If you’re like me, you may spend a lot of iPodding time using the Shuffle Songs feature. It’s a great tool for the lazy man (ahem), and especially nice for car use (where I typically use my iPod) since driving while navigating the screens probably isn’t the best idea. I do, however, have a few suggestions for how to improve this feature.
1) Shuffle Profiles
The biggest frustration that I have is the limited controls over what is included in shuffle. One could probably argue that the whole point of “shuffle” is that the user gives up control of what songs play, but I still believe that creating shuffle “profiles” with different rules would be a great improvement to this feature. This would obviously have to be handled through the iTunes interface (one of the general challenges with the iPod, that so much of the customization is done through a different program). The user could choose from a list of things to include or exclude from the profile, i.e. by artist, genre, keyword, etc.
(I realize that iPod does have such a thing as “Smart Playlists”, but this seems more appropriate for smaller playlist features, thought admittedly I haven’t used it all that much.)
2) Batch Exclude from Shuffle
A user can pretty easily exclude a single song from shuffle, but this needs to be done individually, which makes excluding an entire album or artist to be quite time consuming. If batch updating of (certain) tags is allowed, why not allow batch shuffle exclusion?
3) Jump out of Shuffle into Album/Artist
I typically use the shuffle feature when I don’t have something particular in mind to play; yet it is also quite common that shuffle picks a song by an artist that inspires me to hear more from that artist or album. To do this, however, I have to navigate through the menus to find those songs, which is somewhat annoying, especially while driving. If there was an easy way to jump directly to the artist or album, this would be very helpful.
That’s all for now; I’ll add more ideas if I can think of any.