Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Dec 2011 20:11 UTC
Google Once upon a time, in a land, far, far away, there were two mobile operating systems. One of them was designed for mobile from the ground up; the other was trying really hard to copy its older, desktop brother. One was limited in functionality, inflexible and lacked multitasking, but was very efficient, fast, and easy to use. The other had everything and the kitchen sink, was very flexible and could multitask, but had a steep learning curve, was inconsistent, and not particularly pretty.
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RE[3]: Comment by frderi
by Neolander on Fri 23rd Dec 2011 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by frderi"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Another example : Lets make a software synthesizer. Doing it in a WIMP fashion It will most probably consist of an array of sliders, buttons and labeled input fields. A skeuomorphic one will be composed out of virtual knobs and a virtual keyboard.

Introducing ZynAddSubFX : http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/images/screenshot02.png

A very nice piece of open-source software, truly, although it takes some time to get used to. It has both a range of preset patches for quick fun and very extensive synthesis control capabilities for the most perfectionist of us. And it does its thing using only a small amount of nonstandard GUI widgets, that have for once been well thought-out.

While you're mentioning on-screen keyboards on touchscreens, ZynAddSubFX is more clever by using the keyboard that comes with every computer in a creative way instead. The QSDF key row is used for white piano keys, whereas the AZERTY row is used for black piano keys. Of course, you only get a limited amount of notes this way, just like on a tablet-sized touchscreen, but any serious musician will use a more comfortable and powerful external MIDI keyboard anyway.

Why would one need a touchscreen for software synthesis that works like on a real-world synthesizer ?

While the first one might be more precise, the latter one will be a lot more intuitive and be a lot more inviting to tinkering and experimenting, triggering creativity a lot more. And it will be a lot more fun to use!

No, it won't be any more intuitive than a well-done regular synthesizer GUI. Actually, if it aims at mimicking a real-world synthesizer, it may turn out to be as overwhelmingly loaded with controls as a real-world synthesizer, which is arguably ZynAddSubFX's biggest problem.

A well-designed WIMP program, to the contrary, could use information hierarchy to hide "advanced controls" away from direct user sight, in a fashion that make those accessible for experienced users without harming newcomer's user experience. This allows software interface to have a softer learning curve than analog appliances, arguably voiding the core point of skeumorphism advocates.

Traditional WIMP interfaces fail at persons who are blind. Your point being?

That touchscreens are just as much of a mess as mices for blind people (even more so, because they cannot embrace a spoken hover feedback as current touchscreens are not capable of hover feedback), but actually cater to a much smaller range of users.

And, I bet my old grandpa (if he were still alive) would have a much easier time searching whatever he's forgotten today with Siri, rather than typing things into a google like interface on your WIMP device.

Siri is a command-based voice interface designed for very specific use cases that are hard-coded at the OS level, I thought we were talking about general-purpose touchscreen GUIs so far ?

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