whole I think it's really good.

Rob

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#73483 - 22/02/2002 21:03 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: sidorg]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14004
Loc: Canada
Yup. The current playlist browsing is so obviously wrong, and yet there's no hope of SB actually fixing it. The problem with it, of course, is that it uses the whole screen to show ONE entry at a time, and even then does not align successive entries to the same screen position. So the human eye has to jump back and forth each time the playlist is scrolled to figure out where it was.

Totally insane, stupid, and frustrating for such a nice (otherwise) product. Bummer.

If we had an API for insert/append/replace FID within a currently playing playlist, then I'd rapidly implement vertically scrolled playlist browsing within Hijack.

Anyone who still cannot see the utility of vertical scrolling for playlists oughta just sit and fiddle with the Hijack menu someday.. and even it can be improved upon.

Anyway, all we need from SB is a way to tell the player to insert/append/replace a FID, and then we can take matters into our own hands. Without this simple addition, the only real alternative is to write new player software from scratch.

Bummer.

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#73484 - 23/02/2002 11:21 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: mlord]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
and yet there's no hope of SB actually fixing it.

Is that 100% true? I have seen some resistance to the idea of vertical menus, but have they categorically said they aren't going to do it? Maybe we just haven't pushed hard enough?

The only concrete argument I've seen against vertical scrolling is Tony's assertion above that it's difficult to know which direction to spin the knob... I don't agree, because there are many other devices which use knobs to scroll vertical menus. I've seen several on-screen displays on monitors that do this. I've also seen jog wheels on CD jukeboxes and VCR's that do the same thing. But I can see how someone who isn't familiar with the "clockwise = down, counterclockwise = up" paradigm might go the wrong direction a few times before figuring it out. However, being able to fit four items on the screen at once (instead of one) makes up for this limitation, and then some.

Your points about the limitations of horizontal scrolling are all quite valid, and I think we should lean a little harder on this issue. If enough respected voices in the Empeg community make this a big deal, I think we might get our friends in Cambridge to at least entertain the idea.

My apologies for wasting this space If you guys have already lost this battle.
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#73485 - 23/02/2002 14:22 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: mlord]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
I totally, respectfully, disagree with you Mark. I've used Hijack for a while, and, honestly, the vertical scrolling of your menu annoys me, not because vertical scrolling is inferior, but because it violates the UI design on the rest of the player. I have to think about which way to rotate the knob or which button to press. If the rest of the player UI was designed vertically, then I wouldn't have that problem.

Now expand that to the rest of the player. You could have everything as it is now, except make the playlists scroll vertically. Then one (at least I) would have the same problem as described above. Or you could have everything scroll vertically, menus as well as playlists, in order to have a consistent UI. This would seem to work okay on the surface, but how would you implement depth? Remove the old menu from the screen altogether? That seems wrong. Have the new menus overlap the old menus? This reduces the display width significantly, which is already at a premium. The only idea I can come up with is to pop up the new menu and scroll it back to obscure the old menu or push it off the screen. But that would take a lot of time, and people already complain about the slowness of the UI; at least the slowness of the scrolling.

But if you can develop a UI that works as well as the current one, I'd be impressed and stand corrected. But I don't think you can do it.
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#73486 - 23/02/2002 14:57 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: wfaulk]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14004
Loc: Canada
Another way to look at it is, the current insane sideways jerking is next to useless.. implementing a vertical scroll could not possibly make it worse, and would almost certainly be a vast improvement.

-ml

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#73487 - 23/02/2002 15:07 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: mlord]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Hmmm. Maybe it's just a mindset issue. I've never had any[b/] problem with the current UI. I can find any playlist in a matter of seconds. Now, I don't have a full 120GB empeg, but I do have hundreds of playlists, and I don't have any artificial constructs, either, like A-C lists or anything. Just a big flat list of all the artists with albums underneath, plus a few other random things.

I don't think that you will see vertical menus happen, but if you do, I hope that the horizontal ones don't go away.
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#73488 - 23/02/2002 15:14 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: wfaulk]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14004
Loc: Canada
Yeah, the current format is oriented very much as a search/find function, and finding a known item is not very difficult. But my passengers usually "have control", and they don't have my 500+ albums memorized, and so they need to browse the playlists looking for things of interest. Browsing 500+ albums, one jerky line at a time, is.. well, not gonna happen.

But if we could get a way to inject insert/append FID into a running playlist, then I'd tackle fixing the situation. But without that, there's nothing I can do about it.

And as you say, we're not holding our breaths for the busy boys in Cambridge to change anything on an obsolete product either.

Cheers

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#73489 - 23/02/2002 15:16 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: mlord]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31258
Loc: Seattle, WA
Come on, Mark, tell us what you REALLY think.
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Tony Fabris

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#73490 - 23/02/2002 19:02 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: mlord]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
That's fair. I so seldom have passengers...
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Bitt Faulk

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#73491 - 24/02/2002 09:02 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: tonyc]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
...But I can see how someone who isn't familiar with the "clockwise = down, counterclockwise = up" paradigm might go the wrong direction a few times before figuring it out....

To me this paradigm is wrong for the Empeg. I'd naturally try the opposite because the knob because I
m in the US and I'd be using my right hand.

I think that we are conditioned to expect things to move 'with our thumbs' when we turn a rotary knob, clockwise=down is correct if you are using your left hand, but incorrect for your right hand.

This concept appears in many other places as well, even those where physical up/down isn't being controlled. eg thermostats and volume knobs on AV gear. 'Up' always seems to be clockwise. This convention probably stems from the fact that most people are right-handed.

Ironically for a horizontal movement, handedness doesn't apply - we always put our thumb on the top of the knob regardless.

If vertical menus were to be implemented I think that the handedness of the knob would have to be selectable to cater for both UK and other drivers
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#73492 - 24/02/2002 09:55 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
sancho
journeyman

Registered: 17/08/2000
Posts: 70
whichever way you prefer, the ability to choose would be nice...
--
sancho

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#73493 - 24/02/2002 15:30 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: tfabris]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
The hijack menus are vertical. I don't see the big deal.

Calvin

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#73494 - 24/02/2002 16:20 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
It doesn't matter where the knob is or what hand you turn it with. The paradigm Tony (ynot) mentioned is simply the natural interface. Using a dial for volume isn't a fair comparison. There is no UP or DOWN scrolling in volume. There's loudness and that's just something relative. With something visual, you want the default behaviour to match other intuitive procedures. Movement to the right (clockwise) is equivalent of progressing forward. Forward in the list is down. So that means rotating clockwise moves the list up the screen. Just like the Hijack menu.

But, I think it would be horrible to have the Player's menu system be vertical. I much prefer the player's menus to Hijack. MUCH. Vertical playlist browsing is something completely different however - and I suggested or wrshed for a vertical ability a long while back (esp. since it already exists in searching and Now&Next displays).

Bruno
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#73495 - 24/02/2002 22:55 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: hybrid8]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
It doesn't matter where the knob is or what hand you turn it with. The paradigm Tony (ynot) mentioned is simply the natural interface. Using a dial for volume isn't a fair comparison. There is no UP or DOWN scrolling in volume. There's loudness and that's just something relative. With something visual, you want the default behaviour to match other intuitive procedures. Movement to the right (clockwise) is equivalent of progressing forward. Forward in the list is down. So that means rotating clockwise moves the list up the screen. Just like the Hijack menu.

I still disagree. I simply don't think there is a natural interface. If there were, we'd be able to find plenty of examples, and very few counter-examples.
If you're going to suggest that the volume knob comparision is flawed because there is no 'real' up and down, that's ok. I used the examples because intuitiveness in any UI comes from what we are used too and that is something that everyone can relate to.

But to then make the statement "Movement to the right (clockwise) is equivalent of progressing forward. Forward in the list is down." is dumbfounding. That's the kind of statement I'd expect to see in a user manual to explain the behaviour of a piece of software that gets put in because all the support guys are getting pissed off with the vast numbers of users phoning them because they don't understand the interface! The statement tells me what happens, but not why. It puts the burden on the reader to accept the behaviour, without making it any easier for them to understand.

Why is right equivalent of forward, and why is forward down???

Personally, I'm quite happy with the horizontal menus. I'd probably try the vertical menus, but I don't know whether I'd keep using them or not.

I'm already frustrated enough with Hijack menus. I keep turning the knob the wrong way


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#73496 - 25/02/2002 04:41 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
justinlarsen
old hand

Registered: 31/12/2001
Posts: 1109
Loc: Petaluma, CA
i dont understand te frustratrions.. its liek you turn it a second one way and if its not the right direction you turn it the other.. i do that with both horizontal and vertical menus..
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#73497 - 25/02/2002 05:09 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical [Re: genixia]
tms13
old hand

Registered: 30/07/2001
Posts: 1115
Loc: Lochcarron and Edinburgh
Bring up a Details screen, or the player's About screen.

Whichever hand I use, it's intuitive to me which way the vertical scrolling works.

For the record, I like the current menus, and if vertical scrolling were implemented, I'd want it to be a configurable option, not the default.
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#73498 - 25/02/2002 05:56 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: justinlarsen]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
The 'frustration' with Hijack isn't *that* bad, I just keep going until I get back to where I want to be! But if it were every menu then it'd be a different matter. And at least I get the horixontal menus right



Edited by genixia (25/02/2002 05:57)
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#73499 - 25/02/2002 09:50 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
ithoughti
old hand

Registered: 17/07/2001
Posts: 721
Loc: Boston, MA USA
Why is right equivalent of forward, and why is forward down???

I think that the direction of 'right' is considered to be forward because of the 'number line' in math, where every number to the right of zero is a positive or 'greater' value and every number to the left is a negative or 'lesser' value. As for forward being down, i think that it has to do with a combination of clockwise motion, obsever orientation and the 'number line'. Think of a watch. Both the hands are on '12'. As the hours progress 'forward' the hands move in a clockwise rotation 'down' to the 'right', the direction of 'right' has already been established as 'forward' by the number line, and this stengthens the connection. As the hands move past the '6' they, according to the observer position, are now moving in an 'upward' 'left' motion. The clockwise corrolation of 'right, down, forward' is broken with this motion, however the connection between the direction of clockwise = right = positive numbers = progress, is too strong, so the mind continues this association. I think that the 'right = forward' is much stronger than the 'forward = down', however, both are related.
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#73500 - 25/02/2002 12:21 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
justinlarsen
old hand

Registered: 31/12/2001
Posts: 1109
Loc: Petaluma, CA
hey at least the hijack menu loops.. try the other plays that just go to the end and stop.. then you must go all the way back up again..
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#73501 - 25/02/2002 21:33 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Why is "Right" forward? In Western languages you read and write from LEFT to RIGHT. That's a movement in the "right" direction. That's "forward." It's what the market is used to. It's what any UI consultant will tell you. It's "natural."

When you put in a screw, you turn clockwise. That moves the screw FORWARD (away from you). When you turn the dial on an older TV, you turn clockwise to move forward through the channels.

I don't work for a UI consulting company. But I could.

Bruno
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#73502 - 26/02/2002 03:35 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: hybrid8]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4153
Loc: Cambridge, England
[snip defence of a feature in the face of actual end users describing it as confusing]

I don't work for a UI consulting company. But I could.

Indeed.

Peter

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#73503 - 26/02/2002 07:57 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: hybrid8]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
Why is "Right" forward? In Western languages you read and write from LEFT to RIGHT. That's a movement in the "right" direction. That's "forward." It's what the market is used to. It's what any UI consultant will tell you. It's "natural."

When you put in a screw, you turn clockwise. That moves the screw FORWARD (away from you). When you turn the dial on an older TV, you turn clockwise to move forward through the channels.


Ok, good examples.

So what about users from countries who write right->left?
And I for one never think of forward/back when it comes to TV channels. I think up/down. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a rotary TV channel knob increase the channel number when you turn it clockwise??
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#73504 - 26/02/2002 10:15 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: peter]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
snip defence of a feature in the face of actual end users describing it as confusing]

So is it possible that said feature (vertical scrolling playlist menu) could be a candidate for a post-2.0 release?
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- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#73505 - 26/02/2002 17:10 Re: Ability to change horizontal menu to vertical menu [Re: genixia]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
So what about users from countries who write right->left?

Well, naturally, they're screwed. That is, if they can't grasp which way to scroll after trying it for a second or two.

And as you mentioned (and as I mentioned) turning the dial on an older TV does make the channel count increase. It's moving "forward" through the channel list.

But, even through my examples, I am only arguing that it is more natural than the opposite. Or natural enough that a large number of people will pick it up. I am not arguing that it is the ideal input for a vertical list. Nor am I suggesting we lose the horizontal functionality we now have. Vertical browsing should only be considered as an addition to the current feature set in my opinion. I dig the horizontal menus. But I want an optional vertical method to browse the playlists/tracks/soup views.

Bruno
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