[LAD] Portable user interfaces for LV2 plugins

David Robillard d at drobilla.net
Thu Mar 3 00:37:37 UTC 2011

On Wed, 2011-03-02 at 22:49 +0000, Fons Adriaensen wrote:
> 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
>   frequently.
> - 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.

Bang on. /This/ is the kind of UI stuff that actually matters.

If you gave someone actually interested in making music or doing pro
audio (or...) a choice between:

1) A gorgeous, fancy, skinned, 3D, high performance UI with
visualization and all the rest - that is awful be these criteria

2) A UI that is superb by these criteria - and is made out of the most
basic plain widgets imaginable

Their choice is not odd.


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