- 11-13-2012, 09:41 AM #51
Re: BB10 app ideas
Its not that there won't be a good default player, i think all modern smartphones and tablets have good media players, but they usually work in different ways than i would like them to. I've been using Winamp for as long as I can remember, and I have always wanted something similar to that on a mobile device but never quite found anything like it. It seems that for a mobile device the media players start focusing on things other than the music itself, so i would like to have an app that is simple, honest, and is familiar to anyone who has used Winamp. If you have ever used Winamp on a PC, I think you will already know what I'm talking about in the following points.
Here is a List of Basic Concepts of the App:
1.) Focus on the "Now Playing List".
The Primary Focus of this App would be on the "Now Playing List". Whichever file needs to played, will be added to this list and then it will work. It will always be on the screen and the user will be able to add to it, remove from it, sort it, hold an item and change its place, save playlist, load playlist etc.
2.) File/Folder Structure
Most media players like to scan the storage and create a media list of its own, and then the user is displayed the items sorted by artist / album/ genre etc. This will not be the case. All items will be added by the user using the File/Folder structure of the device, it is up to the user to add an entire folder complete with all files and sub-folders, or just a few select items from within a folder which could include playlist files, all items however will be added only to the "Now Playing List" as there will be no Media Library or anything of that sort.
3.) Single Screen User Interface
The entire app will consist of just a single screen. There will be no layers, no going back and forth inside the app. Most of the menu options will be available in the cascades style side panel which becomes visible when an item is highlighted (using longpress), and extends fully when the menu key is tapped.
4.) Music Control
Almost all of the buttons needed for controlling the Music will be always available on the screen.
5.) User Interface
Buttons at the bottom for tinkering with the "Now Playing List" .... Playlist in the middle .. and music controls at the top of the playlist ... and Album Art, song info and other things at the very top .
6.) Make it Skinable.
the UI would not be very complex, and there should be a place where the cosmetic files are kept, these should be made available to the users. So the users can select between light / dark / absrtact / custom designs for their player. (hopefully the users will be able yo install new themes by adding a new folder containing custom PNG files to the predetermined "Skins Folder", and probably this would be simple enough to allow these to be saved directly through the browser)
I have made a rough approximation of what i am looking for i hope you will like it.
- 11-14-2012, 03:45 PM #53
Thanks, i'll optimize the design a bit and get back to you,
Can you tell me what do you mean when u say the cascades buttons dont work this way? How do they behave in landscape mode ?
Also are they fixed in size or is up to the developer ? For example in the current design i made the bottom buttons 144x144 square pixels.
I'll show you the changes im making hopefully by tomorrow, also making it for the 720x720 res
for the icon size RIM recommends using 81x81, for using the cascades nav panel stretches across the bottom of the screen here is an example from another developer that is making a file explorer for BB10
- 11-16-2012, 09:36 AM #55
It was pretty difficult to compress stuff and make way for a playlist in the 720x720 version, but i think ive finally got it !!
Removed some of the borders,
Removed a separate space where titel would scroll and replace it with a seek bar similar to Playbook's Native Music Player.
Reduced the size of the buttons on the bottom ( icon size is 81 x 81 but the square button size is 120 x 120 )
Integrated the Play and Pause buttons into one
Skipped the Volume Slider
All this gave me a full view of 3 songs and a partial view of the 4th, So i thought this would work for normal use but it would get a bit cramped for heavy use and would involve too much scrolling, so i added a new button !
Its a Playlist Expand/Retract button, it would essentially do the work of a resize bar, so it would just slide the playlist till it reaches the top and the controls all go above beyond the screen so now its possible to see up-to 8 songs on the screen. Press it again and you are back to normal mode.
Although not necessary but this feature could work for portrait and landscape modes too making playlist management a breeze.
Just wondering if you have a time line of when you would like an app like this?
I am only asking because I am really busy, work full time, married with a kid, and I am working on 4 apps of my own.
- 11-16-2012, 12:49 PM #57
I would be glad just to have it made, to know something that i took part in conceiving and designing actually made it to being a real app that i could use would be cool.
Here's another pic of the larger screen version, with Playlists Expanded.
I decided to let the playlist and the info area on top have the same look and feel so it would look better.
For switching to Landscape Mode would only change 3 things .
1.) The Info Area would be enlarged with the main thing being the increased size of the Album Art. The Repeat and Shuffle Toggle would be moved to the top.
2.) the Playlist would need to be reduced in width a bit.
3.) I'm not sure if its possible but i would like Landscape mode to have more buttons on the bottom instead of just stretching the existing buttons.
I am not sure if its possible to have some things different between the small (720x720) and big screen (1280x720), like the volume slider, Play/Pause key, and the positioning of playlist expand button
As for the File/Folder structure browsing, i think it would be possible to ask the user whether he wants to add from the "Media Library" or File Explorer, .. or there can be 2 buttons one for adding from media library and other for adding from file explorer, for me file explorer browsing is as important for the experience as is the focus on now playing list.
When i said Single Screen Experience i meant that everything happens on the screen, so you dont have to browse your way to and from the main screen. Ofcourse for the settings and things like adding media to playlist we will have to move away from the main screen.
Last edited by Qaxl; 11-16-2012 at 01:21 PM.
- 11-20-2012, 06:55 AM #61
Hey, I'm impressed! Thats nicely done!
Just add the control buttons on the bottom, maybe throw in a volume slider, and we would be sitting on an alpha!
I'll let you know my detailed thoughts in a while, but yes we r heading in the right direction.
- 11-21-2012, 02:49 AM #62
Okay lets go over it in detail.
-Dynamically adjusting Album Art and Artist/Album Names (that's pretty neat)
-Seek Bar looks nice
-Playlist looks nice, scrolls smooth
-Overall feel of the app.
-Layout is great.
Things to Consider:
-When the Artist and Album name switch to the bottom, the album art changes its alignment from left to centre, I think if the album art were to always be left aligned it would look smoother when expanding. If it is the behaviour of the Asrtist and Album names that's causing it, you could consider moving artist name to the seek bar (could be placed like two rows with the title like in the Playbook, or could be scrolling to allow a larger font) and album name could be overlayed on the album art itself. This would also eliminate the need for an extra row to display them when the album art gets too big.
-When I was trying to fit all the elements on the 720 x 720 screen, I did think of allowing touch to be used to expand the playlist, but there were a few concerns with this approach which led me to add a button for it. Firstly you would need a touch area which you here have used a grey bar for, its fine in portrait, but it would take up valuable space on the smaller screen. Secondly I could not figure out how it would scale to the landscape mode where the expansion would have to be horizontal and could not be dynamic.
Things to Add
Volume Slider - I believe a volume slider is very important for a couple of reasons
Its faster both in getting to, and in adjusting volume, since the user often has to change the grip on the device to access the hardware buttons whereas the thumb is always near the screen, and once you get hold of the volume slider its faster to slide it than to repeatedly press the volume button (press and hold on the hardware volume+ key usually takes to the next track). Pressing the volume icon to mute/un-mute is also a nice thing to have esp since i believe the new Blackberrys won't have hardware mute keys anymore.
It gives the user a visual representation of what's going on, the volume icon can change to a headphone icon if the audio is being routed over HDMI or Headset Jack. The user can also have a good idea of how loud it is going to sound before pressing play if the volume slider is clearly visible.
Having a software volume control could allow the App volume to be adjusted independent of the Device Volume.
Buttons at the bottom
It is a cascades app, I hope the buttons will come eventually just mentioning them because they are an integral part of the layout. I am sure you realize their importance for efficient manipulation of the playlist.
Last edited by Qaxl; 11-21-2012 at 06:21 AM.
- 11-21-2012, 06:36 AM #63
I did some more editing after seeing your video.
Main change is to add a Pull Tab on the playlist for easily pulling it up and down, although I still don't have any clue how it would work in landscape mode, tell me what you think.
On a side note... I tried making it border-less like in the video but it didn't look as nice, things sure look different when seen in the app itself, however in my drawings I prefer the look with borders, so i was hoping if its not too much trouble you could try it out with borders too ?
I think I will come up with a comprehensive list of everything I want the app to do and how including small details, and then you can tell me which of those things would be possible for you to do.
Last edited by Qaxl; 11-21-2012 at 07:22 AM.
One other thing i was thinking was that the list you see would be a playlist list and the grey part could have the name of that list. Also you could swipe left or right to view other playlists
- 11-22-2012, 12:28 PM #65
I am not familiar with a "Grid List", but it seems like something that will change the look of the app.
Also while doing dynamic adjustment in landscape mode you will have to consider the seek bar and the Play Pause buttons etc. Seems difficult to achieve, so we could leave landscape mode static, or just sideways sliding so that an extra column of playlist slides in from the left, and the album art and buttons and seekbar etc. all slide out to the left without changing shape.
But i would like to see your solution too.
- 11-22-2012, 02:45 PM #67
In portrait mode, the buttons and the seek bar just move up and down, they don't have to resize or change shape, but if you want to dynamically adjust in landscape mode, i think you will be faced with the problem of having to re-adjust their shapes and places along with Album Art. Also with the songs being in grid layout, im guessing you will have to introduce an image, like thumbnails and that would be something that the portrait mode would not have, so again the difference.
But you are the expert here, I cannot judge it until I see it.
- 11-22-2012, 04:43 PM #69
Until we figure it out, we could keep landscape as static, hopefully the album art and the playlist would be big enough to not have the need to resize.
I will be working on a concept of functionality for the app over the weekend. I understand there are two different menus in the bottom row, one of which opens by pressing button with the 3 dots. I wanted to ask if it is the same as or different from the context menu which appears when you select an item.
- 11-28-2012, 08:11 AM #71
I think I have managed to list everything I want this app to do. I did this at the risk of making it sound too complicated in an attempt to put everything on the table before you in one go, to avoid having feature changes in the middle of development. ( Although I know its highly unlikely to reach the end of development phase without making some changes )
It got quite lengthy so I decided to divide it into 4 parts each in a separate post.
1.) Main Playlist Control
2.) Contextual Menus
3.) Application Settings
4.) Additional Optional Advanced Feature(s) ... (coming soon)
I think the only thing left to see is how the Media Library and the File/Folder selection views are implemented.
Last edited by Qaxl; 11-28-2012 at 08:31 AM.
- 11-28-2012, 08:15 AM #72
These would be the main controls of the App, the most commonly used from these would be displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Open New Playlist
Allows the user to select between starting a New Blank Playlist, or opening a previously Saved Playlist. If any changes have been made to the exsting Playlist, then the user is prompted to allow to Discard or Save Changed to the current Playlist before opening a new one.
Add Music from Media Library
Opens the Media Library to allow the user to select files to add to Playlist. Should allow selecting multiple files.
Add Music from File Manager
Opens the File Manager to allow the user to select files or folders to add to playlist.
Add Playlist from Media Library
Opens the Media Library and defaults to a Playlists View, to allow user to select Playlists to add to the Current Playlist.
Remove Music from Playlist
Takes the user to the Now Playing List in a toned down Multiple Select Mode, to allow the user to select multiple files to remove from the Playlist.
Removes all media from the current Playlist. Shows a warning message before doing so, and shows an "Undo" button as long as the "Back" button is visible
Select Multiple Items
Takes the user to the Now Playing List in a Multiple Select Mode, to allow the user to select multiple items and then apply various changes through a context menu.
Shows various options to re-arrange the media in the Playlist. Sorting would be possible by Track Number, Track Title, Artist Name, Album Name, File Name, Folder Path etc., This can be taken to the next level by adding a second layer of ordering. In that case, the first layer of ordering can be a grouping according to Album Name or Folder Path, and the second layer of ordering could be sorted according to Track Number or File Name.
Search within Playlist
This would bring up the Keyboard, and allow the user to type in and search for a song in the current playlist.
In its most basic form this would create a simple text based list of all the songs in the Playlist and allow the user to share that over BBM, Facebook etc. In an advanced form this could extend to sharing Playlist files in Playlist format over NFC, and BBM to friends who have the same app (still just a concept)
This would show detailed information about the Playlist. Information such as Name of Playlist and the Song List, along with how the Names of songs are displayed in the Playlist would be Editable by the user in this view. This would also be used to remove all songs from the playlist that have been deleted from device memory.
Allows the user to Over-write existing Playlist or to Save-as a New Playlist.
Shows a Warning Message to make sure, then Deletes the current Playlist and Opens a New Blank Playlist
- 11-28-2012, 08:23 AM #73
These controls would be displayed when an item is selected from the playlist using Long Press, or the "Multiple Select" button is pressed. This would cause the Playlist to become editable using the context menus, and the selected items can be made to change positions by dragging similar to how the icons in the OS can be dragged to change position.
Inverts the Selection.
Play (Disabled when more than one item is selected)
Plays the selected item, if that item is already Playing, selecting this option will Play it from the Beginning
Send to Playlist
Allows the user to send the selected items to an existing Playlist, or to create a New Playlist with the selected items.
Remove from Playlist
Removes selected items from the Playlist
Queue after now Playing (Disabled when more than one item is selected)
This could either move the selected items to right after the currently playing song, or it could make the player skip to the selected item after the current song finishes playing.
Move to Top of Playlist
Moves selected items to the Top of the Playlist
Move to Bottom of Playlist
Moves selected items to the Bottom of the Playlist
Add to Top of Playlist
Adds (Duplicates) selected items to the Top of the Playlist
Add to Bottom of Playlist
Adds (Duplicates) selected items to the Bottom of the Playlist
Share (Disabled when more than one item is selected)
In its most basic form it could send the Name of the Song, and some of its information like ID3 tag in a text based format to a friend over BBM or Facebook.
In its advanced form it may be possible to send the first 30 seconds of a song to a friend. (still just a concept)
Allows the user to view detailed information about the selected items, and then edit information such as File Names, and ID3 tag information.
Open containing Folder (Disabled when more than one item is selected)
Opens the File Manager app to the path of the selected file.
Removes the selected files from the Device Memory.
- 11-28-2012, 08:29 AM #74
I didn't know where they should go, maybe in the menu with 3 dots, or the menu which slides down when swiping from the top.
This would open the Medial Library for browsing
Scan Media Library
This would Scan the Media Card and Device Memory for any changes to the Media Files
I got this idea when you mentioned that the Playlist title bar could be used to swipe to the next playlist. I thought maybe it could be possible to view a coverflow type thing through the Application Menu which opens with a top down bezel swipe. So you Swipe down from any view and see some 3 or 5 Playlists in a CoverFlow layout and then scroll to the required playlist.
To switch the Colours of the App
Well ... this could be used for some settings.
Playlist Expand / Retract
As a backup Plan.