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Subject: Re: Useability concerns

Re: Useability concerns

From: Paul Louden <>
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2009 13:23:24 -0600

Sam Pattuzzi wrote:
> * 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.

In most cases the keymappings don't change unless the screen is so
different as to necessitate new keymappings. For example, there's no way
they could stay the same between the list and the WPS - you need
browsing keys in the list but not in the WPS, and you need playback keys
in the WPS but don't have spare ones in the list.

Maybe if you listed some of the screens you feel the keymapping changes
unnecessarily in, it might help. There is a great deal of logic behind
the keymappings, and the fact that you simply disagree with the
currently chosen mappings does not necessarily mean there's not "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.

There is an attempt at having consistency in how you exit plugins,
actually. But some plugins need more keys than others. It's a general
feeling that Hold shouldn't be used to trigger actions unless it's
absolutely necessary to do so. You might attempt to look at the manual
rather than just trying to guess how to use Rockbox though, this
might've shortened your two year learning process significantly.

> * 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).

Again, they may be hard to discover... but they're in the manual. For
the most part long-press mappings are context-specific functions, and
throughout the majority of the UI boil down to "context menu" or "quick
screen." Maybe again you should cite some examples of confusing
long-press mappings.

> * 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?)

This requires coding effort. Are you volunteering to do the work here,
or just saying "somebody should really make things look better" (which
is something users have been stating for years now, without stepping up
and working at it). Some effort has gone into improving the ability of
the non-WPS UI to be themed recently, of course. Are you volunteering to
update the default theme to use these new features perhaps?

> * I really need to get noting all the problems I find in a notepad
> so that I can recall them at a later date.

Yes. Currently your post basically says "I don't like a lot of stuff,
but don't have any specific examples of where I find it confusing or
misleading." The fact is most people seem perfectly able to boot Rockbox
and listen to their music after a short acclimatization (one that's
often shorter if they've never used the OF) and it's mainly advanced
features that are hidden behind somewhat more complex controls. It
benefits everyone to read the manual first, and there's never going to
be a point where a user can reliably "guess" every control of Rockbox.
Received on 2009-11-21

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