SearchLite UI Refresh
Hi, everyone. Martin and I have had a few back and forth discussions about updating the SearchLite UI. I've included my suggestions below.
We're getting into the realm of software style guides - if your familiar with those. What I recommend as we embark on this project is that we keep feature requests out of the UI refresh discussion. After we get it where we want, then (IMHO) feature requests would be fine.
Let me sidebar a bit...
Since the 1940s, we have thought about TV shows in terms of the "TV Guide". If we wanted to watch, "The Mickey Mouse Club", we would schedule our day around when the show was broadcast. We don't think about television that way anymore (except for sports). We want to watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it. The advantage here is that whatever we can find, we can record and watch it when we want to. If we like certain kinds of shows, computers can recommend other shows we might like.
SearchLite exposes the power of NextPVR to accomplish what we want with the new way we watch TV. Searching by Genre, Actor, Title and other ways, enables us to discover television. In my opinion, this is the most important PlugIn a person can install for NextPVR. (Makes you want to cry, doesn't it.) With this in mind, I offer the following suggestions as how it can be optimized. Let's begin.
From a style guide perspective...
Usability should be the same across Plug-Ins. Meaning, they should have the same look and feel. Keyboard commands and remote commands should do the same thing regardless of what plug-in the user is using. The visual appearance of plug-ins should be the "same" as much as programming allows.
1. Recording Screen
The recording screen (screenshot attached) is an example of something that is the "same" in the TV Guide, Recordings and default Search module.
I've attached a screenshot of the SearchLite Recordings. It's similar. My first recommendation is to make it "more similar".
I'd like to see the same options that are in the standard Recording screen: Close, Quick Record, Record, Find All, & Watch. The SearchLite screen has Save NEWA & Theme. A new user isn't going to know what NEWA is. Although it does save my search, I don't think this is the right place to save a search. Theme didn't work for me. I can only guess that Theme would pull up similar genres. I would recommend getting rid of Save NEWA & Theme and replace it with "Find Similar". (Saving searches should go elsewhere - more about that later.) Find Similar would go underneath Find All. When the user clicks Find Similar, it would close the recording screen and pull up a search in the Genre window (more about that later) with Genre's that match the show.
I noticed that when I pulled up the episode in SearchLite, it shows the generic show information rather than the episode information. Also, the channel number is different. The date/time line is different and no Genre is mentioned. I also noticed that the left/right arrows don't do anything. I'm guessing this is because different information is being pulled from the show. Also, the box art isn't downloaded automatically like it is in the main application.
2. Search on Genre, Title, Cast, etc.
In the recordings screen, most work is done in the main window. The functions at the top of the window: sort, filter, man-rec, keyword & forget are higher function settings. These are used less frequently so they are put out of the way.
When I open the recording window, I can scroll from right to left and I'm shown the following windows: "Ready Recordings, What's New, Pending Recordings, Recurring Recordings & Conflicts".
In SearchLite, the top window has the following options, "Keyboard, Recall, Type, Sort, Genre & Auto." Instead, I'd like these features moved. (This is where it get's fuzzy and we'll just have to play around a bit to see how it looks.) SearchLite would have a window that looks the same as the Recording Window. When I scroll left/right I would see "Title, Genre, Description, Cast, Description, Keyword & Saved Searches." The challenge here is how to expose the powerful features of NEWA to a 10 foot interface. The usability choice might be to not have all the search features in SearchLite but have the Saved Searches exposed in SearchLite.
When I click on a Saved Search, a window pops up with the following options: "Close, Auto Record, Delete & Run." The window is mostly blank. I think it makes sense for the left/right arrows to scroll between saved searches. The window should show the search logic in some presentable manner. I'd also like to perhaps see box art of one of the shows that would qualify in the saved search. Auto Record is an advanced feature (which I still don't quite understand) so instructions might be appropriate to the user so they don't fill up their hard drive. Or, this feature could be hidden so the user would have to expose it in SearchLite settings.
The Saved Search window could be the place where advanced search options are exposed.
My suggestion for my item 2 is to make the main section function similar to the Recordings screen.
In my mind, the Genre search is the most important item for users to discover new shows. Currently, a batch file needs to be created and setup to expose this functionality. This should be done by default. If we are concerned about overwriting the batch file, the install could prompt the user if they want to overwrite it or indicate to them that this portion of setup was skipped and that they should refer to the documentation.
Second, the install should ask the user if they want to deactivate the default search and enable SearchLite. It should also update the config.xml so SearchLite is in the same place in the menu. I know I can configure the config.xml to put it where I want but this would be a bit cleaner.
So there you have it.
Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts.
Let the fun begin.
Last edited by wayloncovil; 2016-10-26 at 01:38 AM.
Hi, sorry for the delay in getting back to you I was busy with some things for 3.9.2 testing. Now Kodi has made some changes and I can't get to this just yet as I planned In the meantime consider this
- left and right arrows are already used for the quick first letter search kind of like NextPVR's search.
Quick changing is best on rremotes with colour keys or keyboard alternatives. I try to avoid the menu bar
Green Alt-G toggles search to Genre mode Movie and back to text search
Yellow Alt-Y toggles throurgh the search types
Blue Alt-B toggles the sort options
Coming back to this a bit now here is what the Theme button is supposed to do https://youtu.be/q7-_m6nu0sE It will play the theme music of some shows from televisiontunes.com Not the most useful of features, I was playing around one day, but it can be turned off in Searchlite.xml