Monday, April 5, 2010

Video Player Volume Choices

There are getting to be more and more Flash–based video players out on the web. Seems like everybody wants to design their own instead of just posting to YouTube and using theirs. Fine, whatever. Except not everybody knows how to do good UI design and they end up putting controls in stupid places, or they don't hide the cursor when it's in certain spots after going fullscreen. But the thing that bugs me most is how more than half of the ones I've encountered lately make the absurd decision to start with the audio volume at somewhere between 50% and 80% instead of 100%. Most people set their volume to what they're doing (working at an office, surfing at home, etc), which means that the audio output of every piece of software should output at full volume and let the final volume level be dictated by the user's main volume level, whether that be in software or with a knob on their external speakers. So every time I hit one of these weird video players, I have to hunt down their goofy idea of what a volume control should look like, figure out how it works, and crank it up to 100% like it should be. Some of these idiotic controls don't even work like a slider; you can't simply click anywhere in the control and drag haphazardly up or to the right. Nope. Some show you 5 vertical bars of increasing height from left to right. You have to carefully aim and click on the bar that represents the volume level you want (the biggest one), and these bars are usually only a few pixels wide, which takes your attention away from the video you wanted to watch and hear in the first place, so then after you fix the volume, you have to go back and figure out where the progress bar is and try to start the video over, if it will let you do that.

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