[mythtv] MythTV Usability Report

Tom E. Craddock Jr. sigtom at sigtom.com
Sun Jan 8 00:55:01 UTC 2006

Jono Bacon wrote:
> Hi all,
> Firstly, thanks for MythTV. It is an incredible piece of software our
> house is a better place with our MythTV box. Keep up the great work.
> For a while now I have been noting down little quirks and oddities in
> MythTV. Although MythTV is incredibly usable and works very well,
> fixing these problems would make it more intuitive and easier to use.
> This list is certainly not exhaustive and although I have been meaning
> to do an exhaustive usability assessment, I have not had the time. As
> such, these are major usability issues I have confronted.
> I would love to conduct a more in-depth usability test in the future
> if that would be of interest. I write quite a bit about design,
> usability and MythTV on my blog at www.jonobacon.org.
> I have put a code at the beginning of each issue for easily referring to it.
> --> General
> * G1 - When watching a show, you should be able to hit the record
> button to record the entire show if it has been watched from the
> beginning and as such the live TV buffer contains the show.
> * G2 - If you schedule a show to record, you can only watch the show
> at the same time as recording it by first selecting Media
> Library->Watch and then selecting a show. This is unintuitive - you
> should just be able to watch TV like normal and be able to view the
> channel while the show is recording.
> * G3 - Switching between channels is far to slow - this slowness makes
> skipping through channels rather laborious.
> * G4 - The term 'Optical Disks' in the menu is not particularly clear
> - I suspect most people know its a Disk, but not optical.
> * G5 - In the Upcoming recordings screen, the use of dimmed and
> non-dimmed entries in entirely unclear - what do they signify? It is
> certainly unclear to me and my other half. The other problem is that
> many of the entries listed in Upcoming will not actually be taped
> because it says the recording will be taped at a later time. If it is
> not going to be taped, why is it still in the list?
> * G6 - Many of the screens in MythTV (such as Upcoming and Set
> Priorities) have specific letters in each entry. These letters
> obviously refer to something specific, but there is no legend
> displayed on the screen to say what they mean.
> * G7 - There seems to be no simple way of cancelling all recordings
> for a show other than finding it in the EPG and changing the recording
> option to not record the show. The ideal solution would be to have a
> list of shows that are being recorded and then when you select a show,
> there are options such as Cancel this recording, Cancel all recordings
> etc.
> --> Electronic Programme Guide
> * EPG1 - When watching TV you will often want to view the EPG.
> Currently you do this by pressing Menu and then selecting Program
> Guide from the on-screen menu. This two step process needs to be
> instead bound to a single key so that you can press one button and
> access the EPG while watching TV.
> * EPG2 - When you access the EPG from the main menu, there is no TV
> feed on the top right-hand corner, whereas when you access the EPG
> when watching TV by pressing Menu->Program Guide, there is a TV feed
> in the EPG. This behaviour needs to be unified - I would suggest
> always having a feed of the current TV channel.
> * EPG3 - The EPG should not be inside the Manage menu, for a few
> reasons. The first is that you don't really 'manage' your program
> schedule, and secondly because you need to reference the EPG
> regularly. Why take two steps to access the EPG when you likely want
> to access it on the main menu?
> --> MythMusic
> * MM1 - When in the main playback screen, there are a number of
> different artists in a long list, but there is no way of jumping from
> artist to artist.
> * MM2 - If you have not created a playlist, or you have just cleared
> you active play queue, MythMusic by default has no songs loaded. This
> is totally unintuitive. The default functionality should be that when
> no no queue or playlist is available, *all* of your music should be
> available to play. It seems crazy that All My Music needs to be
> consciously ticked in the Edit Playlist area to actually hear some
> music.
> * MM3 - There is no way to create a playlist based on genre.
> * MM4 - When playing back a song it lists encoding details (eg.
> 128kbps 44.1khz) - this information is of no interest to most users
> and therefore should not be displayed.
> * MM5 - There is copious room in the bottom third of the screen, and
> this should really be used to display guidance notes about creating a
> playlist. Creating playlists is not very intuitive and this space
> could be usefully used for notes.
> * MM6 - There is no obvious way to save a playlist that you have just
> constructed. I still don't know how to do this.
> * MM7 - When creating a playlist, the icons on the left (such as the
> CD icon when you have inserted a CD and it appears below the All My
> Music line) are not clear at all. This need to be much bigger or use
> the space at the bottom of the screen to show a nice big icon. On my
> 28" TV, they just were not clear enough and look like bullet points.
> * MM8 - When in the main music playback screen and at the top of the
> list of songs, you can't press Up to go to the bottom of the list. I
> assume the same problem happens at the bottom of the list - you should
> be able to press Down to go to the top of the list.
> --> MythWeather
> * MW1 - When loading MythWeather and it says it is retrieving weather
> data, it takes a long time to grab this information. It would be
> better if it just went away and grabbed it periodically in the
> background, this giving little or no delay.
> * MW2 - Unlike other modules in MythTV, MythWeather does not display
> information in the LCD panel on the front of my case.
> --> Ideas for features
> * Reminders - there should be a feature to allow you to set a reminder
> to watch a particular show, even if you are not recording it. MythTV
> would then pp up a box to say the show is on and allow you to change
> the channel. It would also be useful to possibly pop up a small OSD
> with a countdown to when the reminded show starts.
> * A module to go and grab National Lottery numbers and display them.
> Cheers,
>   Jono

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