Media player design

While the main structure of the Media application is good in my opinion, there are some odd design choices and minor annoyances I’d like to point out.

The good parts

First of all, the things I like about the music player so it doesn’t seem like I think of the the media player is an abomination:

  1. I like having quick access to your recently played played playlists on the main pages, while also having a quick option to go to all of your playlists, artists and albums
  2. Play/pause, next, previous and seek is always available when playing a song
  3. An shuffle all option
  4. It has all the basic features you’d expect from a music player

The ‘could be better’ parts

Next, I’d like to share some of the annoyances I encountered and suggestions to resolve them:

  1. As an improvement on things I like #1: it would be nice if the recently played albums display underneath the album section and maybe the same for the artists.
  2. It would be nice if the player album overview displayed some form of divider at each disc when an album consists of multiple discs. For me it acts as a landmark when I’m browsing a large album, it helps me to where I need to scroll if I want to play a certain song.
  3. The duration isn’t that important to me to displayed in lists with songs. In my opinion could be shrunk to the size of the artist and moved to the right side. I honestly think of it a weird design quirk that somehow was left in. Personally, I’d much rather have the song number displayed (somewhat smaller) in that place instead in an album overview, or the album art in a playlist or otherwise a list with songs from different albums.
  4. Sometimes album art will show on the album , sometimes it won’t and I have no idea when it will or when it won’t. Adding a “cover.jpg” in the folder containing the album will usually work, but not always. It seems to ignore ignore album art embedded in a file as the image for the entire album (like the album image displayed in the “Extra options/album art” picture), but it will show it on the cover.
  5. A quick scroll bar, like the one the People application has where you can quickly scroll to a certain contact starting with a letter.
  6. Songs can only be added by playing them, swiping up and pressing the plus if no playlist has been made yet or only non-editable playlists are available (haven’t figured out which was the cause yet). It would be nice if in this case the menu that appears when long-pressing a song has the option to add it to a playlist.
  7. Playlists cannot easily be renamed. I expected to find a rename option either in the pulley menu of an playlist or as a menu option when long pressing on one, but I cannot find it.
  8. The way to open the play queue from the pulley menu is not intuitive in my opinion and it seems like an afterthought somehow to put it in there. I would’ve put it as an icon in the extra options you get when swiping up the now playing bar as it feels more related to what’s playing now than to whatever album you’re browsing. An additional place where it could be added is on the initial page, since it would be more visible in that place.
  9. It would be nice if an album or playlist would have a different colour when a song is played from one of those collections

A screenshot for some context for people who haven’t used the application (in a while):

Which suggestions do you agree with (I want an excuse to test out polls :slight_smile: )?

  • Display recently played albums/artists.
  • Separators if albums has multiple discs
  • Lesser prominent duration in song list
  • Somehow be more consistent with displaying album art
  • Long-press “add to playlist” option for songs if no editable playlist have been made yet
  • Quick scroll bar like the People app
  • Rename playlist option
  • Move the play queue from the pulley menu into the extra options and/or initial page
  • Highlight currently playing playlist/album

0 voters

Feature suggestions

And lastly, some feature suggestions. Since they don’t really need a long explanation or elaboration, I’ll tuck them directly into a poll:

  • Gapless playback
  • ReplayGain support (normalising volume levels between albums)
  • A sleep timer
  • Displaying lyrics embedded in songs

0 voters

Finally

If anyone has some more suggestions, feel free to leave a reply and I shall add them. The media player doesn’t have to be an application with an interface as complex and as feature rich as QuasarMX for example, but right now it misses certain slightly-above-basic features and has some design quirks that make it not suitable as my go-to music player for me.

3 Likes

Another quirk the media player has is ignoring the album artist. Take for example Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (metadata on MusicBrainz), which has some songs featuring other artists. The artist tag is not the same for each of the tracks in my case, since they include the featured artists, while the album artist tag is set to “Daft Punk” for each track. When browsing the available albums, the artist shows up as “various artists” (roughly translated from Dutch), while “Daft Punk” is what I’d expect.

Coincidentally the music player seems to ignore each of the “cover.jpg” files inside the albums made by “various artists”, while it seems to pick up those in albums made by a single person for some reason. But this could be a coincidence.

1 Like

You could also try Unplayer, it’s similar in design but better: https://openrepos.net/content/equeim/unplayer

As for the artist/album artist: personally I think it makes more sense to have the featuring artist(s) in the song title, rather than the artist tag, but you should also be able to add multiple artist tags, so instead of

artist:Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas
albumartist:Daft Punk

You’d have

artist:Daft Punk
artist:Julian Casablancas
albumartist:Daft Punk

I think that makes the albums show up the way you want them to.

1 Like

More a general thing affecting all music players: Native support for more Audio Codecs out of the Box. Apple Lossless (Alac) is the one I miss most, especially since its installag the gstreamer packages from openrepos don’t solve that any longer since Rokua…

It would be nice if the media player supported streaming from LAN sources like FTP, samba, upnp, http etc.

4 Likes

Another feature I like in Flowplayer is the ability to download automatically artist images and display them in a grid view. I would love to see it in media player as well.

2 Likes