[vlc-devel] Re: Mac OS X interface

David Weber david_weber at gmx.de
Fri Jan 10 20:33:44 CET 2003

hi to you all,

so what con i say about my design. first i don't want build something,  
that is 100% apple "interface guidelines". if you want this, you can  
take the old interface and switch the background to 'brushed metal'.  
this is the reason why i have arranged the buttons in a more round  
shape. i also wanted to have a big round play button, but that is not  
possible the cocoa interface builder. in fact i was surprised how  
limited the possibilities are, that the interface builder offers.

i don't give too much on the aqua interface guidelines. i have seen the  
development form the first public beta to 10.2. now its ok but the  
public beta was typographic horror for me as professional graphic  
designer. what apple did a that time was really poor. i don't know if  
you can understand what i mean. graphic design is very complex thing  
which takes years to study. some examples: in the first aqua releases  
interface elements where huge, fonts too. but this hasn't worked,  
because most programs hadn't enough space to visualize all their  
information. or the gray horizontal lines in the windows and menu bars.  
remove them with plain color and you can make all fonts two step  
smaller without loosing read ability. i think this was the work of  
amateurs. (this is not my personal opinion - there are many articles in  
leading design magazines, that say the same. there is a huge difference  
to quality of the interface design of os 1-9 from people like susan  

an other aspect in your comments affect the functionality of the  
interface.  these things have to be programed and i don't have the  
skills to do that (volume slider, toggle play-pause button, ...). now  
interface builder it's only possible to rearrange the existing  
elements. if the programers will build these features, i can integrate  
them in the existing interface.

i think a very cool thing for vlc would be platform independent themes,  
like in apps like maccast or winamp. but i don't think the guys here  
have enough time to do that. maybe in version 3.0?

cheers, david

On Freitag, Januar 10, 2003, at 06:01  Uhr, Derk-Jan Hartman wrote:

> On donderdag, jan 9, 2003, at 22:02 Europe/Amsterdam, Niels Leenheer  
> wrote:
>> After seeing the screenshots of the new interface and read the  
>> positive
>> reactions I wanted to point out a few things which I think makes this  
>> design
>> less ideal to use. In no way I want to trivialize the work of David  
>> Webber,
>> because he obviously spend a lot of time working on it. However I do  
>> think
>> it can be improved in a number of ways.
> I agree, see also my comments  
> http://www.via.ecp.fr/via/ml/vlc-devel/200301/msg00104.html
> David, are you open to suggestions?
>> Let me make it clear that I don't
>> have the skills to work on creating the technical aspect of the  
>> interface
>> and neither do I have any experience in programming for Mac OS X.
> I have, but i don't have the vlc knowledge or the artistic req. or the  
> time to do so ;-)
>> A consistant and user-friendly interface is one way to
>> help achieve this.
> In my eyes it is a requirement.
>> The text 'VideoLan client * mac os-x' and 'www.videolan.org' are not  
>> really
>> needed and are in fact distracting. The user already knows he or she  
>> is
>> using VideoLan because he or she can see it in the title of the  
>> window and
>> the menu bar. Repeating it 2 more times is cluttering the interface  
>> with
>> elements which are not really needed.
> I agree full heartedly. I think the title bar should go. I like the  
> graphic to much ;-)
> Although the www.videolan.org part belongs in the 'About vlc' dialog
>> I think the layout of the buttons can be improved a lot. Right now it  
>> is
>> simply confusing because it seems like everything is just placed at  
>> random.
>> Buttons which are related should be clearly displayed in that way.  
>> Also the
>> amount of buttons is simply too much. With this many buttons you need  
>> a
>> different way to display the buttons to make sure it isn't confusing  
>> the
>> user.
> Correct 100%
>> One other thing that I noticed about the buttons is the fact that  
>> they are
>> raised above the metal texture of the window.
> Good eye, i'm impressed i only saw it just now.
>> Also the big rectangular play button is a very big departure
>> from the careful design Apple tried to create with Aqua. Big  
>> rectangular
>> buttons are intended to be used in a completely different way.
> indeed.
>> The box containing the current position in the movie is a nice touch,  
>> but I
>> think it is also not consistent with the general look and feel of  
>> Aqua. The
>> main reason for this is the size of the font, which is far too big.
> I don't know i kinda like it. It makes it a little bit less boring.  
> (The text shouldn't be selectable though)
> I don't think it is really interfering with the user experience.
>> To demonstrate all these items I created a mock-up of another way to  
>> create
>> the user interface.  I will explain the choices I made in a minute.  
>> The file
>> can be found at: http://www.phpadsnew.com/rakaz/vlc-2.jpg
>> First of all I decided to limit the number of Aqua buttons to the most
>> important features: Stop, Play and Pause. The buttons are lowered  
>> into the
>> texture and organised in a similar way to iTunes. If you look at the
>> screenshot you will probably notice these three buttons are now the  
>> most
>> dominant feature of the interface. The Play button is slightly larger  
>> than
>> the Stop and Pause buttons and located in the middle of the group.  
>> This way
>> the Play button becomes the most dominant button in the group.
>> The Slow-motion and Fast-forward buttons are closely related. The same
>> applies to the Next and Previous buttons. All four of these buttons  
>> are also
>> related. So I decided to create one block which is split into two  
>> separate
>> blocks. You will probably notice I used a different, less dominant  
>> type of
>> button. Because of this these four buttons don't take the attention  
>> away
>> from the more dominant Stop, Play and Pause buttons.
> I still think the play/pause buttons need to be integrated in one  
> button. Just like with QT player and iTunes.
> and i think our faster slower buttons need a different behaviour. It  
> should be that it ff when you keep the button pressed. It shouldn't  
> behave as a faster/slower button. This functionality should be real  
> easy to implement. If you want to make it advanced than you could step  
> up the speed with which it forwards/rewinds, every 2 seconds you hold  
> the button.
> I do agree that the current grouping could be improved. especially the  
> current position of the stop button is terrible.
> And the playlist and preferences buttons should indeed be square i  
> guess.
> Of course we also still need a volume control.
>> I used a different widget for showing and modifying the current  
>> position of
>> the movie. This control is almost a copy of the QuickTime controls  
>> which is
>> also used in a slightly different way in iTunes. There are a couple  
>> of  big
>> advantage over the control: a) this widget is already known by the  
>> users for
>> controlling the position in media files. b) the old widget isn't  
>> intended
>> for showing a changing position, only for changing a setting (for  
>> example
>> the volume). c) related things are again grouped. Both the numeric  
>> position
>> and the visual representation of that position belong together.
> There is one big disadvantage to that  widget. Officially it does not  
> exist. It is not part of the controls specified by apple. This makes  
> using this control extremely difficult and hard to implement.
>> The result is a less cluttered, more user friendly and more  
>> professional
>> interface. It may look a little less high-tech, but in my opinion,  
>> that is
>> not what Aqua is about. Consistency is much more important. How to  
>> use the
>> interface is already known by existing QuickTime and iTunes users and  
>> even
>> if you don't know have any experience with these applications it is
>> immediately clear what which button does.
> It is also extremely boring (sorry ;-) I do think that we can divert  
> from the standards. The color used for the icons in the buttons for  
> instance is fine by me. And the graphic is also interesting.
> Look at most mediaplayers (video and audio) almost all are non  
> standard and 'skinned'. People like that. I think we should respect as  
> much of Apple's guidelines, but the controller is really important and  
> needs to show how 'cool' vlc is. We do not want to be 'just' another  
> (media)player on the block. We want to be cool as well.
>> Based on the suggestion I already made I would also recommend to  
>> change the
>> title of the window to simply 'VideoLan' or 'VideoLan Client'. The  
>> title is
>> indented for letting the user know which application is running. The
>> addition 'Cocoa' is not interesting for regular users at all. The  
>> same thing
>> applies to the version number. If you need to know the exact version  
>> number
>> it should be listed in the applications about box instead. Again,  
>> this is
>> consistent with most other professional Mac application.
> Agreed. Though i would suggest naming the windows function. I suggest  
> something like: VLC - Controller or something.
> I also think the red 'Close' button needs to be there. Even iTunes  
> allows that. The Controller should be accessible by a Command-key and  
> trough the 'Window' menu. This might also allow us to show the  
> Controller over the full screen playing video.
>> The title of the 'video' window is also different from what Mac users  
>> are
>> used to. Perhaps it is best to treat this window like a regular  
>> document
>> window and display the filename of the document instead. The addition
>> 'QuickTime' may also cause confusion because users might think the  
>> window
>> belongs to QuickTime.
> Agreed.
>> Also a button for the configuration is in my opinion not really  
>> needed. Mac
>> users expect this in the 'Application' menu. Also most users won't  
>> change
>> the configuration that often, so placing it in a prominent place on  
>> the main
>> window will only clutter the interface.
> In the case of vlc i kinda agree.
> I would like to add that the Playlist could still use some work as  
> well. I posted my suggestions on that earlier in the mail referenced  
> way in the top.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> ----
> Universiteit Twente
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> ----
> Derk-Jan 'The DJ' Hartman
> ICQnr: 10111559
> Mail:  mailto:d.hartman at student.utwente.nl
> WWW:   http://home.student.utwente.nl/d.hartman/
> Goto:  http://www.student.utwente.nl/~macsatcampus


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