V1.8: UI first, UX second?

I haven’t used Roon for around a year because I didn’t get warm with its mobile Apps. I was flashed to see this marvellous UI overhaul. There is a lot I really like and was worth the wait. Beside the UI I’m glad to realize the changes under the hood with much better performance, adaptive layout and varialbe font size. That must be the hardest stuff to develop.

So what about the User Experience aka UX? Well, as an iPhone (and sometimes iPad) user I’m still disappointed with the current state. The Apps feel second class and aged on my devices. Modern and nowadays common usage concepts for touch screens are completely ignored. Let me name some, which should find its way also into Roon on iOS/iPadOS, maybe optionally.

  • Long swipe from the left/right screen edges to go back/forward (swipes from within the screen will do the horizontal scrolling)
  • Swipe down to dismiss sheets like the Focus overlay
  • Overscroll a view down to pull in the search field and Keyboard for quick search to avoid the acrobatics to reach the search in the upper right
  • extended long tap to access the contextual menu, eg. to remove suggested albums or add them to a playlist
  • Tap on the Upper Screen Edge to scroll to the top of a view

The sidebar should also be more accessible. Here are some different ideas:

  • A short swipe will reach the sidebar, which disappears when swiping longer to go back in history
  • Implement a multi step overscrolling like the tap to reach feature of the iOS App Soor
  • Move the hamburger menu downwards as a flying button above the player section, maybe optional

Well, all my suggestions have in mind that I use an iPhone in portrait mode with the left hand. All the top UI elements are nearly unreachable with my thumb. And there are many cases where it is uncomfortable zu use two hands. Think of a quickly selecting a different album while cooking.

There are also some UX glitches which should be fixed anyway.

  • when switching between the title or info view of an album the view shouldn’t scroll to top. That moves the interface elements away from the finger. They should hold its place. This only happens on the iPhone, the iPad version does not alter the scroll position.
  • On other languages than English some Buttons are cropped as they don’t fit the screen. They should wrap around or the button row should be scrollable like the tabs in the settings. Maybe a compressed font could help.
  • The scrubbing waveform does interfer with the home indicator on modern iPads (they don’t have a home button). A quick solution could be to exchange places with the control buttons like play/pause. They are just tapped and not swiped, so they won’t trigger the App switcher from iPadOS when they are on the same position.
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