Labels need a major upgrade

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of bagels bagels 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #86522
    Profile photo of Robert M
    Robert M
    Participant

    The UI is very responsive and in general, UI commands are sensible and logically placed.

    But there are a few MAJOR omissions that make using the app PAINFUL.

    Chief among them is naming/labels.

    Only 6 characters per ANY label is just awful. An absolute minimum would be 10 characters, and support for 20 characters or more is preferred. Your mobile developers should understand how to scale font sizes down where needed and to auto-truncate labels (with horizontal scrolling) when they are too long.

    Another big problem: Naming mixes, groups and FX is almost completely useless. The right hand UI tabs for selecting each mix, group and FX (where names matter most) DO NOT update when you create a custom name. Instead, you’re forced to select each tab by its permanent generic label (Mix 1, Mix 2, Grp 1, etc), then check the master fader for your custom label. I haven’t even used this mixer in a live show yet, and this is already incredibly frustrating. Whose mix is Mix 3? No idea!

    When you create a custom label for a mix, group or FX – that label should become THE label throughout the UI. Ditch the wholly unhelpful generic tab labels in favor of custom labels and the UI will be worlds easier to navigate. The Behringer and Mackie do this – I was shocked and saddened that the A&H app does not.

    I have MANY other gripes with the app, but will consider naming/labels to be the most important for me.

    * NO Android support – sorry, greater than 75% of the mobile market, you’re SOL
    * NO ABILITY to customize colors – all channels are one color forever, with no support for icons etc – makes deciphering the UI much more difficult, especially when handing the tablet to a FOH engineer. On the Mackie app, I color vocal channels in red, instrument channels in blue and drum channels in orange. Makes it super easy to orient yourself to the mix.
    * No grouping of linked stereo channels – you still see both the left and right channels separately, each with their own controls – unless you create a custom channel view that excludes the right channel. But there are multiple problems with custom channel views…
    * Custom channel views are a mess. You should be able to store 3 custom views with each and every scene. Having only 3 total views shared among every possible scene, with no association between scene and view pretty much completely nullifies their usefulness. Every time I load up a scene, I have to remember which of the 3 custom views is meant to go along with the scene, because there isn’t even the ability to label any of the views – all of this is incredibly frustrating.
    * Mixes 5-10 are hardcoded to stereo and cannot be unlinked. I should be able to create 10 mono mixes without a hassle.

    The remaining are less important UI gripes:

    * PAFL – what does this even mean? Does it mean Pre/After Fade Listen or Pre-Amp Fade Listen? – it’s documented as a toggle between pre and post (After) fade listening and is given a large dedicated button per channel – switching between these should be in the edit area of the channel settings, not sitting on each fader cluttering the UI.
    * A redundant power button on every channel wastes precious screen real estate. Turn the channel ‘off’ by muting it. If a power button is a must, put it in the channel edit panel instead.
    * Thick white borders appear on buttons and right side tabs, but not left-side tabs. They clutter the UI and are used inconsistently.
    * New inputs are appended to custom views in random order unless you manually drag them to the exact position you want. When tapping to add a new input, if you don’t drag the input onto the custom view, it should be auto-appended to the end of the existing inputs.

    There’s lots to be done with the app to bring it up to par.

    #86524
    Profile photo of Steffen R
    Steffen R
    Participant

    you are talking about a mixing desk…?

    the system has many limitations and therefor it is intented as an easy and straight forward “mixing desk”
    and the app is only a remote control app to an existing mixer with a simple signal flow and easy to understand user interface
    and reflects the possibilities of the hardware

    and btw your lack of knowledge in the audio part is painful to the general audio guy
    PAFL = PRE or AFTER FADER LISTENING
    the power button labeld “on” is no power button at all, it is a routing on/off switch
    the buttons on the right side are completly different in their function and are no tabs at all,
    thats why they have the white border

    I would suggest to read the manual first

    #86526
    Profile photo of Robert M
    Robert M
    Participant

    The Qu-SB app (not the hardware) is what I’m talking about, specifically when compared to apps from A&H competitors, which offer the features I discussed.
    You falsely assumed I did not read the manual, while simultaneously insulting my audio experience. That’s not at all constructive. I am a professional web and mobile app developer with 20 years experience, focusing specifically on UI and usability, which is why my analysis should prove useful. I shouldn’t have to brandish my credentials just to post my opinion in a forum literally asking for user opinions without being harassed by trolls, but I guess this is the world we live in now.

    #86541
    Profile photo of Steffen R
    Steffen R
    Participant

    are you doing real audio jobs?
    still not shure…

    #86546
    Profile photo of Ryan
    Ryan
    Participant

    Most of what Steffen is saying probably comes from these two UI gripes:

    * PAFL – what does this even mean? Does it mean Pre/After Fade Listen or Pre-Amp Fade Listen? – it’s documented as a toggle between pre and post (After) fade listening and is given a large dedicated button per channel – switching between these should be in the edit area of the channel settings, not sitting on each fader cluttering the UI.
    * A redundant power button on every channel wastes precious screen real estate. Turn the channel ‘off’ by muting it. If a power button is a must, put it in the channel edit panel instead.

    which misses the mark as far as the purpose of the buttons (in particular I imagine the issue is PAFL, which would be like the audio equivalent of the terms HTML or CSS in web development — pretty much everyone working in audio should know the term regardless of the brand of mixer they are using, along with Solo/PFL/AFL).

    Given that you’re using a Qu-SB, using the PAFL button probably wouldn’t come up as much as with a physical mixer, especially if the Qu-SB is located on the stage – the PAFL button (below the faders) is the one that lets you listen to a (often single) channel or mix in headphones and see its levels on the LEDs of a physical desk (page 23 of the Qu Mixer Reference Guide and page 5 of the Qu-Pad v1.9 Help Guide basically say this). There is a separate option under one of the setup menus that can be used to change how it works between Pre-Fade Listen (PFL) and After-Fade Listen (AFL) modes, which is what PAFL on page 8 of the Qu-Pad Help Guide under the Setup Screen section refers to (I’d guess this is the manual page you were reading).

    The smaller Pre button (next to the On button) for each channel (visible when a mix other than LR is selected) is also routing related and is used to set if the audio signal going to selected mix (the right side “tab”/buttons) for that channel should be affected by the LR fader (pre button deselected) or if it should be unaffected by fader changes in the main mix (pre button selected); unselected might be useful if you have a recording mix or a mix for a speaker out in a lobby where you want some balance changes to the main mix to be present, whereas pre-fader would be used for monitor mixes.

    The app seems to try to imitate the workflow of using the board where it can, the added features for customizing the appearance would be nice. +1 for more custom layers! I don’t think the mixer even stores any information related to custom layers that get created in the iPad app, which is a step further removed from scenes. Given that each Qu should have a unique ID which the app gets, they should be able to add custom layers that get saved based on the mixer connected to, and provide an option to try to remember which scene a layer is associated with; or maybe even easier than that could be adding the custom layer that is in use on the mixer to the app, since that custom layer is stored in the scene files and can change between scenes.

    Switching the stereo mixes to mono would be nice, that would be hard to represent on the physical mixers which only have a single button for the stereo mixes. I think the next mixer up (SQ) allows this, but then the SQ trades some simplicity and easy setup for that flexibility.

    #86548
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    I normally use a Qu Pac so I’m on the app a lot and and don’t really find it too limiting, sure there are couple tweaks I would make but there no big deal.
    Actually I find I can set up and operate the mixer faster using the app than the board
    surface be it a QU Pac or one of the full mixer surfaces, ok sometimes a real fader
    under each finger is handy!

    Most people I hand my iPad to like the app and say it’s easier to get around than some others, same goes for people mixing their IEM’s with the Qu You app and both are from people who have used the QU before but are generally versed in running sound.

    As for labeling the mix tab buttons, I never labeled the aux knob rows on my analog boards, I just set my monitor mixes up on the stage in an order that made numerical sense left to right front to back with drums being last.
    Looking at the numbers on a board or screen is faster than reading a name.

    Yes the custom layers stay with the app and are not saved back to mixer……however
    there is a feature within the app settings in the app manager screen not on the app screen that you can select to send the mixers custom layer back to the Qu Pad app custom layer one.
    That will allow you build a custom layer on the mixer per each scene and when that scene is recalled custom layer one on the app will update with those changes.

    Robert’s post sounds like he’s using a QU SB so there is no way to create a custom layer within the mixer itself.

    I will admit I have not figured out the randomness of the way channels ect are dropped into a custom layer as you assign them. Not a big deal to arrange as needed though.

    #86555
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    “….there is a feature within the app settings in the app manager screen not on the app screen that you can select to send the mixers custom layer back to the Qu Pad app custom layer one.
    That will allow you build a custom layer on the mixer per each scene and when that scene is recalled custom layer one on the app will update with those changes.”

    Try this out before you need to use it though – I gave it a go, but found that it made editing Custom Layer 1 much more difficult, as you can’t insert swap or remove a strip – you need to move everything up/down individually.

    I ended up turning this feature back off, though if you don’t need to edit that layer it’s probably a good tool.

    #86556
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    Try this out before you need to use it though – I gave it a go, but found that it made editing Custom Layer 1 much more difficult, as you can’t insert swap or remove a strip – you need to move everything up/down individually.

    I ended up turning this feature back off, though if you don’t need to edit that layer it’s probably a good tool.

    Other than just to try that feature I have only put it to actual use one time with a multi scene show where I needed the custom layer on the iPad to follow the scenes.
    It worked perfect in that case.

    I actually meant to say…..

    Most people I hand my iPad to like the app and say it’s easier to get around than some others, same goes for people mixing their IEM’s with the Qu You app and both are from people who have NOT used the QU before but are generally versed in running sound.

    #86668
    Profile photo of bagels
    bagels
    Participant

    The Qu-SB app (not the hardware) is what I’m talking about, specifically when compared to apps from A&H competitors, which offer the features I discussed.
    You falsely assumed I did not read the manual, while simultaneously insulting my audio experience. That’s not at all constructive. I am a professional web and mobile app developer with 20 years experience, focusing specifically on UI and usability, which is why my analysis should prove useful. I shouldn’t have to brandish my credentials just to post my opinion in a forum literally asking for user opinions without being harassed by trolls, but I guess this is the world we live in now.

    I think this is a case where blame could be equally distributed. Indeed, there’s no reason to bite someone’s head off for being new or not knowing something, and experience in one area or lack thereof does not determine the validity of an opinion. However, I can also understand the reaction, and if you are able to look at your wording in an unbiased manner you would likely as well. Even your reply would probably aggravate somebody more than placate them, and if that’s the goal, by definition you would be the one trolling. Not assuming something so negative of you, I’ll instead consider what to me is more likely, that you are under-informed and defensive, which can be a bad mix along with the egos we all naturally have, in varying sizes.

    People already pointed out your misunderstanding of PAFL or how it is useful, particularly in live applications, so I won’t focus on that, though I agree that clearly not understanding a relatively simple function demonstrates an unfamiliarity with the field and the specific needs of board ops and other audio engineers or producers (Not that the Qu-SB is likely used by all too many producers, as it’s benefits imo lie most with portable stage rack boxes and live sound, though I don’t know anybody that uses it specifically so I can’t say. Note that is generally how I would talk about something where I’m not sure; I’d acknowledge my POV and the potential angles I’m lacking before giving my opinion, which is of course open to criticism). That lack of understanding isn’t the issue, or shouldn’t be, as nobody was born knowing the ins and outs of audio engineering – they all had to learn at some point, and really one never stops learning, especially in fields with big technological components as the rapid advancements mean there’s always new systems, protocols, standards, functions and anything else imaginable coming out – really only the nature of sound itself, acoustics and music theory, along with some others I’m neglecting, stays constant. Even things like standard audio connections (XLR, 1/4” TRS/TS, Bantam TT, RCA etc.), while much longer in lifespan as industry standards, do change, as is evident with data cable connections both in the audio world and the general technology sector, be it the quick evolution of USB from 1 to 3 to USB-C 3.1 and Thunderbolt (for Mac), the brief reign of FireWire, or resilient contenders like Optical Digital Audio Cables (Toslink, S/PDIF, ADAT, etc.) that continue to be used in newly-made top of the line hardware to this day. So not knowing something itself is hardly a sin, and in fact not many can honestly claim to know most everything in the field, but awareness of what you do and don’t know, along with respect for the time it took others to stockpile knowledge abd experience both go a long way in making people more likely to help and/or generally be friendly and welcoming.

    As with most things in life, the surest way to make a poor impression is to be overly confident about one’s capabilities or knowledge when the only benefit, potentially anyway, is an ego boost for feeling smarter than others. That tends to rub the ‘others’ the wrong way for obvious reasons, and even a total expert that gives off a “smarter-than-you” vibe is not likely to be so warmly welcomed, though if someone is, in fact, that much of an expert, people may listen begrudgingly and will eventually come around to respecting that person’s opinions even if they dislike the person’s personality.

    You, however, kind of gave off that vibe but then made your lack of expertise all too obvious. I promise even just having toned down the wording so that things don’t carry an air of disgust and disappointment, with the unspoken suggestion that you could have done far better, would have made s mountain of difference. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, consider this listbif adjectives and descriptors:
    – “Painful”
    – “awful”
    – “incredibly frustrating”
    – “wholly unhelpful”
    – “shocked and saddened”

    Despite your initial claim that you generally like the app, it doesn’t come off as such, and the phraseology acts like it’s not just in need of some tweaks, but an ill-planned, poorly executed app overall. Phrases like “your mobile devs should understand how to scale font sizes down” also, intentionally or not, suggests that they can’t handle very simple bits of coding, which I know not to be true just from using the GUI on the Qu-16/24/32, which no doubt was developed by the same group, or at least led by them. That won’t particularly even make the AH team want to listen, let alone replies you might get, offended by the suggestion that things were haphazardly thrown together resulting in subpar quality on people’s beloved mixers. Even across firmware updates I’ve seen some impressive improvements. Maybe you do like it, but I promise it doesn’t come across.

    Also, as somebody who can be guilty of the same, I’ll say that using too many big words or an unnecessarily obscure vocabulary can be off putting to those just getting to know you via a post. While I understand that it can just be the way you speak, it can also come across as a deliberate attempt to sound smarter than others.

    It doesn’t really help that impression or the general feel people get to use acronyms like FOH while admitting to have never used the mixer live, considering a live situation is the only one with a FOH engineer. It probably makes some who are FOH board ops think of times they’ve been given unrealistic instructions by people with minimal audio experience, coupled with a presumption that any failure to meet said unrealistic goal is a marker of the op’s own capabilities. That obviously wasn’t you specifically, if someone thinks of such a situation, but it triggers a mindset that isn’t too thrilled to begin with.

    I could be wrong as could others about your experience level, but the PAFL comment stuck out for a reason, being that it’s hard to believe someone could have much experience with boards in particular or audio engineering in general and not understand the purpose, moreso if you read the manual to no benefit. There’s nothing wrong with lacking experience as I said, but people don’t like people pretending to have more than they do, and I suspect that’s part of the sense people got from it.

    It makes sense, too, that you might not have experience with a board and only the SB and an app, and that would explain not understanding some of the layoit or functionality, as it’s meant to be intuitive if you’re used to a board, and so there may be things that seem unnecessary if you are starting on a tablet.

    Anyway, I’ve already written a novel but I had some time to kill. You may just ignore this, but if you take the advice to heart, you’ll probably find your ideas, which may sometimes be very good, are better received. Even had you softened the language a bit and said “I’m new to the Qu-SB and generally mixing (or whatever the case is), and here’s some feedback as somebody learning on the app alone”, along with not insisting a function is useless because you don’t understand it (“It seems redundant and cluttered for each channel to have a PAFL, but I’m not sure I fully understand the use of it, if anyone can enlighten me. From my POV, it seems like it could be hidden in a menu to reduce the business of the GUI” for example, would have never been criticized), the entire reaction would have been different. If you find this happens more than you like (the comment that it’s the way the world is suggests so), I’d recommend taking this advice to heart. Much is in the way you present ideas, not the ideas themselves.

    Oh, two last things: You may well have 20 years web/app dev experience, though I have the feeling that includes amateur and freelance / teenage years experience also from the impression I get, but regardless, if so then having something focused on Apple / iOS rather than android should be no surprise or anything new. Just like graphic designers use Apples far more frequently than a random person, they are also popular in audio engineering – with programs like Logic or hardware like Apollo’s AI, lots more is Apple-only in this sphere than would be viable for something aimed at an average consumer. So that’s really not too strange and they aren’t missing 75% of the market, as someone with all Apple products likely wants an iPad over another tablet.

    Second, idk if this is really a reason here, but you basically said Mackie and Behringer are direct competitors. Mackie isnt a bad company at all, but they are far more entry level in nature than A&H’s line up. Behringer, meanwhile, is known pretty exclusively for copying things that already exist and work and selling for cheaper, having saved on R&D by letting others do it for them and usually on materials and general quality as well. Behringer is as entry level as it gets. There’s a reason, iirc, their mixers with apps are less than 1/2 the price. The target market is different and so comparing the apps doesn’t necessarily make sense – and if you are new to audio gear and find those easier, consider that perhaps it’s exactly because they’re aimed at somebody without a background rather than somebody used to knobs and sliders.

    Phew! With that, hopefully you can give an opinion and everyone can get along just fine..

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