Context switching while reading metadata

Apologies if this has been discussed. Mostly I’m more than satified with the roon user interface, but there is one thing that manages to bug me nearly every listening session. I’ll be playing an album, click on the cover at the bottom of the album page to access the metadata, and often read the artist biography while listening. nice. with the wikipedia integration, many of these bios are fairly long - several screens worth.

I’ll be reading, having gotten through several screens of the bio… and the track ends and moves on to the next track. poof! my context is gone: the screen switches to show me the picture of the artist again. I have to click back to the bio screen and scroll down, often several screens, to find where I was reading. And if by chance I was listening to a playlist, a track is playing, and I decide to jump to the album and read the artist bio for that track… well, the track ends, I get my metadata screen bumped to the new artist. My reading is interrupted and its a multi-step process to get back to where I was reading.

Imagine that you are sitting in your living room, reading a nice book, and your kid decides its fun to randomly close the book while you are reading.

If I could easily disable and re-enable automatic context switching, I would have the best of both worlds. If there is a way to control this, I haven’t found it.

What system are you using?
Just tried this on my Android phone and reading a bio when the tracks change stays on the bio page.

It does that on the desktop apps when going to the bio by clicking the album cover in the play bar. Annoying, but the solution is to go to the bio in some other way

you are correct in describing what you are seeing, but we are getting to the bio in 2 different ways:

your way on phone: (roughly, using your pics):

  1. start playing album
  2. select the artist, and on the artist page scroll down to read the bio.
  3. when track changes, you remain on the bio page.

my way, on android tablet: (I don’t normally use my phone for roon so unsure if the slightly different phone interface can do this):

  1. start playing album
  2. go to the album page (not the artist page)
  3. on the album page, in the lower left of the queue bar, click on the album. This will bring up the metadata page where you can browse artist image, album cover, album review artist bio and credits.
  4. select the bio
  5. when track changes, you will be sent to the artist image (still on the metadata page)

see pics: pic 1 is the album page. select album cover in lower left (playbar). brings up metadata page
pic 2 is the bio page, selected from metadata page. (note the metadata icons in top right
pic 3 is the artist image, automatically displayed when track changes, even if you are reading the open bio page.
confusing, but hope thats clear. I could directly go to the artist as you did, but I wanted the full album metadata context, which includes the artist bio.

yes, you can access the bio another way, as @ ged_hickman1 suggests. I’d call this a workaround, not a solution.
I’m enjoying the album metadata page, which includes the artist bio. I shouldn’t have to exit to the artist page to get a stable view of the bio. For single artist albums, this seems straightforward. For multiple artist album compilations or playlists, automatic context switching when the track changes makes a bit more sense, since the current artist is likely to change. Still, as a user, if I’m looking at album metadata and get interested in one of the sub-pages, I’d like a choice on whether the system is going to force me out of my current view of interest when the track changes. Others may feel differently.

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I fully understand your frustration, but I’m genuinely curious what you think should happen in the circumstance you describe. Should the music pause and then offer you a choice to continue playing or to finish reading the bio? I think a lot of people would be highly upset if the music stopped for any reason. But again, I’m no designer so I can’t see how to reasonably make this work for you. Maybe you have some ideas.

I recognize its a bit complicated. Certainly no one would suggest interrupting playback. I suspect the metadata updates automatically for the album metadata page but not for artists page because an album you are playing may have multiple artists, and most of the time you want data for the current track. But if I was engrossed in the metadata for a track, perhaps I could pause the automatic update of the metadata: the music continues, but the metadata continues to be from the track/album I’m reading about. This pause control could be done on the upper right of the album metadata page, where the icons for ‘artist pic - album art - album review - artist bio - credits’ currently are. I’d probably suggest a popup to warn the user that autoupdate of metadata was paused, otherwise this could become a burden for support…

that said, I don’t pretend to be a user interface expert. there are perhaps better solutions. I just wanted to point out that the current mode of operation is pretty unfriendly, when a page you are reading is yanked away unceremoniously. I focused on the bio metadata because many of those are long, but whatever your focus, its abruptly lost on track change.

That’s why I said it’s annoying

It’s kinda logical that the artist bio changes while in “Now playing”-sub screen, don’t you think? Not an easy nut to crack…

The “solution” is clicking on the artist name on the Now playing-screen, and reading the bio from there, if you want to finish.

I think Roon’s got it right. The Now Playing screen is not intended for a deep dive. As Mikael says the solution is to go to the artist’s page.

Consider yourself lucky to be listening to artists who have bios available. I listen to a lot of new jazz releases, many by new artists, and more than not there is little or no metadata available. If there is a bio available is it often one or two lines and not several screens worth.

But to the question of context switching, but I have to agree with Suedkiez, go to the artists bio in some other way. at which point the “Now Playing” focus will not be active.

ok. I find this more frustrating than others, but we all have our preferences, and user interfaces are tough to do as well as roon has. Its pointed out that if I want to read a bio I should just go to the artist page. Its not quite that straightforward: I may have seen the bio on the “now playing page” and began reading without prior intent. I didn’t start out to read a bio, I was looking at the ‘now playing’ metadata and got interested. I could ask why even have the bio on the ‘now playing’ page if its going to be yanked away?

as my final thought, there is an easy fix. If I am on the ‘now playing’ page and click on the bio, take me to the bio page: lose my ‘now playing’ context. When the track changes, the ‘now playing’ information would change, but I’d still be reading the bio. Since the queue bar is always visible, the queue page and the updated “now playing” info for the new track are both only a click away, when I’m ready to change. Give the user control.


If you want a change then put it in feature suggestions, this is the chat not action section :slightly_smiling_face:

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I find it frustrating as well. Between that and the page wildly jumping around when scrolling on my iPad makes the Now Playing screen pretty useless for me, so I rarely use it.

ok, I’ll put a summary and pointer in the feature suggestions. On thinking it over, this isn’t really just about the bio metadata. A clean way to think about this (IMO): if you are on the ‘now playing metadata’ page, and select any submenu item (picture, album cover, review, bio, credits, whatever), once you have selected that submenu, you should not be automatically redirected when the track changes. After all, if the ‘now playing’ metadata changes on track change and you want to get to the updated metadata, its just one mouse click away. Let the user control his/her context.
Example use cases for not losing context:

  • already discussed: reading a bio, which may be several screens long
  • looking at an artist pic and want to show my wife. Don’t want the picture to change before she sees it.
  • looking at credits and see a bass player I don’t know. Don’t want his/her name to disappear before I can look them up.
  • etc.

Reading the bio and having links was the first thing that made me love roon. But never used the now playing. I was thinking that in the now playing screen the bios, images or lyrics are for static displays were you do not want to interact with it. So I never understood why the now playing screen does not have just a one page version of the longer bio (practically I understand there needs to be someone to edit them).