I Need More Music Playing In My Home

You’ve probably heard that phrase that goes something like, “do one thing and do it well.” I know Elon Musk and Steve Jobs have said it.

After Googling just now, it looks like Ken Thompson first declared it as the Unix Philosophy. It is a “set of cultural norms and philosophical approaches to minimalist, modular software development.” Cool!

That phrase pops into my head a lot when I’m using fully-featured applications from major companies. They’re all so cluttered with screen after screen of options and menus. But there’s no way around it for them. They’re building a product for the masses.

Think of the huge beast iTunes has become. I used to truly adore iTunes at the beginning, but now I stay away from it. Finally they’re breaking it apart!

These companies are at a disadvantage in that they can’t just do one thing and do it well. They’re building products used by millions of people. They can’t possibly resist all the cries for additional functionality.

This is where the smaller designers can come in. We don’t need to build a product for everyone. Just build for yourself, and maybe there are people like you out there.

I feel like I don’t play enough music at home. The common-sense way to remedy that is to schedule music to automatically play throughout the week. Easy enough right?

I send my favorite developer a few wireframes and asked him what he thought about building something like that.

“The Google Home already does that,” he says.

Let’s look at doing one thing on the Google Home app. We want Jazz to play every Tuesday night at 8:00.

  1. Press Routines
  2. Press Manage routines
  3. Press the +
  4. Press “Add commands”
  5. Press “When I say…”
  6. Enter your voice command(needed even though this is not a spoken command)
  7. Press Save
  8. Press “Set a time and day”
  9. Press the time
  10. Adjust hour
  11. Adjust minute
  12. Adjust am/pm
  13. Press OK
  14. Press days it should repeat
  15. Choose speaker
  16. Press back
  17. Press add media
  18. Press Music radio button
  19. Press gear icon
  20. Press text area
  21. Enter request
  22. Press back
  23. Press Add
  24. Press Save

Here are some screenshots from that flow.

I’m not bashing the Google Home app, it’s a fully-featured hub for programing every aspect of a smart-home. That’s a big job!

However, there’s no question that for someone, like myself, who wants to schedule music this flow is a pain in the ass. So much so that I rarely use it because I don’t want to go through the 24 step process.

Sure, you can tell the Google Home to play Jazz on Tuesday at 8:00. But what if it doesn’t hear you correctly, or you want to edit that command? You’re back in the same UI seen above.

I think these types of large corporation, fully-featured apps can be a great place for smaller designers to have fun. Thanks to developer kids and APIs we can design for our favorite high-tech hardware we use every day!

I was thinking of building something that was more sentence-based. Kind of like code written in sentence form. Or a UI in the form of a sentence. What is more intuitive than natural written languages!

It could work something like this.(sound on)

I know it is not traditional with the horizontal viewport and day time selector could be tricky to implement. But it is certainly faster and more intuitive!

The above flow to add a scheduled item

  1. Press the + button
  2. Press the text area
  3. Enter request
  4. Adjust day
  5. Adjust hour
  6. Adjust minute
  7. Adjust am/pm
  8. Press done

Would you like to easily have more of the audio content you love playing in your home? If so, contact me and let’s build it!

Would you like to see my future blog post? Surrender your email!