My eardrums don't like this design
By Eddie LopezEddie_Lopez. Monday, December 4, 2006 2:33:26 AM
These two menus look so similar that sometimes when I'm flipping through, moving from lock to unlock and casually looking at it I sometimes end up blasting my eardrums out when I really want to quickly fast forward to another portion of my podcast, and vice versa.
The biggest usability issue I run into with this is when I'm seeking a new track location, particularly with podcasts (read my other thoughts on iTunes/podcasts). I switch to the seek mode and get the blue diamond to scroll on. The problem is that I have to listen to a few seconds of it before I know if this is where I want to be... but of course, if I'm not quick enough, it times out and i get back the volume control.... I decide I want to fast forward a little more and next thing I know... BAM! eardrum blast. According to this man's anecdotal evidence.. I use the FF/RW and seek features *much* more often in podcasts than I do with music. Probably because:
- They are so much longer. And when you mark it as unplayed (just to keep it from getting wiped off your ipod if you set it up that way), you have to seek back to where you were.
- I often miss something and want to repeat it. With music I usually don't do that, I'll just start the whole track over.
...perhaps my affinity for podcasts has exasperated this problem to the point of me drafting this post, maybe that's why others have not noticed it.
They switch to the blue diamond when you're seeking a new track location, but the way the ipod represents the track location (the first screenshot) makes it easy to forget what context/mode you're in. I often associate the volume with the track location and the track location with the volume.
There's a couple ways this could have been more clear:
- Use a different color for volume and track location.
- Put the bars/indicators in different spots. Maybe have the track information at the top of the screen and the volume information at the bottom. Or use a vertical bar for the volume, or have the one of the menus sit on top of what's currently on the screen. Do not overlay them.
These suggestions may not be the prettiest. But the menus are sharing:
- Click wheel control
- Exact same color/appearance of indicator
- Location on the screen of indicator
- They (the modes) are only seperated by one click of the center wheel
I think that is enough to take a closer look at doing more to differentiate the modes.