[mythtv] [mythtv-commits] Ticket #8805: Source->Switch Source missing

BP lists at qucae.com
Thu Sep 16 06:31:07 UTC 2010

Stuart Morgan wrote:

> I think because you're thinking like a power-user or developer and not the 
> average user, a significant other, grandparent, young child.
> We've all failed to see this from a different perspective in the past, which 
> is why the UI and user experience is not what it should be. We're trying to 
> change the culture, even at the cost of upsetting a tiny minority of 
> technically minded, power-user types.
> We want fewer options in menus, more relevant choices, simple language free of 
> acronyms and technical jargon, fewer settings and more automation, less 
> cluttered screens etc

Part of keeping things simple for the less technical users is making 
sure the remote is simply configured and does everything those users 
need.  My wife never uses the OSD menus (unless you count the Menu in 
Watch Recordings for deleting a recording).  I pretty much consider 
everything in the OSD menus to be "Advanced".

Moving things off menus and requiring all sorts of odd bindings that do 
not match any common remote buttons does not seem like a user friendly 
change.  Especially things which are rarely used and do not deserve a 
limited resource on a remote.  For me, Live TV is used only as a 
configuration/troubleshooting tool.  If I add a new tuner or input, I 
use Live TV to make sure it works.  After upgrading my install, I use it 
as a validation test of whatever revision of trunk I just took a chance 
on.  Those Source/Input menus are invaluable for such tasks.  I can 
understand trying to reduce "confusing" menu entries.  Perhaps (I know 
people don't like "advanced" type settings/menu) keeping some of the 
more technical items in a "troubleshooting" menu would make sense?

To be honest, if you really wanted to automate and reduce menus, you 
would also get rid of the "Switch Input" menu.  Input and Source 
switching should all be seamless to the user.  They should not need to 
do anything beyond choose a program from the Guide (I believe this is 
already implemented) or navigate channels.

Also speaking of making things simple, no menu should ever exist if it 
only contains a single submenu.  The "Navigate" menu for watching a 
recording is a perfect example.  Part of simplicity is reducing the 
depth of menus and the number of clicks required.  Commercial Auto-skip 
probably fits under "Playback".  Not to mention that's the place I keep 
trying to find it when I need to turn it off.

The "Source" menu for both Recordings and Videos is extremely confusing 
to me.  What is the purpose of jumping to a recorded program from a 
video?  There is no context there for that action.  From a recording, 
exiting back to the Watch Recordings screen actually takes fewer remote 
clicks and gives a much better interface.  It's also a more consistent 
flow of returning to a menu rather than creating recursion.

Also from Recordings, the Schedule menu seems over populated if the goal 
is fewer, more relevant choices.  What would make sense for that menu is 
"Stop Recording this Program" and "Edit Recording Schedule".  The 
"Program Guide", "Program Finder", and "Upcoming Recordings" don't 
really fit the context of where the user is.  Although a filtered 
Upcoming view that shows all the upcoming scheduled recordings of only 
the current program could make sense.

The removed Video Manager is another example of over simplifying.  The 
great thing about having separate view to mange videos was it gave a 
different context which allowed the menus and view to be fully tailored 
to a task.  Now, whenever I import new videos, I have to switch views 
and sorting order (or filter) then click multiple times to get to the 
screen to edit metadata.  Before I could simply hit "Enter" on my remote 
and have the edit screen.  Then, once I'm done, put the view back to 
where it needs to be for the family to easily navigate for watching videos.

And for my feature request without a patch...  The OSD navigation might 
improve if a flyout menu were implemented.  Preferably one which never 
shows more than two menu columns at a time (the current menu level and 
the entries for the currently selected entry if any exist).  Just my 

As a technically minded power user, I would love it if Mythtv could have 
a very simplistic interface, be more automated, and require less 
tweaking.  The problem is, however, this is an open source project being 
worked on by people in their spare time.  There's a lot of great work 
being done and a lot of "spare" time being spent on the project.  It's 
amazing what has been produced.  But let's keep perspective here.  There 
is no dedicated testing effort and a very small number of active 
developers.  And despite all the dedication and pride of the work you're 
all doing, there are bugs and quirks.  Many of which there just is not 
enough time, information or sometimes interest to fix.  Some of these 
extraneous menu items, settings and even direct access to the database 
all provide a means for people to deal with the minor problems.  They 
allow many of us to help ourselves and allow you the developers to spend 
your time working on the things you're passionate about and enjoy.

I agree with and applaud the ultimate goal of what I quoted Stuart 
above.  I'm just questioning whether or not the project is really ready 
for that level of simplicity yet.

Sorry for hijacking this thread.  Hopefully you'll take this as 
constructive criticism.  I also understand that some of my above 
critique might be of unfinished work and, in the end, not applicable.

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