Ardour Latency Dialog

Paul Davis asked me for advice on the Latency dialog he is implementing. This is the state of things:

Latency current

The underlying logic above is to go from minus to plus and from large to small and back to large. With “Use natural latency” in the neutral center. The result looks rather chaotic πŸ™‚

Latency A

“Use natural Latency” -> Automatic. Under the assumption this is the default, I put it on the left as the thing to start from. It should be a toggle button to inform the user if it is on or not (clicking the other buttons should disable it) . Adding the value it will result in as part of the label in parenthesis or as tooltip would be good, but I’ve been told that value is not readily available.

Using 2 rows allows to split step size and direction. Same size buttons avoid an overly busy layout.

Latency B

If custom widgets are an option.

Note that I treated this mainly on the layout level and did not put to question the elements, as I currently do not have much insight into the underlying needs. So I just trust Paul here πŸ˜‰


About thorwil
I'm a designer from Germany. My main interests are visual and interaction design, free/open-source software and (electronic) music.

6 Responses to Ardour Latency Dialog

  1. Dieter says:

    I don’t find the second one overly busy, even though the same thing is showed a few times it still looks simple and my eye catches it directly, so it’s not really confusing or anything imho. I think the reason for this is because it is the way it is done in many other applications.

    On the other hand, number 3 is – in theory – easier on the eye, but in practice it isn’t because I haven’t seen it like this in other applications so the very first time i looked at it there was a very short delay of getting used to.

    Nonetheless number 3 is probably the best bet. Make the widget mainstream. If all applications (they should!) start implementing them like that we’ll get one step closer to utopia.

    I do think the custom widgets need some tweaking, they aren’t really “keep it simple”-styled like other gtk widgets are. This is caused by the 2 lines in the middle-left and middle-right. Also the fact that the plus and minus signs are wrapped inside an ( unnecessary ? ) circle has something to do with that imho. I’m thinking about how you could make them simpler but as effective but can’t figure out something at the moment.

  2. thorwil says:

    Dieter: the lines are meant to give a hint at the button having 2 separate areas and where the division is.

    Plus and minus are wrapped in circles because a naked minus looked out of balance with a plus on the other side.
    I also tried triangles, but that looked more like it was about changing the value of the label.

  3. Bennyp says:

    hey thorwil,
    havig the combined buttons isn’t as clear to me as the separate ones. If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t know what the combined buttons mean.

  4. Dieter says:

    how do you like this?

    Don’t mind the font being a little different and the alignment not being 100% tight, I made it with kolourpaint

    PS: I also made and afterwards (when rereading your comment) I realised you tried this already.
    You’re right about triangles often being used to change the value of the label, that might be a little confusing. That’s why I think option 5 is better.

  5. Dieter says:

    Here’s an effort on trying to improve number 3

    The minus sign is a bit larger then the minus sign you got on example number 2.

    I never programmed gtk but can’t you specify a font that is a little larger for the minus sign, or something like that? Or another font altogether because it seems odd to me that a minus sign is supposed to be shorter then a plus sign.

  6. thorwil says:

    Dieter: regarding 05: I considered that and decided against it because you lose the space needed for the labels as target area.

    Meanwhile, after some discussion on IRC, Paul decided to go with one pair of minus / plus buttons and a combobox for the unit πŸ˜‰