I’ve been thinking about the GUI.
Two dimensions/continuums become obvious:
The intentions and need of the user. Editor User <–> Encyclopedia user.
An encyclopedia user has no use for the Disc IDs and the “Editing” links, and might want a more sensorially diverse and aesthetically tweaked display. I, for example, would much prefer to be using an encyclopedia that looks like http://gustavmahler.net.free.fr/symph5.html than an Ode to Excel.
An editor on the other hand needs ready access to editing tools and links.
But that dimension is not what this thread is about. Please start a new thread if you wish to explore, debate or discuss this.
Skill levels. These might be best discussed in terms of the GUI that works for the user.
Here are the levels that I can see - if you see levels differently I’d like details.
A. Explicit visible text description of all links… (With detailed hover-over explanations?)
B. Drop-down boxes (eg search types: Artist, Release, Label, …), “open track-list” blue triangles, “no track list available” red crosses, in general all the little visible “neat and space-saving” doodads.
C. Context dependent UI. Saves space, de-clutters, useful for knowledgeable experienced users. “Why have them visible if you can have them invisible?”
New users could be served the “Explicit visible text” GUI by default, (with the option to use the “drop-down GUI” if they have the skills and motivation to find it.) Having this GUI available would also work for returning users who, for example, know that somewhere on the Add Release page is thing they need to click to indicate that there is no tracklist but can’t find it.
Sure this GUI would be ugly and not work well on a small screen. But it would allow access by low IT skilled users. This might serve the lowest tech-skilled users that can be currently given access.
B. is roughly where we are now. Though if the “Explicit visible text” GUI was available for quick reference then more “neat”, space-saving icon-links could be used without risk of users getting lost and frustrated.
Context dependent GUI - this becomes less of a binary succeed/fail environment if the lower tech GUIs are readily accessible.