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  #1  
Old 05-21-2010, 07:41 AM
David G David G is offline
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V7 UI Impressions

I must echo another poster and say that Sage has completely missed the boat on the UI redesign. It seems they just don't understand UI design at all, and won't hire someone who does. They're all engineers, which is great because the underlying product is a technological marvel, but if they were counting on v7 to bring in new customers that ain't going to happen.

That new coat of paint is gorgeous for sure - love the new theme. But where is the ease of use? So far it seems to control EXACTLY like the previous versions. Worse in some cases. It took me one click to go from the home page to my recordings, now it takes three. WTF? At least they removed that horrible vertical row of option icons that made backing up from a screen take two clicks from the remote (whereas it took one to get in). Now there's an 'option' indicator at the bottom of the screen (mashed up way too close with the sagetv logo) but how you get there with the remote is a mystery. Information display on recordings and media files hasn't been simplified in the slightest, and is still geared towards geeks and technical users.

Arggg. And that's just the first 10 minutes. I'm out of town this week-end but I will try to give meaningful feedback to support asap. Why does everybody think that nice to look at = great UI?

(Please PLEASE don't tell me to install another skin or a plugin or whatnot. I'm talking out of the box experience.)

PS: maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the core user base of Sage is techno users and Sage doesn't want it to expand beyond that, and if that's the case, all that geekery is certainly appropriate. If not, I hope they're ready to listen. (And if you don't believe me, read the announcement for v7 on engadget. "It isn't that we always believe in form over function, not at all. It is just that we're willing to sacrifice a some features for a little eye candy and overall usability." I guess we're halfway there, but trust me no matter the eye candy, if usability isn't at the party, people will leave.)
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:45 AM
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barney B.A. barney B.A. is offline
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Well to each his own.
I personally really like the new interface. I switched from SageMC

I'm no rocket scientist, But I can figure out how to use the Sage interface
So can my wife. It's really not that hard.
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2010, 07:59 AM
David G David G is offline
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Good enough <> good.
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2010, 08:10 AM
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wado1971 wado1971 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
......It took me one click to go from the home page to my recordings, now it takes three.
Just hit the 'ok/select' button from the main TV selection and it goes right to the recorded tv listings. The selections from the main menu now accommodate two functions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
(Please PLEASE don't tell me to install another skin or a plugin or whatnot. I'm talking out of the box experience.)
We'll I won't tell you that but imho the biggest improvement (I hope this is true) that SageTV made to the UI is to improve the developments ability to skin it. If you go back and read all the opinions on 'the best' UI in this forum you'll quickly realize that it would be impossible to satisfy even 30% of the community with a single UI - it's all about preferences. So.... make it easier for this fantastic community to skin it! Read what the beta notes say about xbmc skins.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:23 AM
mr_lore mr_lore is offline
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I agree, the fact that they got 3yr old+ hardware to not only maintain speed but INCREASE the performance and looks in my opinion is amazing. If you dont like the click count it takes to do whatever your doing get off your ass and make a skin with the new tools/xbmc support.
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2010, 08:24 AM
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owilsky owilsky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
It took me one click to go from the home page to my recordings, now it takes three. WTF?
Press OK button on TV instead of right button.

Edit: Upps, wado1971 beat me to it...
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Last edited by owilsky; 05-21-2010 at 08:32 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2010, 08:36 AM
David G David G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_lore View Post
I agree, the fact that they got 3yr old+ hardware to not only maintain speed but INCREASE the performance and looks in my opinion is amazing. If you dont like the click count it takes to do whatever your doing get off your ass and make a skin with the new tools/xbmc support.
Right, because that's exactly the reason I use SageTV. Not to record my tv shows and enjoy my media, but to spend dozens or hundreds of hours learning new tools and coming up with a new UI myself.

Sarcasm aside, yes, I agree (as I said in the first post) that the underlying product is just amazing, and perhaps I should emphasize a bit more that I'm grateful they're still supporting the HD100 and that v7 runs seamlessly on it. That's really amazing.

Independently of all this, the UI redesign is not a redesign. It's just a coat of paint and a spectacularly missed opportunity.
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2010, 08:45 AM
David G David G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1971 View Post
Just hit the 'ok/select' button from the main TV selection and it goes right to the recorded tv listings. The selections from the main menu now accommodate two functions.
How intuitive.
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  #9  
Old 05-21-2010, 08:56 AM
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wado1971 wado1971 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
How intuitive.
Dude, just trying to be helpful.
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:01 AM
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barney B.A. barney B.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
How intuitive.
Just goes to show. Cant please everyone.
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  #11  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:04 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Wow.

Let me try to respond constructively here - please take it that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
But where is the ease of use?
Try the plugin manager for starters. And the UI actually does have some significant usability improvements.

Quote:
So far it seems to control EXACTLY like the previous versions. Worse in some cases. It took me one click to go from the home page to my recordings, now it takes three. WTF?
You can press <enter> from the main menu when the focus is on the "TV" selection. And with that one click you're at your recordings...

Quote:
Now there's an 'option' indicator at the bottom of the screen (mashed up way too close with the sagetv logo) but how you get there with the remote is a mystery.
Hit the "option" button on your remote - that's how I do it at least.

Quote:
Information display on recordings and media files hasn't been simplified in the slightest, and is still geared towards geeks and technical users.
I'm not sure they were going for "simplified" But as you know there will be many other UI skins etc as options to SageTV7 users. And they install with a click of the remote via the new plugin manager.

Quote:
Why does everybody think that nice to look at = great UI?
I don't think "everybody" loves the new UI per se'. But I think the majority consider it an improvement. I personally make a laundry list of items in the UI I don't like or would prefer to see differently - and then that feedback is read by the developers of SageTV as well as the 3rd party developers. And very often those suggestions/comments are taken in to account in the next beta versions or next 3rd party UI versions.

Quote:
(Please PLEASE don't tell me to install another skin or a plugin or whatnot. I'm talking out of the box experience.)
You don't even HAVE to install SageTV7. If you're happy with SageTV6 it still works

Quote:
Maybe the core user base of Sage is techno users and Sage doesn't want it to expand beyond that
The core user base of ALL HTPC software programs is a more technically inclined group. You have to agree with that at least. But I do think SageTV is working their way towards being more user-friendly even to the non technology enthusiasts.

Quote:
I guess we're halfway there, but trust me no matter the eye candy, if usability isn't at the party, people will leave.)
I agree that usability is important. But I personally see SageTV7 as a major step in that direction too. I don't expect everyone to agree with me though.

Last edited by Brent; 05-21-2010 at 09:17 AM.
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:14 AM
David G David G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1971 View Post
Dude, just trying to be helpful.
That wasn't a jab at you. UI-wise, having a field do two different things depending on the button you hit on the remote is just a big no-no. It's just bad design.
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  #13  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:20 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
UI-wise, having a field do two different things depending on the button you hit on the remote is just a big no-no. It's just bad design.
Tell that to Apple - the usability failures that they are

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Just thought a little perspective would be helpful. We could talk about the iPhone, Apple TV remote (which has how many buttons), TiVo etc. All of them have multi-functional menu items and multi-functional remote buttons depending on the use and screen up at the time.

Last edited by Brent; 05-21-2010 at 09:25 AM.
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  #14  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:21 AM
David G David G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barney B.A. View Post
Just goes to show. Cant please everyone.
Right. I'm sure there are people out there who prefer windows mobile to the iphone os.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:25 AM
David G David G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent View Post
Tell that to Apple - the usability failures that they are
Not sure I follow. Are you comparing the iPhone to a 10 foot interface with remote?
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  #16  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:27 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
Not sure I follow. Are you comparing the iPhone to a 10 foot interface with remote?
You said usability right? Same premise. And not just iPhone - AppleTV, iPad etc. Throw in the TiVO, Microsoft MediaCenter, My Time Warner Cable DVR.
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  #17  
Old 05-21-2010, 09:40 AM
Yalbik Yalbik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
That wasn't a jab at you. UI-wise, having a field do two different things depending on the button you hit on the remote is just a big no-no. It's just bad design.
So you've never right-clicked on anything in Windows?

That being said, I agree with many of your comments (other thread) regarding the program guide. It's a crazy busy screen with some obscure icons that don't make it any easier to use. As well, it appears they haven't updated (yet) some of their icons/colors to match the new theme.

I'd also prefer if their base UI favored simplicity over features. I believe power users are always willing to tweak to get the stuff they want. Basic users may be scared off from an interface they find too confusing.

All-in-all, it looks like a great improvement, and I'll be more than happy to fork over $40 for it. I just wish it had the stuff I wanted (multiple user profiles for V8 please!)
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  #18  
Old 05-21-2010, 10:03 AM
kingwr kingwr is offline
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Another perspective:

Windows 7 Media Center is clearly superior UI design, even to the new SageTV 7. Microsoft is really good at that aspect of it, and put a lot of time into it as well as the MCML engine behind it. BUT, there are some things about it I don't like, and I can't change them (easily, in some cases, not at all, in others). This is more frustrating to me than a bad, out-of-the-box UI. At least with SageTV, I have tremendous (and supported) ability to customize the UI to my needs. There is a lot of value in that.

Now, if it only supported CableCard...
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  #19  
Old 05-21-2010, 10:26 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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I'm posting this not to be combative, but to elicit more detailed responses as I'm not getting some of these things...


Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
Information display on recordings and media files hasn't been simplified in the slightest, and is still geared towards geeks and technical users.
First, what would removing info gain us? How does extra information negatively affect the usage on the detailed info view?

Second, I wouldn't expect most people to even go to that screen. I never go to the detailed info menu unless I'm trying to figure out something technical about the item. 99% of the time I just hit play on the list and it plays, never see the info screen.

Quote:
Why does everybody think that nice to look at = great UI?
I agree with your sentiments there, but I'm just not following what the problems were with either the old or new UI in regard to usability. I mean I preferred the Sage 6 UI to WMC in terms of usability. IMO it's worse to oversimplify than it is to provide too many options. I hate iTunes becuase it's way too simplified. I much prefer JRMC which as 100 times the options.

Quote:
PS: maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the core user base of Sage is techno users and Sage doesn't want it to expand beyond that, and if that's the case, all that geekery is certainly appropriate.
As Brent said, Sage, as any PC based media solution, is by definition geared toward techno/power users. The only way you get to looking at PCs for this sort of stuff is if the super-simple (limited) CE devices don't cut it for you.

Quote:
If not, I hope they're ready to listen. (And if you don't believe me, read the announcement for v7 on engadget. "It isn't that we always believe in form over function, not at all. It is just that we're willing to sacrifice a some features for a little eye candy and overall usability." I guess we're halfway there, but trust me no matter the eye candy, if usability isn't at the party, people will leave.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yalbik View Post
That being said, I agree with many of your comments (other thread) regarding the program guide. It's a crazy busy screen with some obscure icons that don't make it any easier to use.
I really don't follow this. What do you get rid of in the guide? I mean it's pretty much got to be a grid of programs. That's 2/3 of the screen on the guide.

The other 3rd is some context sensitive info about the highlighted program, and a picture/preview. What should go? Moxi's guide is perhaps "simpler" but IMO it's nowhere near as usable.

Quote:
I'd also prefer if their base UI favored simplicity over features. I believe power users are always willing to tweak to get the stuff they want. Basic users may be scared off from an interface they find too confusing.
But the whole reason you go to Sage is because of it's power. If you're happy with basic, you'll probably be using your cable companies DVR or WMC.

And for the main menu select-vs-right thing, I'm sure they'd love to hear any good ideas you've got about how to make that clear and work better. I've not been able to figure out anything.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:35 AM
bastafidli bastafidli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G View Post
That new coat of paint is gorgeous for sure - love the new theme. But where is the ease of use? So far it seems to control EXACTLY like the previous versions. Worse in some cases.
This is 100% applicable to Music portion. I don't see any usability improvements so far, but have already suggested some in separate thread.
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