Odd playlist to queue behaviour

Why, in other screens, do tracks get added to the queue individually but with playlists it doesn’t seem possible to add an individual track without carrying every other track that appears after, along into the queue.

I suddenly found myself with 300 tracks in the queue and I only wanted to add a couple of tracks.

I like the idea of being able to add all but surely this should be a secondary option after dealing with the single track.

click and hold or rightclick to select a track, then play it…

this was a tough choice for us, but we felt that people who pick from the middle of a playlist expect the behavior that is in every other app (play to end of playlist).

I personally hate it, but I conceded the point to the greater good.

I think that consistency is the key here and the first interaction with this functionality is likely to instill the single track mentality, so that it will be a shock. I see that the number of tracks that are added is flagged in the title but let’s face it - who reads this stuff - I’d have a default behaviour - single track - but make it easy to override. Anyway, just a thought.

Hi @Danny,

Why not make it the same a adding tracks from an album?

  • Short click to select just that track
  • Long click + play from here

Sounds sensible…as long as the interaction is consistent across UI.

I could swear this surprising and inconsistent behavior got fixed in Build 147, but it seems to be back in Build 154. Did I completely imagine that it had been fixed (if only temporarily)?

I spent a good week many releases ago being completely frustrated when I’d get all sorts of extra tracks appearing in the Queue after I’d chosen a track to play from Playlist, until I finally realized that the behavior when clicking on a single track which appeared in a Playlist was completely different from what happened when you clicked on a single track anywhere else in Roon. Then I squinted and looked really closely at the screen, where I saw that there was indeed some text in a small typeface telling me that extra tracks would indeed be played.

I was primed to write a strongly-worded feature request on the subject, then with Build 147 the problem seemed to go away. Phew.

Now this breakage seems to be back.

Sure, if I want to play a single track from a Playlist, I can select it and use the play button up at the top of the screen.

But user interfaces shouldn’t be surprising in this way! If clicking on a single track absolutely everywhere else in the interface gives you an option to play that one track, why should users have to learn about a weird and unexpected special case just for the case of tracks which you happen to be looking at in a Playlist?

If you want to play the whole playlist, use the global Play Playlist button. If you want for some reason to play a track and all other tracks after it in a playlist (something which seems like enough of a special case that it makes no sense to me to break the interface to facilitate it), select all the tracks you’d like to play and play them via the button which operates on that list. You know, the way it works in all the other views.


NO…please someone confirm that Jeffrey is wrong!!!

I too discovered recently that one of the most, no…the most, annoying Roon UI inconsistency had been finally quashed. I breathed a sigh of relief and have enjoyed a consistent and understandable experience ever since.

No, this isn’t a small point, this isn’t pedantry, this goes to the heart of what you guys are trying to create.

What you have apparently returned to in build 154 doesn’t make sense.

@danny, you are the COO, tough choices are presumably what you make. Even if it is true that this behaviour is present in every other app - which I doubt having used a large percentage of them - then please take this as a request to rise the level of Roon app development above mimicry and make a decision for common sense and your users!

As I am sure I have said earlier in this thread, I would prefer adding a track to mean just that - rather than the entire rest of the playlist - but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which way you go on this. What matters is consistency. So, we should expect that adding a track from anywhere (history, album listing, search results etc etc) in the app to add everything after that track to the queue.

You guys have said elsewhere that you are not playlist experts…how was the decision reached to make playlist behaviour completely incongruous with everything else in your app?

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@danny - just to follow up my comment. Given that this sounds like a reasonably configurable change (by that I mean that it looks like the devs have managed to completely change the behaviour between recent builds) would it not be something that you can give us the ability to configure?

We may change this behavior in the future or add more options, but the recent change was a simple bug fix, guys – the old behavior was carefully designed to meet all the use cases we could think of at the time, and if we decide to make changes they will be similarly thorough.

Playlists are a way for a user to save tracks in a specific user-defined order. If you have a playlist with thousands of songs that you add to every day, playing that list from the middle is a critical use case. If you want to hear a song, and you do that by browsing to a playlist (as opposed to browsing to the album or a tag), this indicates that the order and context of that song in the playlist is important to you. The thinking was that playing a song from a playlist is different, and the expectations of what happens is different, so the default behavior should reflect that.

Whether that’s wrong or right is up for debate – like I said, we are considering changes and additional options. We’ve heard questions about why Roon behaves differently on these screens but only a handful of complaints, even across over a hundred posts in the recent Playlists thread. Consistency is important and it’s possible the distinction here is driving people crazy, but the hope was that people who tend to listen to albums get the behavior they expect, and people who build playlists do too.

So much of Roon is about adding back the context that’s lost when the interface you use to browse and play your collection acts like a file manager. There’s a reason so much of Roon is focused on albums and composers, since that’s the context from which most recordings originate.

In this case, care was taken to respect the choice the user has made when they specifically play a song via the playlist screen. It’s possible we’ve missed the mark or given short shrift to the “play a single song from a playlist” case (which does currently require an extra right-click or long tap) but it seems like most people clicking tracks in a playlist are getting the behavior they expect.

The point is, this was a bug fix, not a design choice. If we’re going to change the design or add options, we’re going to carefully consider all the feedback we’ve gotten about how people expect playlists to work, and make sure we don’t neglect the “play a thousand song playlist from the middle” case, either.

As always, the feedback is welcome guys, and I hope the details I’ve provided clarify our thinking here.

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@mike, thank you very much for taking the time to respond to this and I welcome the thorough decision process that you guys go through before adopting a particular design or interaction pattern.

I am surprised though that your quoted example is a playlist with thousands of tracks. Unless someone is creating a playlist containing the entire back catalogue of a particular artist I suspect that this is a bit on an edge case. It would make much more sense to use other Roon features to achieve such a list. The average shared spotify playlist in 2012 was 170 tracks (source: sharemyplaylist.com) and the user sample is a pretty dedicated lot so I suspect that the average user playlist size is less than that.

As with many things when one sweats the details, most people just won’t notice - until they realise something odd happened. Experience has taught me that asking people what they want/think is best has limited benefit. I don’t know how granular your user tracking is but it would be very interesting to test what the next few actions following a click of this playlist function are and see if there is an unusually high significance of delete actions, as the user realises what’s happened.

One thing I will pick you up on though is when you say: “Consistency is important and it’s possible the distinction here is driving people crazy, but the hope was that people who tend to listen to albums get the behavior they expect, and people who build playlists do too.” - my argument has nothing to do with building playlists…just playing from them. Perhaps this is the distinction that you are taking to far…we are just talking about playing music and which particular type of repository it comes from is not going to be at the top of the user’s mind. What will be is “what is the quickest way to find the track I want” and then add it to the queue. The fact that currently this needs to be done in 2 separate ways is counter intuitive.

Anyway, I think Roon is a fab product and I will try not to allow it to raise my blood pressure too much :slight_smile: