Why do media players have such complex interfaces?

Posted by ajt on Sat 9 Jul 2005 at 10:14

Once upon a time one started a media player picked a file, pressed play, and music came out of the speakers. The interface was simple and inobtrusive. Time passes. MP3s arrive. Time passes. Media players aquire graphic "skins". Interfaces degenerate into complex goo.

Although I've been fighting with media players on my new Debian Etch/AMD64 system, this rant applies to all other Linux and even Windows systems. I'm not even ranting about buggy mediaplayers, or MP3 patent and licence problems.

Why is it so difficult to create a media player with a easy to use interface?

I've eventually found Zinf which I like on Windows, and with the right skin I can see what the buttons are. I find the Debian version of Zinf somewhat unstable, so on Debian I use amaroK which I've found to be stable. Xine is okay for video but I find it quite wobbly, it crashes when playing MP3s on Etch/ADM64.

See also: muttley hates software: media players.

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This article is copyright 2005 ajt - please ask for permission to republish or translate.