Thursday, October 11, 2007

Winamp's Redesign Interface .. Thumbs Down

A friend of mine once mentioned, "But Winamp looks old". I had to agree with her on this one.

We were talking about media players. Media players that support a variety of formats thrown at them, support ripping and burning on the fly and Yes - Look Modern.

It is Winamp's 10th anniversary. "A completely redesigned interface, including Album Art" says the updated version history. I have been looking out for a Winamp redesign since version 3. The fact that Winamp version 3 Wasabi was dumped wasn't a good thing, but that is another story.

So I proceed to download, click the download link, hit save, 8 minutes later I run the installer. A few pre-install questions and 5 seconds to go. Tada! The new "Bento redesigned interface" appears. The default color scheme is dark, pasty and bland. I am not impressed at all. Nothing to wow about. Fonts do _not_ look smooth and are in need of anti-aliasing.

The three pane layout feels fossilized. I remember Winamp version 1 and 2 looking the same. Screen elements look clumsy. I need to click a handler inorder to figure out what they do.

I am on a 1280x800 resolution display at 120 DPI. Winamp should have looked gorgeous. I fail to understand why the redesign did not include better and _modern_ color schemes. The royal blue color scheme looks hideous. There is a total absence of gloss or the glass effect found on Windows Vista, Windows Media Player, the Windows Media Center application etc. Even Windows Mobile 6 and the new Motorola UI look shiny.

So what happened? Nullsoft is owned by AOL. Is AOL trying _not_ to get into the Radio business? AOL has probably secured deals with a dozen other apps.

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