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Subject: Re: GUI


From: Dave Chapman <>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 14:55:23 +0000

Gabriel Meier wrote:
> Hi,
> does anybody know, if there are any plans for making a proper gui?
> I just switched to rockbox, and really appreciate its abilities compared
> to the iriver-firmeware, but I think usability is something that would
> help roxbock to beat iriver in every respect.
> When I switch my iriver on, I don't want to see the file-structure of
> the disc, but want to have a choice on what to to, like
> - Play Music
> - Radio
> - Recorder
> - Browse Files
> - Settings

I'm undecided about whether the "home screen" in Rockbox should be main
menu, or whether it should be the file browser.

On the one hand, I think that the main menu (with a browse files option)
would be a much more welcoming first screen when a new user uses
Rockbox, but on the other hand, users probably spend more time in the
file browser than in the menus.

However, that may change when Rockbox has a good, fully-featured tag
database - some users may never want to use the file browser again.

Apple's iPod firmware takes the approach of unifying everything into a
single menu - browsing the music database, changing the (very small
number of) settings, and accessing the plugins (Extras in Apple-speak).

Whilst this is easy to use, it's also very frustrating - you can't
quickly go from one part of the UI to another without navigating up and
down through the menus. So I definitely wouldn't want Rockbox to go
down that route.

> This could be made with a text-interface as well, but a gui would put
> the finishing touches.

I completely agree with you that usability is the issue, not how it
looks - I wouldn't want this discussion to get side-tracked with debates
over the relative merits of text or icons, or how skinning systems could

But saying that, I also don't think it would take much work to make
Rockbox's text-based interface look a lot nicer - maybe just changing
the default font to something larger, having larger icons for the status
bar (on the larger LCDs), and using a small amount of colour on the
colour LCDs.

The iPod's interface (with Apple's firmware) is 100% text based (no
icons apart from the status bar), and that's not often called ugly.

Received on 2006-03-03

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