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knobs V sliders

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knobs V sliders

Postby Folderol » Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:18 am

Just a bit of blue sky thinking, concerning touch screens.

How attached are people to the idea of of controls being 'familiar' knobs?

It occurs to me that for a touch screen, sliders would be easier to use. Also, while single knobs take up little space, sliders 'pack' much better when there are more than 3 or 4. From an interface designer's viewpoint I think they'd also be easier to manage..
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:43 am

When I'm creating a control panel I tend to stick with the way my favourite hardware did it. Something tells me that sliders are 'right' for envelopes, yet knobs do a better job for waveform selection. Maybe that's the JP-8 in my heart still singing.
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:54 am

Whereas, having never used a hardware synth, I would forever wonder why you'd put envelope controls on sliders not knobs? :)

But going back to your touchscreen point, the best implementation of knobs I've played with on a touchscreen is where they turn into sliders when you touch/activate them. Trying to do any kind of rotational control on a touchscreen I find very awkward.
Getting the response time right is critical with this though.
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:56 am

blinddrew wrote:Whereas, having never used a hardware synth, I would forever wonder why you'd put envelope controls on sliders not knobs?
To an extent they are graphic. You can 'see' the envelope when you look at the positions of the sliders.
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:19 am

The Elf wrote:
blinddrew wrote:Whereas, having never used a hardware synth, I would forever wonder why you'd put envelope controls on sliders not knobs?
To an extent they are graphic. You can 'see' the envelope when you look at the positions of the sliders.

I'm in agreement here. The Summit and MatrixBrute use sliders for envelopes and I find it a lot more intuitive than the knobs on my other synths.

I used to be a big fan of touchscreens for their coolness factor but over time I have come to dislike them as an interface as a fingertip is too blunt to make fine adjustments and they are relentlessly flat to the touch which psychologically I find quite sterile.

One thing I think they are good for is setting up creative modulation through the use of moving objects such as springs and balls that you set in motion with a flick of a fingertip and bounce around within a border of some kind, emitting X and Y values as controller values as they go, but although I used it a lot on my Jazzmutant Lemur years ago, it's surprisingly (or not!) easy to live without.

Another thing they are good for are as control surfaces for certain pieces of equipment, such as a digital desk (to set up routing, for example) but I'm not a fan of them for direct control of performance parameters.
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:10 am

The Elf wrote:
blinddrew wrote:Whereas, having never used a hardware synth, I would forever wonder why you'd put envelope controls on sliders not knobs?
To an extent they are graphic. You can 'see' the envelope when you look at the positions of the sliders.
Ah yes, that makes complete sense. I stand corrected. :)
Again.
P.S. you might have been right about that Hammond too in the other thread too... ;)
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby Dave B » Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:14 pm

Folderol wrote:It occurs to me that for a touch screen, sliders would be easier to use.

More than that, any UI implementation of knobs is really a compromise. Do you grab the pointer and move it round in circle? Or go left - right? Or up - down?

I do think that sliders are better suited to UIs.

Interestingly, half the reason we have them was that ARP wanted to look different to Moog!

:D
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby desmond » Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:21 pm

Dave B wrote:I do think that sliders are better suited to UIs.

They do however take more vertical or horizontal panel space to draw.

Clearly the best solution is to draw a knob (requiring a small square space), that when touched, expands into a vertical slider overlay that you adjust by sliding your finger in the appropriate direction.

Then when you release your finger a dialog prompts you "Are you sure you wanted to make this change?", with the yes no buttons positioned in a random order, with a following "Are you *really* sure?" prompt which then draws at a random position on screen as far away as possible from the first dialog, interrupted occasionally by "Did you remember to wash your hands before operating this touchscreen?" and refusing to work if the screen detects KFC chicken...
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:02 pm

blinddrew wrote:P.S. you might have been right about that Hammond too in the other thread too... ;)
:lol:

If you send me the MIDI part and a rough mix I can send you back something snarly!
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:14 pm

A knob or cool round graphic (a nipple?) that means if you put your finger here I will turn into a slider. 2 finger touch means extra fine tune or slow, but sometimes that is not enough so up/down buttons at either end of the slider increment/decrement in single value amounts.

KFC on a touchscreen - gross! Especially now the thought of anyone else touching one of my screens horrifies me. Apple pencil or stylus might be okay if you bring your own but stay 6 feet away and put a mini condom on it.
( excuse this peek into my darkside! But 73 people here got the plague just by using an elevator)
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:06 pm

The Elf wrote:
blinddrew wrote:P.S. you might have been right about that Hammond too in the other thread too... ;)
:lol:

If you send me the MIDI part and a rough mix I can send you back something snarly!
I've got something I think I'm happy with thanks, but I'm on about version 8 now so I may change my mind again by next week! :)

Anyway, back on topic in 3, 2, 1...
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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:33 pm

desmond wrote:
Dave B wrote:I do think that sliders are better suited to UIs.

They do however take more vertical or horizontal panel space to draw.

Clearly the best solution is to draw a knob (requiring a small square space), that when touched, expands into a vertical slider overlay that you adjust by sliding your finger in the appropriate direction.

I like this approach desmond!

With a heavily control-laden panel, I find the current positions of knobs easier to take in en masse than the equivalent number of sliders, but making that knob graphic turn into an obvious vertical control when you want to change it removes all the flaffing about trying to remember if the knob alters its value via a vertical or rotary mouse action.


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Re: knobs V sliders

Postby Folderol » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:51 pm

Lot's in interesting thoughts on this.

I personally prefer sliders. Apart from the issues of exactly which way do you move a knob. I find it's virtually impossible to click on it to make just a tiny tweak without a significant random shift, whereas with a slider you just aim for the center of the 'thumb'.

I dimly remember just one bit of software with knobs that you had to attempt a rotary action on. I absolutely hated it, and it didn't stay on my machine for more than a day.

@Desmond
I see you've worked on local council committees :lol:
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