Saturday, March 14, 2009

Zune –on Filtering

Zune has, in my opinion, nailed the core insight in attribute based filtering: Criteria on the same attribute should be OR’ed and criteria on different attributes should be AND’ed.

There is no mentioning of AND or OR In the Zune autoplaylist UI. You also do not have to select between ANY or ALL as you do in ITunes. It is simply all built in and just works the way you would expect it to work.

Zune’s autoplaylist has two defining characteristics. First, there is a predefined set of attributes you can filter on. You cannot add additional attributes which means Zune does not need to expose groupings. Second, the dropdowns used to pick values to filter on automatically makes the ORs between the values.


Below is a screenshot of the dropdown. When picking what album artist to filter on, you can pick multiple entries from the list.


Here I have picked NOFX and the dropdown has added a semicolon to indicate that more can be added. Similar to typing in email addresses.


You can also just type text in the dropdown which is the same as a ‘contains’ operator.


Above we have created our example from previous posts:

(Album artist name is NOFX OR Offspring OR contains ‘Bad’) AND rating is Like


When it comes to music players, I think the Zune autoplaylist UI is the best i have ever used. The only reason to not just copy it is really that its strength is also its weakness. It cannot be expanded to include a lot more attributes.

Next we will finally look at the filter in Active Directory Administrative Center.

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