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Thread: Before moving to another podcast app...

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Before moving to another podcast app...

    I got "upgraded" to the v4, and as many many others, my old downloads disappeared etc... I can live with that, I guess. Or at least I have to, now.

    Anyway, I'm just about to give up on using the app as I cannot get my head around the intended use and design of this recent v4 (even if I teach User Experience design and engineering for a living at a University...). I'm sure there must be a brilliant idea behind this "My Episodes" thing; Podcasting is relatively simple: You have should be able to look at your feeds, download and listen to episodes and mark old episodes as played and possibly delete them at your wish, but you should NOT have to create playlists just to play them or to manage your feed or have playing create a playlist, etc. So I guess there is a brilliant idea behind that I haven't caught or at least something that doesn't fit my workflow (and that of many others, judging from the recent comments on Google Play)?

    It's also difficult for me to understand why some items can be downloaded directly from the feed and others have to be selected first and then can be downloaded from their own card; it again makes an easy thing overly complex -- but I guess the many inconsistencies will be fixed in version 4.?, or something, eventually.

    In any case, how can I do something as simple as see a list of the episodes I have downloaded, preferably in order of episode date and/or sorted in different feeds or all together -- just in some way, please? Assume I go through my feeds and download some (NOT wanting to create a playlist with them), how can I get to the list of downloaded episodes which I can then hear offline?

    I'm using the Pro version, if it matters (but maybe not for much longer). Oh, and I apologise for the slightly sarcastic tone above!

    Sincerely hoping there's a simple way that I have just overlooked...

  2. #2
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    Swipe from left -> All feeds -> Overflow menu (three dots in upper right) -> Filter -> Downloaded
    In the overflow menu you can also change sort order.

    I mostly use the What to Play view though for quickly picking an episode to listen to or a smart playlist I've configured to play episodes from categories in the order I prefer. =)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by appel View Post
    Swipe from left -> All feeds -> Overflow menu (three dots in upper right) -> Filter -> Downloaded
    In the overflow menu you can also change sort order.
    Thanks, that does indeed show the downloaded ones (for that category).

    However, going to the "What to Play" (as you also suggest) does not allow for the option to filter the downloaded ones only, so it's not a completely orthogonal feature to the feed lists in the swipe left/burger menu (and the "My Episodes" filter)... Further, if I go into a feed and have "All Published" selected, I cannot filter the feed as you suggested but need to select "My Episodes" first. And when I'm in "All Published" I cannot even sort the list of podcasts! I'm really wondering why the overflow-menu filters are different from the My Episodes, which can be seen immediately at the top and has more intuitive direct selection buttons (My Episodes/All Podcasts)...

    It also still requires me to either open the card for the individual podcast to download it, or to add it to My Episodes first, in which case there is a direct download button that (sometimes) works (but not always on my phone, and there is no feedback when you're pressed the button, sometimes).

    There are just too many of these inconsistencies and counter-intuitive designs in this v4, if you ask me, but I'm glad to hear it may work well for some (which is not the impression you get from reading the newest reviews on Google Play).

    So yeah, sad to loose a bit of money on this one, but having now been forced to look at the alternatives, all I can say is that some of them are far more intuitive to use and needs far fever finger presses to do what I need them to do, and they are still as feature rich and actually offer some additional features and nicer feed lists that appeal to me... Haven't uninstalled BeyondPod yet, but I guess it may not be long.

  4. #4
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    Haven't really noticed these kinds of problems before since I've set BeyondPod to download everything new every morning before I wake up so I never manually download anything.

    I agree that it is confusing if you prefer to manually download episodes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pnoman View Post
    In any case, how can I do something as simple as see a list of the episodes I have downloaded, preferably in order of episode date and/or sorted in different feeds or all together -- just in some way, please?
    That's what the My Episodes section is for (and was in v3, too).

    Assume I go through my feeds and download some (NOT wanting to create a playlist with them), how can I get to the list of downloaded episodes which I can then hear offline?
    I concede it may not be entirely intuitive, but if there are feeds that you want to selectively download from, set them to Stream Latest episodes, rather than Manual Download or Download Latest episodes.
    Then, when the feeds update, you can look at My Episodes view for that feed, category or for all feeds, and either download or delete the episodes, as appropriate.

    v4.1 streamlines this process a bit too, compared with v4.0. Feel free to download the beta and try it out. (It should be released in the next couple of weeks anyway if nobody finds any show stoppers.)

    As to Playlists, these are no more necessary than they were in v3. You can still use Automatic Playlist, or play episodes individually, just as you could in v3. What's changed in v4 is that if you want to, it is now possible to create more than one SmartPlay list (with rules on which episodes to play, and in what order). In v3, you could only have one SmartPlay list.

    Upgrading would not normally have any effect on your previously downloaded episodes though, so I don't know why that happened.

    HTH
    Julie

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by juwlz View Post
    That's what the My Episodes section is for (and was in v3, too).
    Well... When I select the feed "All Feeds" I can see that I actually get "All Episodes" for all feeds. But these are not just the ones I downloaded; there's plenty more (and I have no idea why they are there -- looks like they were somehow auto-added)?

    So unless this is an error on my installation, what you suggest does not do what I want it to?

    Also, I find it inconsistent (and confusing) that selecting "All Feeds" (or any other feed group) doesn't show the title "All Feeds" that I selected with the option to select between "All Published" and "My Episodes" as for simple feeds. The title is a mix of the two; "All Feeds" becomes "All Episodes" which means "All Feeds" / "My Episodes"... but if I select the group "Entertainment" it actually shows "Entertainment" but only displays "My Episodes" within "Entertainment" (and there is still no option to select all or just my episodes).

    From a UX point of view, the root problem here is trying to do similar things in different ways, I think, and is probably difficult to fix without a redesign since the underlying model might be flawed.

    A similar problem also shows up in the different ways a card in "My Episodes" is displayed vs one that isn't there. If you want to download an episode, you need to open the card (or add it to My Episodes) instead of just pressing the download button...

    And another is the ability to (sometimes) filter and sort the episodes and sometimes not...

    Quote Originally Posted by juwlz View Post
    I concede it may not be entirely intuitive [...clever workaround deleted...]
    I can agree to that entirely (that it's not being intuitive)...

    Quote Originally Posted by juwlz View Post
    v4.1 streamlines this process a bit too, compared with v4.0. Feel free to download the beta and try it out. (It should be released in the next couple of weeks anyway if nobody finds any show stoppers.)
    Well, from the change logs it looks like the fundamental problem is not solved. Which is sad, since I kind of liked BeyondPod before this, ahem, upgrade ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by juwlz View Post
    [...]Upgrading would not normally have any effect on your previously downloaded episodes though, so I don't know why that happened.
    I had my episodes on an SD card. It somehow went ballistic after one of the (normal) updates and just said the location was no longer available (it was still there). It's not a big issue, just some minor bug or OS specific problem, I guess :-)
    Last edited by pnoman; 02-04-2015 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Clarified some points

  7. #7

    +1 on this Sentiment

    I'm in exactly the same place.

    It's just too annoying to deal with the counter-intuitive navigation. Why is simplicity so difficult for some people?

    A list of feeds you subscribe to, tap to get a detailed list of episodes, tap to play episode and then mark it as read and have some auto-delete options set up. Any smart playlist or other crap should be optional, not the focus of the app.

  8. #8
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    And for each user like you, there's somebody like me who always listens to the playlist that BP updates for me several times a day. I never *need* to pick and choose episodes. If I don't want to hear something, I just tap the "skip this one" button: it's gone, and an episode from some other feed starts playing. Play, pause, or skip, all from the widget.

    Granted, I have 130 feeds, and my SmartPlay program has 13 steps and is currently 27 hours long, but that's evolved over time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon44 View Post
    I'm in exactly the same place.

    It's just too annoying to deal with the counter-intuitive navigation. Why is simplicity so difficult for some people?

    A list of feeds you subscribe to, tap to get a detailed list of episodes, tap to play episode and then mark it as read and have some auto-delete options set up. Any smart playlist or other crap should be optional, not the focus of the app.
    That sounds like a really aweful UX. To find what's new you'd have to open and back out of each feed. Is there any podcast app that works like that?

    As it is now I can just open BeyondPod to directly view a list of latest available episodes and directly select one to listen to. Or I can queue them up using the add to playlist button. Not sure how it could get any simpler. =)

  10. #10
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    Just for the record:

    Some may like the playlists and some may not. I'm not against playlists, it's perfectly fine if the program supports those in some forms.

    But: My key point is that there is a clash of paradigms which has lead to an inconsistent interface, purely from a User Experience point of view. The app has two different mechanisms for doing pretty much the same. This is evident when e.g. "All Feeds" becomes "All Episodes". Whenever new features are added, some old ones may have to go away. And by all means and purposes, an app should never make simple things more complex than they are...

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