[mythtv] MythTV Usability Report

Brad DerManouelian myth at dermanouelian.com
Mon Jan 9 03:31:16 UTC 2006

On Jan 8, 2006, at 10:03 PM, Craig Tinson wrote:

> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> mythtv-dev mailing list
>> mythtv-dev at mythtv.org
>> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-dev
> well.. personally I think this is a good report.
> I've read through all the replies and to be frank I think they are  
> completely out of order.
> I've been using mythtv for a while now and yeah - I know how it  
> works..I know what all the menu options are for and I know how to  
> move things around if I wanted. but that isn't the point..
> The responses so far have been of the frame of mind of "well if you  
> don't like it - change it" or even worse "well if you don't like it  
> - don't use it"
> This is an old (and tiring!) point of view and really doesn't help  
> future the cause of OpenSource software in general. If this was  
> still the frame of mind then linux wouldn't have ever got out of  
> console mode (and yeah - we all know there are still some elitists  
> that would love that)
> How is OpenSource software ever expected to get into the realm of  
> public use without it being easier to use?? more software should  
> undergo similar Usability Testing.
> Well.. just my two-penneth worth.
> Craig

People who have responded either don't like these suggestions or they  
are already being implemented.

G1, G2, G3 are in svn
G4 - Is "optical disc" really that obscure?
G5 - This is more of a "I don't understand this" not "I would prefer  
something else instead".
As a note to the original poster, it displays all the entries because  
you have it set to display all entries. Press 2 and it will display  
"important" entries. Says so at the bottom of the screen.
G6 - There is a legend. Again - look at the bottom of the screen when  
something's highlighted to see what the letter next to it means
G7 - You can change the scheduling of a show anywhere you see the  
show listed. Select it and select Recording options. It's worked  
everywhere I've tried.
EPG1 - It already exists.
EPG2 - Set the EPG to automatically display when you enter LiveTV and  
you have this functionality.
EPG3 - I hate scrolling menus. The fewer the better. It's in an  
appropriate group and takes 30 seconds to change if you don't like it.
MM - I agree MythMusic needs a lot of work and agree with most of  
these but disagree with others. I would add to this list that I would  
like to see streaming music from 1 location without using an NFS  
mount. I know this is low priority and will work around until it  
MW1 - I don't want MythWeather to give me potentially out of date  
information. I like that it grabs weather when I ask for it. Please  
don't change this!
MW2 - No idea. I don't use an LCD.

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