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I would like to suggest that ,while it is very important to make it so current users feel comfortable using it, usability needs to be of utmost priority. To accomplish this I would suggest a single layer system. I will post a suggestion screen shot later but it needs to have the ability to interrupt any presentation and either edit the song or put pictures up without changing the background. Also a good picture handling capability is also a must.
It needs the ability to run totally linear presentations (that can be controlled by remote) and be interrupted at any time by the computer operator to alter the presentation or post scripture.
I am not trying to dictate what features you put in but I do have a strong opinion as our computer operator at our church has tryed hundreds of demos and the only one that had acceptable performance and usibillity in these areas cost's $3000+.
I will try to learn to code when you pick the language. I've always wanted to learn programming:-)
You are right that usability needs to be of utmost priority.
Thanks for your post. User comments are also very important. I thing especially in the area of usability. Developers are sometimes seeing things different.
Feel free to dictate any feature you like. With more information we can better decide in creating the application.
- What all do you mean in word remote? Does it mean only that you can go on next slide by clicking on a device having in your hand? Or do you mean even some networking that presentation on one computer can be controlled by the second computer?
- May I in the future contact you regarding some testing or evaluation as "user representative"?
- Can you publish the name of applications for $3000+? The sum $3000 is really very high. It equals 4 month's average salaries.
Regarding programming language I don't suppose the choice for python will change. Maybe some parts will use any compiled language. I think you can begin to learn python.
By Remote I ment a clicker that a person could hold in their hand. The idea of a remote control via network should be researched though. If some tangable advantage would be the result of that feature than it too should be implemented.
Sure I would be happy to do any testing or evaluation you need.
I will ask what the name of the program was. I know it was a pro brodcast software made for live brodcast. (isn't tha t basicly what we all want to do? Just usually without the video feed and "brodcasting" just to a projector?)
Do you have any experiences with remote controls? This area is very hardware and operating system(OS) specific. I'm unlikely there is a multi-OS programming library handling various remote controls. Remote controls should behave for the changingsong like a normal mouse. Otherwise I don't know to handle support for remote control.
I created a separate thread for remote control via network:
I think the type of remote that should be targeted should be programmable remotes that have their buttons tied into keyboard keys. If the main functions for the timeline/schedule like next and previous slide and next and previous item (be it a song, video or picture). That way the user can configure the program to accept the inputs their remotes are set up to use. Our church uses a simple two button remote so as not to confuse the operator. More advanced features could be utilized with a remote with more buttons. The person would just have to assign, if not already assigned, the keys on the remote to keys or key combinations on the keyboard in the OS than go into open song and assign functions to those key shortcuts.
Do you mean by this that changingsong should support assignment custom keyboard shortcuts to changingsong's action and you should be able to map actions to keys on remote controll? But the operating system takes care of remote controll and the OS only say to applications that apps can use more keys for controlling?
Am I understanding this well?
Yes custom keyboard shortcuts allow for customizations that allow users to compensate for unique issues in their hardware configuration.
Here is what I have come up with for the main page. I feel outstanding usability can only be achieved by having all the main functions and dialogs as close as possible integrated into the main page.
This is my first time using qt designer so I probably used the wrong types of objects. You will have to correct my mistakes. I think it gets across the idea though.
In the song search window I tried to include suggestions I have read on this forum. It has a are a for limiting the author and genre. Those categories could be changed if need be. The live check box is to make it so the song would go directly to being presented instead of just being opened in the song window. I probably should have put some way to go live with what is in the editing field but that is one of many things that will need to be refined.
The scripture search window is integrated into the main window but I made a separate file to show how it should look. A friend suggested having a menu style text selection. You can find an example of that in the bible search.ui file. Put it in preview mode and try it out. I only added a few verses in Psalms and Matthew that have all the verses in their chapters for times sake but it should give the idea. I think a combination of menu and chapter text auto complete search would be the most usable. I have never used a menus system for displaying verses but I am told that it is the fastest interface method. For those who don't like the menu way a auto complete search field like what I tried to represent should suffice. For this method people would start typing the book and after a few letters the computer would find the closest book (eg. mat should work for matthew) the user than would hit the space bar and type the chapter hit the space bar and type the first verse and optionally type the last verse in a series. After hitting enter it would be opened in the text area (the same as the song edit window)and the user could present it. If the speaker did not stop at the end of the verse than the user could select the next verse and have it displayed in addition to the first if there was enough space. The user could set the maximum number of verses to display.
The Media Tray would be a place for pictures video or .ppt files to be dragged and dropped. They could be than drug over to the schedule to be displayed or put in line for display. The live time line would display the verses of a song in order or .ppt slides or pictures that could be clicked on to display out of order. A remote could be used to display in order or the arrow keys of the keyboard could be used also (key assignments should be user assignable).
The boxes above the schedule in the top right hand corner are for switching video inputs for overlaying content over live video feeds.
The boxes in the bottom right hand corner would be for monitoring what was being displayed on the screen. In order from right to left they could be musical score (lead sheet or hymn sheet), chord sheet, and lyric/picture screen (typically a projector). These could be configured with their position, and content.
Also it would be nice to have the ability to restrict the text to a certain part of the background either for a certain part of the presentation or for a single background.
I know these are a lot of features and I think the user interface should be set up with non functional items representing where future features will reside.
Functions that are in the current open song should have the first priority.
I hope this isn't to much info
Hi Zach, thanks for your brainstorming.
I'm not yet familiar with Qt and qt designer. I hope this will change in a few months. So I'm not able to correct your mistakes :)
May be celsowm is able.
I will need more time to study your layout and read carefully your post.
But this is my first comment:
I think there are too much functionality in one window. It looks like some proprietary presentation tools. I saw screenshots of some proprietary presentation tools and OpenSong is really much easier to use. From my point of view it is a bit confusing for a new user. I think this is not the right way to go.
I would like to see you cooperating with celsown about gui design. Graphic and gui design is not my strong characteristic.
Custom keyboard shortcuts - To discuss this topic please move to this separate thread:
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I do admit that it has a bit much clutter at the moment. I think the clutter can be fixed without changing much of the functionality. Pop up dialog boxes can be utilized but it doesn't seem to be very efficient to have to close one window to interrupt a presentation with say a scripture than have to re open that presentation to resume. I don't see the problem with it looking a bit like proprietary presentation software. Having used some of them there are features some have that are easier to use than open song. On the other hand there are features of open song that are easier to use. I think that if all of those features are pulled together than it will have the best outcome. I really want to make it look less confusing to the new user and I think that can be accomplished with a similar layout after much refinement. I just wanted to get something up for you guys to review. I would love to work with celsown on the gui!! I love working with graphics and am learning how to apply that to the gui.
In all truth I think the end result should be a combination of the two.
Some of the tabs could be eliminated by having the middle area change entirely for scripture and other objects. I had envisioned the middle area with tabs to just be a editing area for what ever was open. I was not sure exactly how to do this so I just put everything in tabs.
I want the program to not be intimidating to new users but to also have everything very accessible to the experienced user. If we have to sacrifice some simplicity for speed of execution and functionality than some training videos could be made. However I think someone should be able to learn how to use the basics of program within 10-20 min.
I will work on cleaning it up and making it look more simple.
Could you please keep in mind that I would like to see changingsong being modular application? So gui should be able to compose from separated modules too?
What I had envisioned was having modules that would be rendered on the same screen. Each section could be a window embedded in the main window. Thanks for reminding me of that. I will try to figure out how to do that.
What Modules should it be broken up into? Should it be search, edit, present type modules or are you thinking about something more specific like separate song search, scripture search, picture handling, item editing, .....
I will do some thinking about it.
I'm not sure with it yet because now it's still the time to let people speak about what they want to see in changingsong.
But some my ideas are something like this:
- scriptures manager
- code editor
- remote control over network
- media playback
Very good! I have enjoyed your brainstorm
I will implement the necessary changes
I will continue seeing other softwares like opensong to take new ideas
PS: I liked the search biblical, like ILUMINA
A possible solution to the multi task gui.
Something like this:
What you are calling a multi task gui is basically a fancy tab screen in functionality. It also takes more screen area. I think something like that would be good if we can find a use for it where nothing else does the job as well. I think all items in the gui should be selected based on their being best suited to the job.
I would like to see a multi perpose area where you can open items like a song, .ppt, .odp, or scripture and edit it. I would also like to see all windows and menus that are used for presentation or editing to be on the same level so one can switch between one and the other without closing them.
Multi task gui is useful for impelemnting incremental find. You should be able to run presentation on the 2nd screen and simultaneous be able to find a song.
I also like to think about a good user interface for worship programs. I do not yet know what the ideal user interface would be and so I am flexible. But I think I could bring in some ideas from SongBeamer (which our presentation team uses currently).
I would like to encourage everybody who contributes to the ChangingSong user interface to really test other software to feel the experience of the user interface. I don't think a single screenshot does the job.
For now I just want to agree with matysek03 on the modular user interface. I really like the way Inkscape 0.46 (http://www.inkscape.org/screenshots/index.php?lang=en) manages all the dialogs needed. OK, Inkscape has nothing to do with ChangingSong, and it's a GTK+ application. But the user can specify were and if he wants to see the different dialogs.
I don't think it is good when the user can change everything in the user interface. This would be too confusing. But maybe there will be one area of the user inteface which is assigned to modular components. And this part of the user interface should be different for different presentation types. For example there could be some control elements and markers for a video but a slide order for lyrics.
Thanks for your point. I added inkscape to our list of apps where to go for inspiration.
ILUMINA is a good software to our inspiration:
But, i know it is not same purpose of the chsong
http://picasaweb.google.com.br/celsowm/Screenshots/photo#5185479439514908482 : bible screen of ilumina. Look the search function in tool bar.
http://picasaweb.google.com.br/celsowm/Screenshots/photo#5185479508234385250 : look for the menu pop-up with books and chapters
http://picasaweb.google.com.br/celsowm/Screenshots/photo#5185479469579679570 : translations menu
and...the phase-of-construction brainstorm 3: http://picasaweb.google.com.br/celsowm/Screenshots/photo#5185491547027715954
Your 3rd brainstorm looks clean and promising to me.
When design a GUI don't forget that most users will use ChangingSong on a notebook which means that it has to be usable with a resolution of 1280x800 or 1024x768.
A lot of userinterface are designed for higher resolutions :-(
Keep the GUI as simple as possible. (IMHO functionality must not beat usability).