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Subject: Useability concerns

Useability concerns

From: Sam Pattuzzi <>
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2009 18:58:11 +0000

Hey all,

I'm quite concerned with the state of usability with Rockbox. Don't get
me wrong, I love Rockbox and use it all the time but I don't think I
would feel great giving it so somebody less tech-savy than me.

So some of the obvious usability concerns are as follows:
      * Inconsistent key mappings: The key mapping change depending on
        where you are. This is very difficult for a user to figure out,
        I still get it wrong and I've been using Rockbox for a couple of
        years. One button should take you back, one should skip to the
        WPS no matter what, etc... (excluding plug-ins). Even when key
        mappings are context sensitive there should be some level of
        logic behind it.
      * Having said that, plug-ins should also have a common way of
        exiting (because it's often a matter of guess work), my
        suggestion here is using the hold button to bring up some
        generic or plug-in defined menu screen giving the user the
        option to quit. This should be available no matter what, this
        way the user always has a way of exiting.
      * Long press key mappings: These are really hard to discover and
        very unintuitive. Admittedly, I don't know what the best way of
        getting around this could be. I was thinking maybe having all
        the extra options you need in one context menu then mapping that
        to the MENU key (obvious place for a menu).
      * Inconsistent look and feel: The WPS screen is so different from
        the rest of the interface. Maybe some effort should go into
        unifying this a bit. An example: in the normal interface you
        have a bar at the top giving basic information, in the WPS this
        disappears, why? Instead it is replace with a differently styled
        bar at the bottom. Confusing? (I really like the new WPS style,
        can we extend this better to the rest of Rockbox?)
      * I really need to get noting all the problems I find in a notepad
        so that I can recall them at a later date.

Disclaimer: I'm no usability expert, these are just some of the things
that jump out at me. At some point I would like to draw up a list of
common task and do some formal usability testing.
Disclaimer 2: I use and iPod nano 1g. I don't know what the key mappings
are like for any other devices. Maybe this is part of the problem,
having key mappings across multiple devices.


Sam Pattuzzi
Received on 2009-11-21

Page was last modified "Jan 10 2012" The Rockbox Crew