[LAD] Portable user interfaces for LV2 plugins

Fons Adriaensen fons at linuxaudio.org
Wed Mar 2 22:49:49 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 04:58:39PM -0500, David Robillard wrote:

> > Another example is a visual EQ as the one found in Jamin, where you both see the
> > live spectrum and can adjust frequency bands level.
> Yawn. Personally I've always considered my ears better judges of audio
> than pixellated waveforms on a screen.

Here (for once) we do agree :-) There's probably no worse way
to show what a compressor is doing than showing the input and
output waveforms. A simple bargraph showing the current gain
- or better, the gain range over a short period - will do fine.

I've been demoing high end mixers (Digico) to experienced sound
engineers for some time. These mixers can show a graphical
representation of the EQ etc. The first thing these potential
customers ask is if those displays can be disabled - they just 
don't want them. 

Good UI design for audio apps means something entirely different:

- Something you can look at for extended periods. This means color
  schemes that don't strain your eyes, the right amount of detail,
  and nothing that becomes distracting by moving or flashing all
  the time without providing essential information. 

- A layout that is logical to someone who understands what an app
  or plugin is doing. A clear distinction between things you set
  up once and forget and those that you may want to adjust more

- A presentation that allows you to check if things are what you
  expect they are at a glance, and even without being aware of it.

- The ability to find anything you'd need routinely without going 
  through menus, dialogs, or having to move or resize windows. 
  If you have to modify the display significantly in order to find
  some control or action, it should be possible to return to the 
  previous one with just a single action.

- Showing correct and useful information rather than eye candy.



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