Considering the flow-on effects of Picard UI improvements before MB UI improvement

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@mmirG: I think most people using Picard are not the one contributing to MB.
IMHO, Picard users want to tag their music collection with the already existing data on MB. As long as Picard can’t contribute directly back to MB, I don’t see a direct influence.

Can you explain your reasons why Picard would attract lower skilled new users to MB?


Most casual users use Picard to tag their stuff, and (hopefully) add one album or two when they’re missing in order to tag those too.


I agree with the sentiment, but the policy at MB seems to be ‘better imperfect information than none at all’. Or in other words, I haven’t seen any indication that users signing up, adding a bad release our two, and then getting frustrated and leaving, is high on the priority list - I want to say that I haven’t seen anyone really care about low skilled user experience but I don’t think that’s fair to say, devs here are just buried in other things (I hope)

Personally, if the ridiculous ‘submit’ button UI is fixed (which causes obvious confusion, and must cause it’s fair share of false disc Id submissions as well) that’s enough for me to consider any update a huge success :expressionless:


Why would you create that misunderstanding?

I think samj’s contributions are better valued and praised.
They are likely to be of much use to me.
I’m finding that without constant practice MB quickly grows counterintuitive and opaque.
And I’m not getting constant practice.
And so plan to get the easy stuff tagged and then see what looks exciting and fulfilling.

Why increased naive users coming to MB if Picard UI is improved?

The current UI at Picard functions as a signal that “This stuff takes significant IT skills” and for those unable to recognise that signal, it functions as a barrier - they will fail and keep failing at trying to use Picard. And many will give up there. I did just that over many years.

If that signal and/or barrier is removed then more of the low IT tech skilled will take the natural progression from using Picard to contributing to MB.

My proposal: More effective ways to steer new users to these excellent and helpful forums.


[quote=“reosarevok, post:5, topic:190192”]Most casual users use Picard to tag their stuff, and (hopefully) add one album or two when they’re missing in order to tag those too.[/quote]I’m afraid that the second part of your answer is wishful thinking.

For sure they press the most misleading program button ever - aka “Submit” - but then realize, this function does “nothing” useful or visible with their data.

If this “Submit”-button would really do something like seeding the available data and provide a really beginner friendly, very basic upload GUI, then Picard could be the starting point for many new user.

Actually, I don’t believe that many new user get attracted by the GUI from Picard or MB to contribute new data.


Can you create a ticket for that and propose changes there ?
See also @samj1912 's work at Picard: Survey and First Impressions


I believe MB needs more of these editors without “significant IT skills”. Many of them will give up but the more feedback we get the more is being done to improve the user experience. Most of us agree that UI could be more user friendly. I don’t believe it’s just because of the lack of developer time. We can’t just ask developers to “make a better UI” without knowing what features are confusing and difficult for new users. There could be some smaller things that could be easily fixed. We’ll never notice them without the feedback from non skilled users.


I’ve posted some very specific UI ideas/examples (eg ‘submit’ button changes) with no serious developer interest or feedback, so it better be a lack of time - because otherwise it’s a lack of interest which would really suck :frowning:


Where are they, though? Your only tickets are four area requests, as far as I can see.

As an aside, there currently are 1718 open tickets for MusicBrainz server …


[quote=“chirlu, post:12, topic:190192”]
Where are they, though?[/quote]

In the old forums and somewhere on these ones too.
I didn’t make a ticket because I never had any developer interest or feedback.

That said I’m super happy with @samj1912’s in-depth approach and looking forward to seeing what comes out of it!!


Developer interest and feedback are mainly expressed in the ticket tracking system, so without any issues you’ve found existing in that system, you likely won’t get much.


If somebody had asked/advised me to make a ticket at the time, this would pass as an excuse.

edit: I don’t really want to get into an extended discussion on this, I’m grateful for everything the devs do, and I definitely don’t think they’re lazy, but I think their interests don’t lie in the usability/user-friendly department.
There’s hundreds, if not thousands, of posts and comments from non tech savvy users outlining their struggles, and we all know it. “should have made a ticket” is pretty emblematic of how we treat those users - sure, it might be clear that you’re a low skilled computer user that struggles to use our interface, but let’s direct you to yet ANOTHER tech/dev/backend focussed site for the feedback to even be acknowledged.
I don’t think I’m being facetious, I really think that’s being honest about the current situation… I hope it doesn’t come across as ungrateful either, that’s not my aim :disappointed_relieved:


I am pretty tech-savvy, but this resonates with me. I don’t like to make a ticket until I know there’s really something actionable. Although I’ve made so many tickets that turned out to be duplicates, even after trying to search, that I’ve kind of given up searching as a waste of time. It’s a little better now that tickets frequently get linked from the forum, but still.


Prelude: I view the all contributors as having done very well with the resources avaialble. If what I write next harms the progress of MB then I’ll have failed in my attempts to communicate.

In my time contributing to MB I came to the view that MB was still being developed towards readiness for general release.

Things that contributed to this understanding:

  1. The years (?) long lack of requests for user feedback on UI friendliness and the absence of grasping at, and highlighting the usefulness of, user feedback by developers. (Actually I’m not even clear about who would want to get user feedback.)
  2. Server failures and slow-downs that suggested that the system was already over-loaded.
  3. The continuation of the “Submit” button and “New Tags” column heading on Picard after the issue has been raised. The Submit issue; monthly?, weekly?
  4. The continuation of the “Artist Search” box with no drop-down arrow visible in the top corner of MB in Firefox; PC and Android, hiding searches for all other categories from naive users.
  5. Documentation that does not function to make adding metadata quick and easy.
    eg Want to add a classical release?
    will leave many new or rusty users floundering when they don’t combine it with
    It’s not that this form of documentation is wrong.
    It’s that it’s not in form a that makes it easy for new and low tech users to add metadata, in my own experience.
    I’ve got two elderly parents if anyone wants to conduct tests on documentation friendliness.

Things that challenged this understanding:
The graphic design; the layout and colours evoke an established, well functioning, user friendly, reliable website.
I’ve pointed out the mis-match on 2 (or 3?) occassions.
I got nada response in terms of changing UI - which ends up reinforcing my “in-development” understanding.

If I’m in error and MB does view itself as already open to all web users then, “Who do I talk to about the target users and user friendliness?”


I’m (again, like with the comment that opened this thread) at a loss understanding what the purpose of your comment is. What does “general release” mean to you? The MusicBrainz website has been live for fifteen years or so, and everyone may use it without applying for permission. At the same time, it is constantly evolving (mostly improving, hopefully).


To be fair, it’s not always easy to go from “I find the UI confusing” to “here is an actionable ticket”.

We could all do more to help bridge those gaps and herd those cats.


All the following is based on my experiences and observing the posts to the forum of failing users.
The hypotheses I have drawn have no other support.

I think that there is a major problem around knowledge and perceived knowledge in the MB project.

Those heavily involved in the project are very knowledgable.
But they can not conceive the level of ignorance that many people bring when attepmpting to use Picard and add to MB.

“Herding cats” is about right.

By “general release” I mean “accessible to the top 7 deciles of IT skill levels of internet users wishing to use or contribute”.

I estimate that the current UI and skill set required makes Picard and MB accessible to the top 1 or 2 deciles.

The inaccessibilty to an estimatef 50% of internet users who have rough average or better IT skills is what I point at with “not ready for general release”.

It could be that music tagging and metadatabase construction are essentially too complex for 80-90% of Internet users. Or are seen as such by MB.
In either case a statement warning new users of this would be a responsible approach. Leaving people to fail is not generally a pathway to repect or success.

And maybe I am wrong.
Right or wrong, either way; a major project that is not seeking to gather data on what I address is not orientated towards being accessible to the general population of internet users.


I regret that my explaination of the comment that opened this thread that you qieried, failed to make its purpose clear.

I do see a possibility that you find my statements around low IT skilled users and the accessibilty of Picard and MB to them disturbing.

Is this the case?


I have re-titled the thread to remove any implication that samj’s contribution is anything other than very valuable and highly appreciated.


I think it’s pretty clear that I agree with your opinions on the subject mmirG, but I still don’t see why we would want to “warn off” low skilled users?
Either they try and fail, or we have (even if there’s only a small chance) someone who gives it a shot, wades through the early learning curve, and we have a new contributor.

Obviously we lose low-skilled users by the truckload but I think rather than actively trying to not encourage people to try use MusicBrainz (which seems to be your suggestion?) via making Picard look nice, there are perhaps some other quite simple options we could try.

One would perhaps be a bit of a mentor program for new users (as simple as some volunteers leaving a “hello, let us know if you want help” message, or a readily available chat window where people can ask for help)
…as well as various other solutions that would involve a bit more coding though - eg a limited ‘basic’ interface for limited users to start them off slow, or contextual guides/docs for new users.
Again, I think everyone’s focus is elsewhere, but perhaps now that the server move and related issues have slowed down (?), staff/devs might have a bit of interest.
I wonder if something like a mentor/more community orientated help system might be something @Freso might be interested in :slight_smile: