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Old 01-12-2010, 10:28 PM
jss jss is offline
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Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: Nottingham, UK
Posts: 48
Default The ubiquitous icon

Hi All,
This is not strictly on-topic but I do hope may be an interesting topic for discussion.

Recently I got in a twist with the use of the Notation Composer feature performance and notation. (Please see other thread). With advice from David & Sherry I'm back on track with then but I tried to think why it was confusing to me in the first place. Yes the default behavior needs to be (and is going to be) changed in next release - but that is not the whole story.The conclusion I have come to (and would welcome critical comment), is that the ubiquitous icon could be a problem sometimes. Taking the performance and notation aspect: it uses quite a few icons to implement the functionality quite simply because there are so many options there. What makes it worse is that they are all so closely related. After a while, saying performance attack and notation delay to oneself starts to lose meaning - especially if trying to compose music at the same time - a task which I am sure all of use here know is a testing and complex business.

Upon more examination it seems to me that it could be that putting too much detail on the actual icon picture itself could be the real trouble. Take a look at the performance and notation toolbars. Two rows of icons very similar in design.The user has to scan these similar looking icons frequently and that I think is the problem. The best icons (imho) are those which have some kind of picture on them representing a function but not actually detailing (too much) the detail For example, on a desktop, an icon with a rose on it might start a program on gardening! If that same icon had a picture a gardening statistic it would not "gel" in the same way. I think there is a parallel here in the successful unix philosphy where the commands have very different (sometime silly) names - like awk, sed, troff etc. But they are successful for that very reason: they each have their own personality and people, i think, warm to that.

I would not dream to lecture anyone - but just throw theses thoughts out in the hope that they may lead to even better user interfaces for all of us.

However having said the above, I should now propose by example a list of attractive icons that could replace the performance and notation icons. I should but I won't - because I haven't come up with anything better :-) Maybe someone can?

Just to finish and say the actual performance and notation icons are perfectly correct and beautifully built - but, as I hope to imply above, are too impersonal.

Regards to all
-John
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