Several Thoughts on Userfriendliness
Hi, as I haven't seen a thread about this before, I thought I might bring this up.

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):

    1. Show info about recommended formatting and link to the wiki for alternative ones
    2. Giving the option to add one folder for each type of media
    3. Allow setting the default scraper for each type of media (maybe from the top-5 downloaded scrapers in the repo)
    4. 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)

  • Source Management

    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 Big Grin
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),


You make some good points. I will point you to this thread so you know someone is supportive. I did this for Simplicity a while back.
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igotdvds Wrote:You make some good points. I will point you to this thread so you know someone is supportive. I did this for Simplicity a while back.

Very nice, thank you for posting this. That is pretty much exactly what I thought of about the short introduction part.
Great ideas. I've been wracking my brain trying to think of ideas to make XBMC easier and more acceptable to outsiders. You've covered some things that have been bothering me quite nicely. Well done.
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Funny.. I wrote something like this yesterday.. I agree
Indeed good points but someone has to do the coding.
As for point 4. This has to start with Confluence because this is the first skin new users will see. so they need to get familiar with that skin before jumping to others. Aeon MQ2/3 also have an first setup guide.

No offense to anyone but this is from my own experience in daily life:
But i'm sorry to say that most people are just gready and stupid. They see something they like and just start klicking and installing until it breaks down. For example we all see these post "I am new to XBMC and want ...." We all know a bunch of them in our own environment. I am one of those but i am fortunate that i can fix it and learn from it. Most people don't even read manuals.

I agree that the wiki is far from obvious for noobs as it was written by techies. There are tutorials but not all complete are just cover the basis. This is why the forum is littered with the most basis questions which in their turn cover-up the more specific questions.

I wont mind to make a getting started but i'm afraid that most can't find it. Best way would be to force new users to follow a step through. For more experienced users of course a skip button.
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In my opinion a modern media software should not have a Files Mode. This is a common way to look at the stored data on your pc and you have more information in it than you really need. you have a tree structure, you know the path of you active folder, parentfolder, you can immediately see what's in your active folder and probably much more.

But when I want to watch a movie or listen to music all these infos are unnecessary. All I know is that I want to watch a movie and that's why I want to go to one place (Media Library) and pic out a movie or music CD by using a filter or something else. Everthing else is irrelevant. In this moment I don't need to know the place this file is stored or what else the folder contains. I only want to enjoy the movie.

Now the duty of xbmc should be to hide all this technical stuff and to showcase your media in a lovely way.

|..\ H:./..|

by using the file mode of xbmc you will always have two different "going back" functions. one is used to navigate thru the skin and other to walk thru your folder tree.
this is also very confusing.
There should be an option for LIRC custom Keymappings in the XBMC Settings page for configuring custom remotes like setting custom keymaps in many PC GAMES. It takes time in configuring the remotes and adding the keymaps to the XML files manually. XBMC lacks this wonderful option Laugh Big Grin
m041633n Wrote:There should be an option for LIRC custom Keymappings in the XBMC Settings page for configuring custom remotes like setting custom keymaps in many PC GAMES. It takes time in configuring the remotes and adding the keymaps to the XML files manually. XBMC lacks this wonderful option Laugh Big Grin

A useless option for platforms that don't use LIRC Smile
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Perhaps there should be a wizard that sets up the user's libraries/media nodes first run. Something simple like, "Where is the folder that contains your videos?" after selecting the folder, XBMC scrapes it and adds it, then moves to music, etc.

Would have helped me out a lot.
yeah I wizard like function would of been great. I set up my brothers xbmc (atv2) and he just doesnt understand the file mode and library mode. He doesnt understand how to first setup a source and then scan the movies and gets frustrated since it is not obvious (or to him).

I love xbmc but it did take me ALOT of reading and asking questions to get familiar. I am also still learning how to do things.
ATV1 with crystalbuntu (12.2 frodo) as main theater. Theater remote URC MX-810, droidx with xbmc remote, or transformer tf101 with YATSE. 3 x ATV2 (V12.2 frodo).

This is a fantastic suggestion. Managing sources from a single place is way more intuitive. I still don't now what the video node is for.

I don't really see the point in having a non-library view.
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