[LAU] ZynAddSubFX Usability Survey

Louigi Verona louigi.verona at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 22:03:23 UTC 2016

Hey Will,

I know that many people have offered comments to your email, let me please
also add a $0.2.

You write:
"I don't use any Apple, nor any Microsoft kit, so don't feel obliged to
to their diktats. Indeed I *specifically* want to get away from other people
telling me what I should do; how I should 'experience' the computer."

While I totally get this attitude and this is the attitude that many people
in the free software world share, I believe that it is often used

In this context we are not talking about making a piece of software for
oneself and not even creating a customize paradise. We are talking about
making a tool for musicians that has to be efficient and would first of all
serve the goal of making music (or designing sounds). Whereas very often
the attitude you are demonstrating, while by no means "incorrect" and is
really a matter of preference, has as the dominant goal to be different -
just to be different (as you said, you specifically want to get away from
people telling you what to do).

But also I would say that I don't see usability and practical UI advice to
be someone telling you what to do. It is just a very unusual perspective to
me. It's like someone looking at a recipe of a pie and considering it to be
insulting that someone dares dictate to the great chef how he has to cook
his pie. But the context of a recipe has nothing to do with dictating
anything to anyone, it is an instruction how to prepare this exact type of

Additionally, I sometimes get the feeling that any guidelines coming from
commercial projects are perceived as mere opinions in a manner similar to
preference for color. But, as Paul pointed out, very often these guidelines
are the result of years of high quality software development and testing
and research.

Apple or whoever is "issuing dictates" are doing this as a result of
looking at how professionals work and analyzing how they are utilizing

I think it is very important to approach software rationally and stop
looking for oppression where none exists.


On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Tilo Kremer <lau at dadacafe.org> wrote:

> On 29.04.2016 16:34, Len Ovens wrote:
> >> For some reason, I find sliders easier to operate, physically and
> >> onscreen, but I like knobs for some functions. I find onscreen
> >> knobs less easy to operate. Guess I'm weird.
> >
> > In my opinion... knobs and sliders should operate the same. The
> > mouse moves in a straight line either sideways or vertical.
> >
> > In other words, the widget's most
> > important goal is to show the control's position. The mouse movement
> > to change that control can be independant of that.
> >
> > My favourite knobs are operated with either/or right to left, down
> > to up. There is also no reason a horizontal slider needs to be
> > locked to only horizontal mouse movement or a vertical slider to
> > only vertical movment. (don't knock it till you've used it for a month)
> +1 on that. The advantage of differently sized and arranged icons is
> the recognizability of the state it is set to. With icons of faders
> it will use a lot more screen real estate when trying to convey a
> topological structure though.
> I guess the question between icons resembling either pots or faders
> doesn't fully cut to the essence.
> While I might prefer knobs for an envelope to use in a live context,
> I concur that the faders in the additive synth totally make sense
> and would be ridiculous with knobs.
> hth,
> tee
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Louigi Verona
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