IVB\’s Home Theater and Home Automation

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Restructured my GUI for CCTV/AV reasons

Posted by IVB on January 25, 2007

Well, i’ve redone my screens in 3 ways for a variety of reasons.
1) Add a CCTV shot to the wrapper (less stable screens, but addresses one of wife’s major issues)
2) Switch to a floorplan view as the default and eliminate a/v control on wrapper
3) Eliminate all menu screens, just the one menu popup.

I actually did this 5 days ago, but wanted to wait before posting to see how it would work out.

So on to the details:
1) CCTV on wrapper: this change that will make them slightly less stable, but potentially much more functional.   One of my wife’s biggest complaints was that it took too long to pull up the CCTV on the touchpanel, hence greatly diminishing the value of a front-door camera.  I redid my screens to put a small web browser right on the wrapper, and pointed it at the CCTV. Unfortunately, it looks like that CCTV app does something funky graphic-wise and interferes with SageTV/TheaterTek/other apps, so I cannot use this on my regular PCs. But, for the touchpanel, this has been working out just fine. 
The instability is that whenever there’s any hint of a network issue or slowness, the diginet PDA app will lose the connection temporarily and throw a popup. A few times when we’ve tapped the touchpanel after not using it for a while, we’ll see 10-15 popup error messages from it.  No big deal, we just keep hitting the “ok” button with our finger until they’re all dismissed.

I can only put one shot on the screen at any one time – the user can either use the scroll bars to navigate (we never do) or hit the button to switch out the overlay to one where all the cameras are shown.

So far, the wife likes the rapid viewing of the CCTV more than the irritation of those popups, but obviously she gets irritated at having to press that “ok” button 10-15x.  I’ll let this sit a while longer to see how it goes.

2) Use a floorplan default view where both lights & a/v is visible, with just the volume control on a popup.  Still tinkering with this bit, screens are clearly denser content, so far everyone has picked up quickly after the initial shock and 60 seconds of staring at it to figure out what the hell the screen means.  But, so far it’s looking like after those first few mins, people like having all the buttons on the screen so that they can immediately do that which they most commonly do.

3) Eliminated all menus.  yes, i know the screenshot below is ugly, but before spending too much time on the aesthetics I wanted to see if this would actually be usable. So far it’s working out well, but it’s one of those “i need to let it sit for a few weeks and burn in” before I can really ask the wife what she prefers.

Here’s the screenshots:

http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/screenshots/VS20/wrapper_touch.jpg

http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/screenshots/VS20/popup_menu.jpg

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