UI Follies: Windows Media Player Edition

Windows Media Player may be the only windows application with a UI that gets progressively worse with each new version. It is my media player of choice due only to overwhelming indifference on my part; I curse every time I use it. That's why I was so encouraged by Philipp Lenssen's rant on the horrible usability of WMP 10.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/08/ui-follies-windows-media-player-edition.html

I’m not a huge warez bit-torrent video d00d (so perhaps I’m not a very challenging user) but I use VLC media player (from http://www.videolan.org/). Its free (open source) and IJW. Its never barfed up weird messages on newer encodings like “unable to create factory” like WMP has (should anybody who isn’t a programmer ever see an error message like this? I don’t think so). VLC media player does (very occasionally) have issues with videos on Channel9, but otherwise performs flawlessly. A nice, simple discoverable UI…what more could one wish for?

I don’t use the newer (version 6.4+) interfaces for Windows Media Player, I stick with the simple uncluttered 6.4 interface.
But with all the power and codecs of the newer versions, how?


or to go straight to the download
Media Player Classic

^ Ignore above, I should read the whole blog post before replying :wink:

That’s a great blog. Another entry in the same contest here:


From the comments to Philipp Lenssen’s post:
The gameshow “Close that Window!”, where contestants try to close media player windows.
a href="http://www.somethinkodd.com/oddthinking/2005/04/10/close-that-window/"http://www.somethinkodd.com/oddthinking/2005/04/10/close-that-window//a

Excellent fun for the whole family.

Now I am fan of
a href="http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/design7/info.html"http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/design7/info.html/a

Windows version has no graphical GUI.

It’s amazing to discover that you totally do not need mouse.

I have put it to “Send To” menu.
So whenever codec problem arises I send media file to this player.

You could use the “corporate” skin included in the Enterprise Deployment Pack for Media Player 9/10. Looks much like the old 6.4 GUI.

The layout comparison between iTunes and WMP10 is somewhat subjective. Showing extra panels and an expanded menu in WMP10 indeed look cluttered. Turning off those extra panels and collaps the menu shows more or less the iTunes layout. With a bit of skinning I can make it exactly like iTunes :slight_smile:

Have you seen Media Player Class (available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/ )? Features of modern WMP but with the UI of 6.4. Nice.