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Poweramp version 3 makeover: comments on usability

Note: this post is also linked on the Poweramp forums in the hope that Max will find this feedback useful here: https://forum.powerampapp.com/topic/11848-poweramp-build-793-review-and-thoughs/.

I believe the makeover is really beautiful, and the animations are creamy smooth.
Rounded corners everywhere babyyy!
And gosh, those animations really feel nice.

After the loooooong long long rework, I want to buy this app again. It’s that beautiful.

Yes. It is.

I will not be touching functionality bugs, as this is the first beta and i don’t expect everything to run as smooth as the animations. As usual with high quality software – bugs will be squashed.

I do, however, have some things which i find odd from a UX (functionality) perspective, which i want to present now. I hope that at least some of them could be further discussed/implemented and that I explained my reasoning thoroughly.

I will start by saying how i use Poweramp. I generally copy a few thousand untagged/unrated
songs on my phone from my pc, then slowly rate the ones i like and delete the ones i don’t like. When all the songs on my phone are rated, i know that i can copy/synchronize the music back to my computer, and then replace it with a new batch.
For my usecase i don’t need complete tags, and only minimal filtering, but i do need the ability to quickly find which songs were already listened to (in poweramp 2 i used seeing the rating in the all songs list).

Terminology

Some notes about the terms I will use.

  • main screen: refers to the normal music payback screen with the seek bar, the play pause button and the big artwork

  • the list: refers to the currently playing list or the list I am seeing now.
    eg.: I have a queue active but since I am browsing artist/album or all music the list is artist/album/all music respectively.

  • swipe/scroll: these terms are used interchangeably: swipe up is synonymous with scrolling down, and has the purpose of moving things on the screen from bottom towards the top of the screen (like a normal mouse scroll).

If there are things which were mistakenly used or have a proper name, please tell me and I will correct ASAP.

Main screen

Main screen tap should not go to the list

Tapping the main screen artwork should not send me to the list, but should just fade out fade in the controls (or even do nothing).

This tapping is really frustrating because when i generally tap, i do it in order to prepare for something: eg. to long-press the artwork, or just to check the artist. It’s just a redundant action.
It is also disturbing when visualization is on with fade controls activated: i am being taken to the list, even though i just want to see the buttons and the text on the screen. In this case i really want the fade in/out to happen, and not be sent to the list.

Going to the should be done with a swipe up gesture

Currently the motion to go to current list is swipe down. I believe swipe up would be a more natural movement for this action.

I find my proposal more intuitive as generally when I enter the list, i want to see what’s next – and next is in the down direction using swipe up.

By swiping down to go to list then swiping up to check next things I am being forced to think “just a bit too much” because i have to execute 2 opposite motions.
My rationale is that 2 quick movements in the same direction (up up) are much simpler to do than 2 movements in different directions.

Main screen zoom is broken:

If I touch the artwork and the seek bar and try to zoom out to go to list the seek position is changed.
I am not sure if this motion is desired for going to the list (i believe it is not as it is a bit unintuitive), but right now it feels buggy that i have to pay attention to only place my fingers on the artwork.

Song number/total songs selected

There should be a song currently playing out of total number selected.
eg. 36/1297 which denotes that in the current ordering i am at the 36th song out of the 1297 songs i selected.
I use selected as i could only use part of my library (eg. only 1 folder/artist/new songs/etc.) in the current queue/list.
Maybe it can be shown on the artwork, to the left of the 3 dot menu?
Or maybe it could be shown in the current song details and format metadata in the low part of main screen (where you can switch between song details, output details, current playlist, next song, current folder)

The list

Unintuitive way to go back to main screen when swiping

In the song list: it is unintuitive what swiping right and left do, and how can I return to main screen.

Currently from the list i have to swipe in any direction once to go to Library and once more – again in any direction – to go to main screen.

This means that if i tap by mistake the main screen while listening to music, i have to make 2 different swipes to left or right to return to the main screen.

  • From main screen swipe up to go to current list
  • From current list
    • swipe right to go to library. This action is what i imagine as “go back”
    • swipe left to go forward to the main screen.
  • From library
    • swipe right to go back to main screen
    • swipe left to go to the list. If there is no list to return to (no idea when this happens) then return to main screen or maybe to all songs.

I hope this image will explain things a little bit better:

untitled

There is no currently playing song indicator

There should be an indicator of the currently paying song.

Eg: when I have a queue active, but I am in all songs list, i cannot simply reach/distinguish the currently playing song and delete it, because there is no visual indicator.
I have to really read all the names and find my song.

Like/dislike status should be displayed

The like/dislike status (just show 1 icon either the thumb up or down, not both) or even better, the 5 start rating (like in Poweramp 2!) should be shown for each song

Tapping the current song should not restart its playback

When i just tap the currently playing song in any list, I expect just to be taken back to the main screen instead of having the song also start from the beginning.

It is too difficult to tap the song at the bottom of the screen, since that special area is too small and i can easily press the buttons below it (library, equalizer, search, settings).

General

Some buttons could be hidden

The equalizer button is not that useful to have it always have on the bottom bar. It mostly just occupies space.
I generally set the eq once and leave it like that, and now it is just occupying space for nothing.

All the “3 dots” menu buttons could be hidden under the main hamburger menu button at bottom right. This would make that button have dynamic content, but it would be more intuitive to only have a single “menu” instead of multiple.

This feels like a problem especially for lists, since those only have their specific options button only at the top, and its bothersome to move to the top of the list (and hence lose current scroll position) just to change some particular setting.

Please bring back the :star2: :star2: :star2: :star2: :star2: rating system

The 5 star rating system should be brought back. I think it is way much more helpful and power ful than the like/dislike we currently have.
There is almost no point in storing a I dislike this song song, since i will either delete the song from my phone (which contains my music) or not copy the song in the first place (why would it occupy space?).

This is how i use the star rating system:

0: Haven’t listened yet
1: Undecided, maybe i will delete
2-3: Songs i like
4-5: Songs i really like. The good ones. a single like is not enough to show how good they are.

Some views/modals should not scroll

The song details (long press on artwork) and the list options menus should be taller, so that we don’t need to scroll them. There is enough vertical space for this (at least in a fullHD screen and higher).

“Go to main screen” modal at the bottom is too small

It is a bit too difficult to press the song name to return to main screen right now, since that part of the modal is too small. It also happens quite often that i hit one of the buttons below it (library, equalizer, search, hamburger menu).