[Ardour-Dev] Ardour interface simplication?

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Thu Sep 23 05:57:11 PDT 2010

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010 05:39:44 pm Adam Dingle wrote:
> But I do think the Ardour user interface seems daunting at 
> first to a relatively unsophisticated user of audio editing software 
> (like me :). 
> For example, I think that some of the following elements might 
> not be necessary for a casual user:

Good morning, Adam, and welcome to Ardour.  While I've not cc:d the Ardour-Users list (yet; almost did, and almost set reply-to to that list, but decided against it), I would suspect it might be better suited to that list.  

But, in any case, speaking as a longtime user of Ardour, I would be against over-simplification of the interface.  Oh, I fully understand the learning curve's steepness and the paucity of documentation (but the FLOSS manual and the currently-being-revamped reference manual are great improvements).  And I do understand your 'casual user' point of view.

However, such a simplification-possible interface makes support much mure complicated, because then not only does someone who's trying to assist a user in a task need to give instructions on how to do the task, but also must remember to tell the user to enable that control (or the user might be inclined to say 'well, MY copy of Ardour doesn't even have that menu item, so you don't know what you're talking about').  This would make an already difficult task much more difficult.

Yes, Ardour has a lot of features and a full menu, no doubt.  But I am not convinced that configurable interface elements, which would make Ardour even more modal than it already is, is the answer.  Of course, I am not the one to convince, since I'm not an Ardour developer, just a heavy user.

But that brings up the crux of the matter: Ardour isn't really meant for casual users, it's meant for professionals.  Does ProTools have a 'simple' set of menus in addition to the full set?  Ardour is much more a ProTools replacement than just a more powerful Audacity.

Having said all that, one thing that might be doable would be a 'Windows-esque' 'common menus items' menu display control (which I personally loathe, but I'm in the minority).  This is where only the most common (and/or the most recent/often used items) show in the menu, with an expansion control at the bottom of the menu.  Again, I personally loathe the expandable menus, but I know many new users who love them.  And I don't have the first clue how hard that interface element would be to implement.

So, I understand your pain, but also try to understand things from the developer / support volunteer point of view.

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