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vinn
05-26-2015, 02:03 PM
I've used BeyondPOD for a few years and I find the feature set to be pretty awesome. However, I find the UI to be a convoluted, unintuitive mess with no consistency. I know the knee jerk reaction to this statement is likely to be something like, "no, you just don't understand xxxxx". Please hear me out, I did take the few minutes to actually register on this site just so I could point out a few things that I hope will be taken as constructive criticism.

Now, rather than nit pick a lot of details - because I do think there's many, many, many unintuitive things about the UI - I'm going to focus on just two:

1. The button that lets me select from a menu list of podcasts is in the upper left corner of the screen: bad placement, incorrect size, and probably a bad design element.

I listen to podcasts when I drive and I happen to be right-handed. I think that places me squarely within the stunningly normal use case for BeyondPOD. What that means is when I want to get to my list of podcasts, I have one hand on the steering wheel and my right hand is cradling my phone. I'm mostly navigating the menus with my thumb and by putting the button in the upper left corner it's a STRETCH to try to push it. In fact, any other corner on the phone is easier to reach compared to the corner chosen for primary UI navigation.

The size is too small. Not only do I have to contort my hand so my thumb can hit that menu, the actual size of the button element is pretty small - that's a complete distraction when I'm driving because I have to smash my thumb onto a tiny square the size of a tic tac.

Which sort of brings up the fundamental question - is a button element even the right kind of interface to expose a drop down list of podcasts? This really seems like some kind of beautiful treeview that would make more sense.

2. The back button doesn't work. Even worse, it does the exact opposite of what anyone would expect!

I would expect after looking at a list of podcast episodes that I could hit the back button on the phone to go back to the menu showing a list of my podcasts. Instead, I hit the button and I get taken to my Home screen. Again, when I'm driving that's a huge distraction - I have to go back into the app and start the navigation over.

juwlz
05-28-2015, 05:51 AM
Thank you for the feedback.

1. I also listen to podcasts in the car when I'm driving. My phone is mounted in the car in a powered charging mount to my left (it's a right hand drive, so centrally mounted to allow access by both driver and passenger), and I'm also right handed.

To respond to your stated issue, you can drag out the list of feeds and episodes from whole of the left hand side of the screen (equivalent to pressing the three lines button in the top left). You can drag out your current playlist from the whole of the right hand side of the screen (equivalent to pressing the list with a number next to the three dots menu at the top right of the screen).

However, since interacting that closely while driving is, as you say, a dangerous thing to do, I would suggest that it would be safer to adopt a different use pattern for listening whilst driving and either manually create your playlist before you start driving, or use one of the features that BeyondPod offers to automatically create a playlist for you. See Play my Episodes (http://www.beyondpod.com/cms/index.php/play-my-episodes) for more info. You could manually add episodes to your playlist before you set off, or use AutoPlay to play everything in a particular feed or category in the order you see them listed, or you can create SmartPlay rules (http://www.beyondpod.com/cms/index.php/playing-episodes-with-smartplay) to create more tailored rules to automatically pick episodes to play from various feeds or categories in the order you want them to be played. Whichever you choose, I would advise setting Playlist Settings | After Playing to either Play Next or Delete and Play Next (according to whether you want to delete played episodes or not), if you haven't already.

I have set up a number of SmartPlay lists with rules for different types of listening, according to my journey length and mood, partly because interacting with the phone whilst driving is a dangerous thing to do, and partly because I have no desire to micromanage my listening. In fact, I have BP totally automated, with most of my feeds set to automatically download new episodes, delete anything old that I'm never going to get around to listening to if I haven't got to it yet, and create playlists of different types for different playback scenarios. Generally the rules I have set up for any given SmartPlay list will deliver podcasts in the order I want them (because that's how I've set the rules up), and if I want to change things around a bit, it's usually only to drag a particular episode to a different position in my playlist, or occasionally to switch to a different SmartPlay list. My SmartPlay lists are deliberately designed to include more episodes than I am ever likely to listen to for the particular type of journey they're created for (hence the inclusion of lower priority podcasts which will automatically get deleted after a while if I don't get to them), so that I never have to worry about what to do if I get to the end of it. All my SmartPlay lists are available as home screen shortcuts (I choose to keep them in a folder, so that only takes up one grid slot on my home page), so I can set up my entire journey's listening with two taps (one to open the folder, and one to choose the colour-coded smartplay list).

Using this approach, all I have to do is start my chosen SmartPlay list, and I don't have to do any dangerous interacting at all (expect the occasional skip forward / back), much less try to read the screen and decide what to play next.

2. The back button works according to Google's guidelines. You can choose your BeyondPod "Home" screen from the General Settings, and the back button will return you to that. if you're already on your chosen start screen, the back button takes you back to your Android home screen.


If you prefer to revert to version 3.x, there is a link to download the old version at the bottom of this help page (http://www.beyondpod.com/cms/index.php/upgrade-from-3-x-to-4-x) (which you may find useful in itself). If you do, note that:

v3.x will not receive any further updates (which may mean that there will come a point where new Android versions and/or features may break it)
You may find that the version of Android you're running requires you to uninstall the current version of the app before you can install an older version.
I would recommend that before you revert to v3.x, you follow the instructions to back up your data as if moving to a new device, as per How to move BeyondPod to a new device (http://www.beyondpod.com/cms/index.php/how-to-move-beyondpod-to-a-new-device). That way, if you have to uninstall it to be able to install the earlier version (which some versions of Android now require) and your data is on a removable SD card, you won't lose it. Besides, it never hurts to do a backup once in a while.
You will need to change the setting in the Google Play Store to prevent automatic updates for BeyondPod.

HTH
Julie

vinn
05-28-2015, 04:19 PM
Thank you for the feedback.
To respond to your stated issue, you can drag out the list of feeds and episodes from whole of the left hand side of the screen (equivalent to pressing the three lines button in the top left).


Can you explain that? What am I missing here... I don't understand what "drag out" means - what am I dragging, where am I dragging it, and where does it go?



However, since interacting that closely while driving is, as you say, a dangerous thing to do, I would suggest that it would be safer to adopt a different use pattern for listening whilst driving


I figured that would be someone's reply. Let me put my driving in perspective and explain why it's different than yours: the county I live in - that is, the small division of the state, is half the size of Wales. (We're 9333 km^2 in size.) We have 9000 people that live here and don't have a single traffic light. I regularly drive 25 miles to work without passing another car. So, let's put aside the "it's dangerous and change your habits" argument. If it gets too dangerous, I'll just stop the car. Most likely in the middle of the road. Without my seatbelt on.

I did try the Smart Playlists, they don't really suit how I listen to podcasts, but it's one of those features maybe some day I would use. Also, because we don't have cell coverage in most places, I have to download all my podcasts, so I don't want to automatically download a bunch I won't listen to.



2. The back button works according to Google's guidelines. You can choose your BeyondPod "Home" screen from the General Settings, and the back button will return you to that. if you're already on your chosen start screen, the back button takes you back to your Android home screen.


That's exactly what I was looking for! Thanks.

Dennis Rockwell
05-28-2015, 04:39 PM
Can you explain that? What am I missing here... I don't understand what "drag out" means - what am I dragging, where am I dragging it, and where does it go?
Swipe from the edge of the screen. Yes, it's impossible to detect that it's possible, there's no marker, but that's The Android Way these days.

vinn
05-28-2015, 04:54 PM
Swipe from the edge of the screen. Yes, it's impossible to detect that it's possible, there's no marker, but that's The Android Way these days.

I'm clearly too dumb to understand this.

Here's what I'm attempting to do: I press the 3 bar "hamburger" button that shows me a list of "My Feeds". On the left edge of the screen near where it says "What to Play" or next to the icons of the individual playlists I'm attempting to swipe from the screen edge to the right.

It doesn't do anything. Although, I'm not even sure what I'm expecting it to do.

appel
05-29-2015, 01:01 AM
I'm clearly too dumb to understand this.

Here's what I'm attempting to do: I press the 3 bar "hamburger" button that shows me a list of "My Feeds". On the left edge of the screen near where it says "What to Play" or next to the icons of the individual playlists I'm attempting to swipe from the screen edge to the right.

It doesn't do anything. Although, I'm not even sure what I'm expecting it to do.

It's in response to your statement that it is difficult to press the hamburger menu button in the upper left corner of the screen. Instead of pressing the hamburger button you can swipe from the left edge of the screen to open the menu. To dismiss it you can swipe from right to left instead of pressing the arrow button in the upper left corner.