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Thread: Poor UI in 3.x

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Poor UI in 3.x

    I was a pretty happy user of the 2.x series. It has some UI inconsistencies, but I could figure it out and use it quite effortlessly.

    3.0 however is so awkward to use that after weeks of struggling, I went back to latest 2.x version. It seems that a playlist oriented usage pattern is the only reasonable one with 3.0. I don't need or want playlists, and I found that the most common tasks of choosing an episode to play, and after listening getting rid of it were confusing to the extent of being unusable. Listing all the problems would be pointless; the application needs a complete UI review and redesign by someone who isn't already too familiar with it. The problems of inconsistency and lack of intuitiveness of many common tasks are _all_ over the place.

    BeyondPod has a great deal of features and invested effort, and I'd hate to see it dying. I'm far from a beginner with software, but find the new UI almost impossible to grasp. BeyonPod developers, do you factually have any idea how a new user perceives BeyondPod's UI? If he finds the UI too confusing, nothing is going to save BeyondPod from a slow death.

  2. #2
    BeyondPod Team
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    @skarkkai - welcome to the BP forum.

    As you say, it depends on how you use it. I was a new BP user shortly before the first beta version of 3.0 was made available. And as a new user, I found 2.x inconsistent and difficult to navigate, and for me, 3.0 was a huge improvement.

    Having said that, people use BP in different ways, and nothing's set in stone. Plans are already in place to improve the UI - the aim is to make BP work as seamlessly as possible for as many people as possible, so if you could let us know exactly how you prefer to use it, hopefully that can be taken into account. I know you've said that listing all the problems would be pointless, but unless you do, we can't tell which bits of 2.x worked well for you.

    2.x always did have and use a (the) playlist (there is only one at any given time), but perhaps you weren't aware of it because your usage pattern automatically put the things you wanted to listen to into the playlist and played them. This is still possible in 3.0 by ticking the Automatic Playlist option in Settings | Playlist and Widget Settings. However, I'm guessing you've read the other threads on the forums about the new UI (there's also the Tips for upgrading from BeyondPod 2.x to BeyondPod 3 page) and have tried that, and there's more to it than that. (Incidentally, as a result of feedback on this forum, the default setting for Automatic Playlist for new users has been changed back to being enabled from 3.0.20 onwards.)

    BP also has settings for what should happen after you've finished listening to an episode (and nothing there should have changed from 2.x, as far as I'm aware).

    Julie
    Last edited by juwlz; 07-01-2012 at 02:50 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
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    It's true that nothing much can be done to help me if I don't detail my problems. However to improve BeyondPod for everybody, I feel a real usability test would be the best thing, and isn't something you can substitute easily. It's too easy to get buried in the details and lose sight of what's essential for the average user.

    But listening to your users the way you're doing is also great, and given your kind reply, it's only fair I explain the problems I'm having. So, let me describe the way I've experienced the 3.0 UI so far:

    1) I only use one category (the whole concept is a minor inconvenience for me), so I start from the "Feeds in science and technology" view.

    2) I choose the feed based on my current mood, and availability of new episodes.

    3) I tap the feed I've chosen, and am shown the list of new episodes in it. Version 2.x used to explicitely show which ones I've downloaded and which not. Version 3.0 only shows which ones I can download, making it less easy to understand the state of each episode.

    4) I tap an episode. I'm taken into the Player view and the episode starts playing. This is all good.

    5) Eventually the episode is about to end, and I want to mark it as finished. There is no way to do that from this view that I can see! I have disabled the "skip to end" button, because I kept pressing it by mistake, a really major problem with my S2 and its narrow edges. Besides, conceptually I don't want to skip to end, I want to mark the episode finished, for which the obvious UI indicator is the blue dot.

    6) I go back to the feed's list of episodes by tapping Feed, and mark the episode as finished, thinking that will get it out of my face, like it did in 2.x. I have "Remove Played from Playlist" checked. Is it a bug it doesn't get removed from the playlist?

    6b) If I have locked the screen during listening the episode, the Feed choice has disappeared, and has been replaced by Episodes. Apparently a bug.

    7) I click on another episode, but unlike with the first episode, I now am not taken to the player. I have no idea why, because I'm not aware of any playlist.

    8) I go to the player view, but still have no idea what's different from the first time.

    9) I go to the playlist, and realize BeyondPod has created me a playlist without ever telling me so.

    10) There are no controls visible for removing episodes from the playlist. By tapping and holding on an episode in the playlist, I find the menu option for removing it from the play, as well as for toggling its "finished" status. But there's no way to see if any given episode is finished or not.

    I think the crux of the problem is that BeyondPod insists on putting everything to a playlist, and making it hard to remove episodes from there. Notice that this problem didn't exist in 2.x.

    If I check "Automatic Playlist" I appear to only be getting a lot more episodes to the playlist.
    Last edited by skarkkai; 07-08-2012 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Removed the mention of problem in 2. Clarify 6. Added 6a.

  4. #4
    BeyondPod Team
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    Quote Originally Posted by skarkkai View Post
    It's true that nothing much can be done to help me if I don't detail my problems. However to improve BeyondPod for everybody, I feel a real usability test would be the best thing, and isn't something you can substitute easily. It's too easy to get buried in the details and lose sight of what's essential for the average user.
    Thank you for the link and for taking the time to contribute how you use BP. You do, indeed, have a very different usage pattern from me , and it's only by getting an insight into how people (want to) use BP that we can hope to make it work well for the majority.

    Many of the things you detail are possible in 3.0 (or haven't changed since 2.x - such as everything always being on a playlist, whether you are aware of it or not), and I will respond to some of your specific points when I have a little more time.

    However, this has made me think that it would be useful to gather together in one place some information on how different people use BP so that we can use that information for making future versions more user-friendly in various scenarios.

    Julie

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