Author Topic: UI improvement - suggestions for the short term  (Read 2504 times)

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UI improvement - suggestions for the short term
« on: February 03, 2006, 04:50:33 pm »
I've come up with a list of possible UI improvements for the short term (no UI major redesign). Everybody's input is welcome.
    :arrow: Graphical icons for all the text buttons (e.g. The Movies button will have a camera icon, etc.). Similarly, all the icons should have a text caption (e.g. The Follow me feature)
    :arrow: Where possible, inherent delays produced by the various commands should be accompanied by some animated icon, so the user has some sort of feedback that something is going on. For instance, the delay from the time the user presses the "Play" button to the moment when the movie actually plays (which could be up to a full second in some cases), could be filled with the "Play" icon bouncing up and down, for example, or changing colour. The whole system will feel more responsible this way. Of course, this will be available only on some orbiters where it's possible, recte the On-Screen Orbiter, the Win/WinCE Orbiter, and possibly, the Cisco IP Phone screen.
    :arrow: Icons for informative / error message screens should also be available, color coded red for errors, yellow/green for information.
    :arrow: a visual display control (a slider of some sort) would be easier to understand and control for:
      the current volume
      the current position in the file (movie, mp3, etc)
      the lights, maybe

    :arrow: bigger buttons, with less space between them where possible:
      the Call Direct Screen numbers
      The control buttons (play, FF, Rew, etc) on the media Remotes
    this is probably a Good Thing (TM) for the web-tablet users, as well as for the visually-impaired users, but it could probably improve the overall appearance for the normal users, too. However, on the On-Screen Orbiter, maybe the movie preview window could be bigger, and the space used for the controls (currently ~75% of the screen) could be made smaller.

That's about it with this list. Please feel free to add anything to it, or to comment on the ideas above.

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UI improvement - suggestions for the short term
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2006, 07:38:55 pm »
Hi,

I'll add my ideas:

- feedback, feedback, feedback - particularly on MO, that is not so responsive (I switch follow me quite easily when I press button too long, cause I have no feedback)

- feedback is also important on volume (particularly during Xine playing)

- easy navigation through floorplans - currently user cannot get into remote control for chosen MD on media floorplan - he has to go to main menu and select room and get into remote ... Also switching to some room would be good if possible from floorplans...


- visual notifications of events when Xine is playing (I guess this one is pretty easy to add, since it works for navigation) - mythtv OSD is quite good (Mythnotify) - and also easy yes/no questions for users in OSD that depend on events - like "incoming call from ...." - will you pause/answer or put it to voicemail....

- skinning ? I guess this one comes to "more rework" category - but allowing users to skin interfaces will get into more ideas, skins and decisions will be lighter....

- possibility to easy add custom buttons for custom actions on menus and also so user can easily add custom devices and their icons to floorplans.

- Touch screen GUI vs. TV-IR remote GUI
there is always collision between those 2. what is nice for touch screen is hard to navigate with IR remote and vice versa. I think shortcuts ('22') are nice compromise between those two - but maybe some sort of distinction between those two will have to be made. For a start search option and page up/down buttons on media playlist screens would speed up IR navigation....

- web pages : I simply just cannot get close to navigating web pages. Maybe we could integrate UI from Orbiters and UI on web pages more closely - why not for instance select/configure devices from floorplan ?
I don't have clear ideas, just know, that sometimes I just see a portal and like it, and sometimes I don't - but don't know what particular difference is...
Also maybe integrating some sort of CMS plugin system,. where user can make its own screen setups, add rss feeds, weather short descriptions, etc...

- not directly GUI related : Family functions - blogs, calendar, reminders etc..

I see life in smarthome as 'full blog' - where everyone contributes to it :
- Pluto enters events into it - like 10:00 alarm (with video recorded), 11:30 recording your favourite show, 13:15 phone call from father, etc...
- family members enter their appointments, reminders, events, pictures, etc....
15:00 son sent first email (with picture?), dentist appointment at 16:00 (ouch)
- emails with attachments from close friends can enter blog
- exchanging media with your friends (photo albums, favourite funny videos, etc.... - all what is legally allowed)
At itnervals you can have much fun reading your blogs...
 
- personal communication :
 I've read a lot of researches where people are asked - what Internet brought best in your life ? - and by far most common answer is "better personal communication". So currently we have phones on MD, but having video phones and easy communication IMHO would blow away other competition systems...

HTH,

regards,

Rob.

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Challenge
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2006, 08:42:44 pm »
I think one of the biggest challenges we face lies in the fact that we cannot control the way user interacts with the system. The user can use a Web-tablet, which means he can point, he can drag-n-drop things, but he cannot type text; or he could be using a wireless keyboard with the On-Screen Orbiter, where he can do exactly the opposite.
Thus, the design choices we make - either for the short term improvements, or for the long-term possible redesigns - have to be weighted thoroughly in the light of this fact.

Quote
- Touch screen GUI vs. TV-IR remote GUI
there is always collision between those 2. what is nice for touch screen is hard to navigate with IR remote and vice versa. I think shortcuts ('22') are nice compromise between those two - but maybe some sort of distinction between those two will have to be made. For a start search option and page up/down buttons on media playlist screens would speed up IR navigation....

Another thing that pops in my mind. Maybe some vertical scroll bar instead of the scroll up/down buttons would be desirable, as it is a visual element recognized by most users.
Quote
So currently we have phones on MD, but having video phones and easy communication IMHO would blow away other competition systems...

Great idea! Will put it on the wishlist. However, it's probably not gonna be around for a while, unless some brilliant opensource developer somewhere is going to tackle this :)

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Re: Challenge
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2006, 10:21:53 pm »
Quote from: "bogdan.a"
....
Quote
So currently we have phones on MD, but having video phones and easy communication IMHO would blow away other competition systems...

Great idea! Will put it on the wishlist. However, it's probably not gonna be around for a while, unless some brilliant opensource developer somewhere is going to tackle this :)

Well, maybe not so far afterall. Mythtv has plugin Mythphone that's quite decent (I've tried it under Pluto, it works quite well). I've heard rumours that mythtv will become more controllable over TCP, so maybe....

Also Linphone (former Pluto's softphone) has made some steps further including video features...
newbielink:http://lists.nongnu.org/archive/html/linphone-developers/2006-01/msg00025.html [nonactive]


Regards,

Rob.