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Friday July 31, 2009

Apple Bug Report 7109559: UI problems in iTunes

Not everyone knows that Apple has a way to submit bug reports. Or, more to the point, that they actually read them. However, it turns out that Apple engineers interact continuously with a bug tracking system called RADAR and that there is a reliable way for "civilians" to submit reports to it. I've submitted quite a few reports (about one report a month, for several years) and the responses were always polite and generally clueful.

If you'd like to give Apple your thoughts on occasion, just sign up here for a (free) "ADC Online Membership" with the Apple Developer Connection (ADC). Then, go to the Bug Reporter login page and dive in!

Reporting bugs is occasionally effective in promoting changes, though there's no guarantee of that. It's also a back-door way to find out that you've simply missed a feature. In any case, I'd recommend it to any confirmed Apple user.

I recently submitted a bug report about "UI problems in iTunes". I've submitted similar complaints before, without results, so I'm reproducing a formatted version of my report below. If you agree (or disagree!) with my suggestions, send Apple your own report...

The Report

I use iTunes quite regularly, both as a way to load my iPod and as a way to play music at my desk. By and large, it's a nice program, but it has some annoying UI problems.

Background

I have a Mac Pro, an iPod HiFi (model A1121), and a 60 GB iPod (model A1099). I have ~11K songs (~50 GB) stored in iTunes. Almost all of the songs were ripped from CDs, as I have no tolerance for digital rights management (DRM).

Hierarchical Views

In general, I listen to music by a particular artist. So, I click on "LIBRARY > Music", select the "Artist" column, then scroll down to the desired artist's area. I can then double-click on a starting point and minimize the window.

Unfortunately, scrolling down 11K entries is inconvenient. I realize that I can click on an entry and type in a couple of characters, but this isn't very efficient, either.

What I'd LIKE is the kind of flexibility offered by the Finder. For example, the list view could provide disclosure triangles, letting me see as much detail into a given artist's works as desired (eg, show all albums or even all songs in an album). Column view would also be nice.

I realize that iTune's ability to select columns makes this a bit more complicated than the equivalent situation in the Finder, but I don't think it's all THAT hard. For example, if I arrange the columns in a particular order, that order could be used for the List and Column View hierarchies (eg, Artist, Album by Artist, Name, etc.)

Column Selection Behavior

If I select a song, then click on a different column heading, the song should stay in view. This is the behavior in the Finder and many other apps; iTunes should follow it, as well.

This would let me find out, without a lot of hassle, about any other versions I might have of a given song. Assuming that a song is already selected (eg, under Artist), all I would have to do is click on the Name heading to find similarly-named songs.

Apple Bug Report 7109559: UI problems in iTunes in Books, Movies, Music , Computers , Technology - posted at Fri, 31 Jul, 13:54 Pacific | «e» | TrackBack


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