Tuesday July 19, 2016

iTunes 12 violates Principle of Least Surprise

Someone at Apple apparently thinks it's great fun to change the UI every time an updated version of the software ships. For even more "fun", they have a habit of setting defaults that either change (or remove) features a long-time user has come to expect. Some of those features are changed forever. Sometimes, the user can find the right button to push (or terminal command to enter) to get back the behaviour they prefer.

Spouse and I have bumped into two such "features", in iTunes 12

Issue 1

By default, iTunes wants to delete podcasts after you play them. Don't ask why file deletion is a default. I have to assume it's "as designed". (That's a tech support euphemism for "We don't know why they did it this way but they must have done it on purpose because it can't be a bug.")

So, how does a user prevent iTunes from deleting "old" podcasts?

You can change this setting individually for each podcast you subscribe to. Every time you subscribe to a new podcast, you can open a contextual menu and turn this setting off. (Ugh).

Or, you can do a web search, discover that other people have the same question (which implies that the answer is not easy to find), and learn that there are two different ways to change this default, depending on which iTunes "view" you're in..

Here's one method. In the Podcasts/Podcasts view, at the very bottom of the window, you'll find a "Defaults button" (and when I say "very bottom" I mean the verrrryy bottom if you have a large screen. Prepare to scroll.) Click the button and select "Off" for "Delete Played Episodes".

Screen Shot

The other way, in the "Podcasts/Episode List", is to look for the "Settings" button, again, at the very bottom of the window. Yes, the buttons have different names; however, the Podcast defaults window that appears is the same.

(I wonder how many people worked on iTunes 12. Apparently, they never talked to each other.)

Please note that no option to change this default setting can be found the multi-paned iTunes Preferences, selectable from the menu bar.

Issue 2

Spouse has been using the iTunes mini player for years. Here's the current version:

ITunes miniplayer

How do you maximize the miniplayer back to the standard iTunes window?

...

...

You maximize the miniplayer by clicking the x in the upper left corner! Wasn't that obvious? Yes, the icon traditionally associated with closing a window, doesn't actually close the window; it maximizes the window.

Dear Apple -

when multiple people can't figure out how to use the UI, causing them to go to the web and ask "How do I do this?", the problem is not with the users.

Sincerely -
The Users

I filed two bug reports. I expect them to be closed as "As designed", but I tried.

iTunes 12 violates Principle of Least Surprise ( in category Computerware , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 19 Jul, 20:22 Pacific | «e»


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