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Make the home screen "Preferences" menu a global option.

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icculus
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Last seen: 10 years 1 week ago
Joined: 01/27/2013 - 22:40
Make the home screen "Preferences" menu a global option.

I apologize if this has been asked for before, but I did a search and couldn't find anything concerning it.

When in any of the top-level tabs such as Feeds, Playing, Audio, etc., the settings menu has an option for the program's global configuration options labeled "Preferences". However, when viewing an individual feed, this option goes away. So in order to access this menu currently, you have to back out of the feed and go to a top-level tab view. It'd be great if this menu option was always available in the settings tab regardless of what tree-level you're in.

Here's a picture to help make up for any confusion stemming from the text description.

http://i.imgur.com/kRe0fRs.png

Thanks and keep up the awesome work.

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
Yup, makes perfect sense. I

Yup, makes perfect sense. I created an issue for this.

http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=1583

icculus
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Last seen: 10 years 1 week ago
Joined: 01/27/2013 - 22:40
I really appreciate it. I'm

I really appreciate it. I'm generally not one to nitpick user workflow design decisions as there's almost always a reason behind the vast majority of them. That being said, as someone who has used (and adored) your program for an average of 3-4 hours a day since Froyo, I do have a couple more suggestions concerning UI/workflow tweaks.

I think the majority of them stem from adding increased functionality and flexibility overtime. These things seem more like cruft on the edges that just built up organically during DoggCatcher's evolution than conscious design decisions. Are these forums the preferred place to offer suggestions like that or is there somewhere else better suited for it.

In any event, I know that opinions are a dime a dozen. Something I've learned well over the course of running various development projects/campaigns is that you can only spend so much time explaining your reasoning behind decisions before it becomes counterproductive. So take any posts like this that I might make as suggestions or feedback rather than a complaint or demand. In other words, I won't be offended if you say yes or no without bothering to explain yourself. You're a busy man, I get that.

Thanks and keep up the awesome work.

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
I would be happy to hear any

I would be happy to hear any comments or criticism that you have and this is the place for it.

I think you're right about cruft accumulating, and what often happens is that I get used to it and notice how strange it is for people, in particular new users. So in that sense, your feedback is very valuable. Sometimes there are some things that are hard to make better (like playlists) but I'm still taking small steps here and there to make them better.

So please feel free to share your experiences with the app.

icculus
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Last seen: 10 years 1 week ago
Joined: 01/27/2013 - 22:40
Alright, here's a list. A

Alright, here's a list. A quick bug note before I get into this though. The MP3 podcast "Stuff You Should Know" will stop playing the audio randomly. If I'm in DoggCatcher, I can hit play/pause and the UI responds in both the icon change and the seekbar/time readout displaying, but there is no sound and the app is otherwise unresponsive. The only solution to get it working again is to kill DoggCatcher in the system processes and then start the app back up. At which point it will play the episode flawlessly.

Unfortunately, I've never been able to consistently reproduce it and it doesn't happen every episode or even repeatedly in the same place, but it only happens when using the speed modifier. Sometimes it occurs when the app is in the background, sometimes it occurs when the app is in the foreground (being used or sitting idly on the table) and it's a re-occurring issue spanning my original EVO 4G, Samsung Galaxy S2, and my new EVO 4G LTE. The problem manifests itself even before installing any other apps besides DoggCatcher; running rooted or unrooted; and when running stock or custom Sense/Touchwiz roms as well as Cyanogenmod.

I don't know if this happens with any other podcasts as I haven't had this happen on others I've subscribed to. I also don't know if this is specifically a Presto issue or a DoggCatcher one, but the problem does not happen with other audio programs.

Anyways, here are some suggestions. If you have any questions, feel free to ask for clarification.

1: If a user finds DoggCatcher downloading something and he or she wants it to disregard the episode completely. They need to cancel the download and then long press to flag the file as done (and then do another long press to delete the partial download if they don't have the option to auto-delete completed podcasts). It'd be nice to just be able to do the long press once on the file that's downloading and have an option which would simultaneously flag a podcast as done, stop downloading it, and delete the file all in one press. Obviously you'd still want to keep the current system in place as well so people have the option to cancel a download and resume it later.

2: Many podcasts can have long outros that warrant just skipping over and selecting the next one to listen to. If a user has long press enabled and isn't listening to the next item in a playlist, they have to first either long press the next podcast button or long press to pull up the menu and flag it as done before moving on. Failure to skip over doing one of these two things means that the episode won't auto-delete. An option to have a podcast flagged as done if there's 10, 20, 30, 60 seconds left etc. when the focus is moved to another episode/feed would remedy this.

3: The 'Feeds' tab is currently ordered according to when a feed is chronologically added. The ability to reorder feeds would be greatly appreciated. My first instinct would be to suggest some type of drag and drop system, but another possibility might be to have a UI button or preference option which toggles a 'tap to order' mode. In this mode, one would scroll up and down, tapping the feeds in the desired order. When a feed has been tapped, a grey alpha layer would be placed on top of it with a number overlayed on top of that to remind the user which ones have been selected and in what order they are currently placed. If a user makes a mistake or changes their mind about the order, they could deselect one that is already selected and the numbers would adjust accordingly. Upon reselecting the deselected feed, it would be placed in the next slot i.e. If I deselected the third of five feeds currently selected in the list, the fourth would become the third and if I were to select the third one again, it would now be the fifth in that order.

Once the order is finalized, the user would toggle the 'sort mode' off and the list would rearrange to their specifications.

4: An option in the widget to use both rewind and skip ahead alongside the 'jump to next podcast button' would be wonderful. Currently, a user has to choose between the three as play/pause is obviously a more or less required option. If I'm listening and get interrupted, I need to unlock my phone and open up DoggCatcher to be able to rewind or if I use the rewind button, I am unable to skip to the next podcast on the ones with very long outros. Honestly, my ideal solution would be a version of the widget with essentially the full screen app's bottom controller (the seekbar, buttons, autoplay, speed etc.) and then the podcast information on the grid above it in a 4x2, but just adding the option to use all four buttons at once to the current 4x1 widget would sufficient. There's obviously a couple ways to do this, but one option that seems to work well in the cramped space is PowerAMP's approach to their widget. I use the 4x1 without album art, but there is one with it included as well. Here's a screenshot of their 4x1 widgets: http://i.imgur.com/RqeKGrp.jpg

4.5: In the same vein as the item above, the ability to use all four of the basic control buttons in the Android status bar drawer would also be very useful. I noticed that if I pause DoggCatcher, the status notification player goes away instantly so to resume it, I must go back into the DoggCatcher app or activate it again via the widget. I looked around and could not find a way to address this in the preferences, but the option to have it stay alive in the notification drawer for maybe 5 minutes after losing audio focus would prevent users from having to switch focus out of whatever app they're currently in to resume the audio.

In some cases, this can mitigated by telling DoggCatcher to send a notification every time it loses audio focus, but that workaround clutters the already cluttered notification area, requires the phone to lose focus on whichever app it's currently in (just as the original method requires), and it doesn't account for manually pausing the audio since there's no notification for that.

5: It'd be very nice to have the option to long press for the speed multiplier and autoplay buttons in the bottom right of the screen. On larger phones, it's very easy to accidentally activate them with the palm of the hand when hitting the upper left corner of the screen during one-handed operation.

6: The download queue immediately removes files which have been completed. If you were to leave them in there and mark them as completed (to avoid confusion) in a manner similar to how web browsers handle their download list, that would make it very easy to spot at-a-glance which episodes of which podcasts were added.

For someone like me who listens to many different audio and video (in audio mode) podcasts out of chronological order due to the emphasis of timeliness varying feed to feed and even episode to episode, it can be a bit cumbersome to have to go to the Audio and Video tabs; look at the little green dates and the episode list; remember the last time the app had been used; check the subjects of multiple feed's episodes; and figure out if there's a new one which should be 'bumped' up the chain. Avoiding this is easier with some podcasts, but some don't have very descriptively titled episodes (some lack unique episode titles altogether) and their descriptions are the place which provides detail about the episode's subject matter.

My thought would be, as stated above, to keep displaying the downloaded podcast files in the queue, mark them as such, and then leave them there until either A: the podcast has been marked as done or maybe in progress or B: The user hits a 'clear list' button like a browser's file download list.

7: Backup/Restore is a little clunky in the way it's handled. I noticed there was a closed beta for cross-device syncing so this may not be worth addressing if that will fix the issue down the road. Currently, there's no way to create versioned backups without manually moving the old backup out of that folder, renaming it, and then making a newer one. This is compounded by the fact that the restore and backup buttons are very small and right next to each other so it can be easy to accidentally hit the wrong one; overwriting a backup when meaning to restore from it. Likewise, being able to choose restore files from any directory on the phone would be very handy. For instance, my EVO LTE has Jelly Bean so it uses MTP. Because of this, DoggCatcher backs up to the internal storage on the phone since it's viewed as an SD card. I'd like to be able to backup and restore to any folder on the device (preferably my actual SD card) rather than have to always manually move the files back and forth.

8: I saw someone else mention the ability to assign a video feed to always play as audio automatically. I won't say anything more on the subject aside from agreeing that this would be much appreciated.

9: Finally, if you couldn't tell already, I don't really use the playlist/feed categories features as, by their very nature, they require a more rigid and static expectation of desired behavior than I would often prefer. That being said, I feel like those customization aspects are buried a bit too deep or off to the sidelines to be immediately obvious or intuitive. I know you said you're working on these and I have little to offer for the time being on them anyways, but I think the biggest concern I would have would be that they need more visibility and accessibility than their current UI incarnation for a first time user. My suggestion would be to put a "Playlist" tab where there is currently the "Playing" tab and move the "Playing" tab back down to where it had been for a few updates of DoggCatcher a while back: above the media controller as a pull up box. You'd likely want to rename it if moved to something along the lines of "Description", "Episode Information", etc. This would provide two benefits. The first would be to make it immediately apparent to new users that you have a number of playlist and feed aggregating/sorting options along with providing a well defined area to place a few playlist specific option buttons in the top blue bar. The second benefit would be to allow the reading of descriptions for podcasts from anywhere in the program without having to worry about navigating away from whatever other app happens to have focus at the time.

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
1 - Makes perfect sense - I

1 - Makes perfect sense - I created an issue for this - http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=1595

2 - In this case, I normally go to the following episode and select 'play and flag current as done'. Another thing you can do is drag the seekbar to the end. Does this work for your scenario?

3 - You can long press on a feed and then 'move'. It's a little tedious the way it is, so I plan on improving the move mechanism.

4 - Yup, I'll be improving the existing widget, and probably adding a 4x2 as you suggest.
http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=1597
http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=1596

5 - Agreed, that would be helpful - http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=1598

6 - Good idea - http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=1599

7 - I already have it on the todo list to support multiple backups (and possibly automatic). It is a good idea to make this location configurable.

8 - Agreed

9 - I agree that the categories are difficult to discover, I need to move them someplace more prominent either on the feeds or audio tab...probably feeds. I wanted that sliding drawer thing to work out but it is difficult to work with. It has bee be small enough to not take up space when not in use and large enough to hit when you're driving. I think that's why most apps have moved away from them. Maybe something like what google music does where you can press on something in the media button area at the bottom and that expands a view that is focused on what is currently playing.

I appreciate you taking the time to write up all the feedback. It's very useful to hear how the app is perceived by others. It's easy for me to get tunnel vision and not see what others do. Even if some of your comments don't directly make it into issues that get implemented, they say in the back of my mind as I'm making design decisions.

Thanks again.