Max Howell recently wrote in his blog asking if amaroK (the popular KDE music player) was complex. It is.
I come from the school of Winamp-type players, which includes XMMS. amaroK started it’s life as the same thing, except then it added on an iTunes-type interface for library. The problem is, the two different schools of thoughts don’t mix. Either you have a minimalistic user interface, with an optional straight playlist panel; or you have a complex UI that allows you to manage your library, and puts actual playing of music second.
amaroK, sadly, tries to do both, and becomes a usability nightmare in the process. Winamp-style players are out, and iTunes-style players are in. amaroK infact already beats iTunes at it’s own game and does it far better; all it needs to do is get rid of the XMMS-esk window and the playlist.
Instead, I should be able to play by individual song, album, entire library, artist, or genre just by using a well thought out UI. I should be able to list similar songs, even those that aren’t in my library (amaroK can already do this, but the way it lists the information is funky). The library management functionality should be put first.
Also, amaroK currently has “Your Favorite Tracks”, “Your Newest Tracks”, and “Least Played Tracks” all on one tab, in a scrollable field. This is very hard to use, you have to scroll instead of just going to it. Instead, this should be a set of tabs, (and now that we have more room thanks to getting rid of the playlist) we can move stuff about this song into that space, and have tabs for “Current” and “Lyrics” there instead of cluttering the left side.
The left side, of course, is reserved for managing your entire library. So, the left side has dedicated tabs for “Favorite”, “Newest”, and “Least Played”, and it would also have the “Collection” tab, and the “Files” tab. Since I’m suggesting dropping the playlist altogether, the “Playlists” tab needs to be transformed into something more useful, maybe something just called “Radio”.
And that’s my thoughts on it.