So recently I thought about some of the flaws I see in XBMC that might be big enough, to discourage not-so-tech-savvy people getting into it and using it.
They mostly regard the first time setup and where to find certain settings or functionality.
I would really like to know how everyone elses thoughts on this are before trying to look at the code (which won't be so soon anyways), so here I go.
- Media Nodes
I am not sure if this applies to all people, but in my experience with people using XBMC for the first time, the difference between Library and Files mode confuses them a lot.
To relax this situation, we already have the video file node integrated into the library but this doesn't help alot, as the way to access music files and video files is pretty inconsistent. In different skins you find either a video menu item with submenus for Movies and TV-Shows, or you find entries for Movies and TV-Shows directly on the home screen.
Then sometimes you can access video file mode through a submenu like it is possible in the music node and other times you simply have to push backspace/go up a level to reash the top node before selecting files.
In music even though it is consistent, it is not really obvious to the user to use a submenu to reach the file level.
In my opinion, it might be easier if the ties between file and library mode would be completely cut, therefore not giving a way to switch from one to the other.
Instead, a single "Files" node could be introduced, which could then on the top level hold all the sources no matter of what type and give access to the Files.
I know that this would brake pretty harshly with the current way file and library mode are handled and would require all skins to adapt, but it would really benefit the user imho.
- First Start
This is probably the worst thing about XBMC from an end-user experience, you get thrown in there without any tutorial or short explanation of what todo. Sure, you have the forum and the wiki to look into, but having to look for documentation after the first start is utterly discouraging.
To lower this entry hurdle, we could add a welcome screen which should fulfill the following functions (and be skippable):
- Show info about recommended formatting and link to the wiki for alternative ones
- Giving the option to add one folder for each type of media
- Allow setting the default scraper for each type of media (maybe from the top-5 downloaded scrapers in the repo)
- Give a short introduction to the central concepts of XBMC and how to access/use them (Media adding, addon system, sub menu indicators, ...) (skin dependant)
This one is similar to the first point, the current place to add sources, which is in the file node of each media type, is quite hard to find depending on the skin. In addition, it is not always obvious, that sources need to be added if a Movies home menu entry is shown which leads to an empty list.
To give the source management a central place to stay, I would suggest, to add a new entry "Media" or "Sources" or something to the main settings window. From there it could branch into sub-categories for each media type, containing the sources for that type.
The sources themself could be shown in a list with one entry to add a new one at the end, similar to how it is done at the moment. When selecting (pressing enter or ok) the source, it should open an edit dialog which differs from the creation dialog.
The idea here is, that even though it is neccessary to show the scraper information right after the creation of a source, it is an additional click if you were just adding the source name or folders. So I would say, add an additional button to the normal source settings which leads to the scraper settings as it used to be some time ago.
Answers to Concerns:
As several people in another thread pointed out, it might not seem logical to look into settings after realising that no sources are added. This is why I would suggest, that when entering a Library node which contains no sources a popup should be shown asking to either abort or go to source management. In files node a quick link at the bottom redirecting to source management could be added.
First, thanks for reading
I hope it didn't sound too unthankful or boring, and I really hope that you will reply in order to get an overview how the general thoughts are on the topic.
Now, two last things, first is it somehow possible to give text a right indent? This post looks god awful too read. And second, if I have additional ideas (, should I post them in this thread or should I open another one?
I will try to add the general thoughts on the topic into this thread, but can't guarantee that I will be able to do so more then once a day.
Greetings and sorry for my spelling (too lazy to proofread that whole post),
- Simplicity's welcome screen to showcase point 4 of the first start idea:
- Shame on me for not seeing these 3 threads about putting Sources into Settings: