big usability issues - I bought it but I'm lost in it

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laurentaa's picture
laurentaa
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Last seen 15 years 1 month ago

big usability issues - I bought it but I'm lost in it

I only just got HN 1.2, latest version as of today, and I already both love and hate it a lot.

Huge potential but impossible usability.

So can anyone please please tell me:

- Why, right now, even if I do File-New and get a fresh window, the "Instrument" menu item in the Playback menu is disabled? (the only way I could find to have it enabled was to restart HN completely)

- Why, after having restarted HN, and selected menu "Edit"-"Pattern", the "File"-"New" menu item in the pattern window is disabled. Also why use the term "File" in the pattern window? What "files" are we talking about here?

-Why, in the pattern window, on a right mouse-click, the "New" menu item is always disabled?

-Why, in the pattern window, The menu "Instrument-New" is always disabled?

-Why does the manual tell me to go to menu "Window"-"New Pattern" and I cannot find this menu item anywhere? (ok that one I found, the menu is "Window"-"Pattern" and it's the documentation that's wrong)

- I installed midi yoke and just cannot find the way to have HN control my VST instrument. despite reading and rereading the "How to Control Software Instruments" tip. After having spent much time to find the "Drivers and Ports" tab that's in the tips screenshot ("Drivers and Ports"is never mentioned in the documentation, it's "Drivers + MIDI Ports" there) I started trying get a routing to work, but I can't get any sound out of my VST's.

The list of unexplained behaviors goes on and on, using this software is very very frustrating.

There is a general problem in the interfacce that's hard to describe, but I'll try:
- The only way to do many things is to enter some "input mode" that is never documented and never made explicit in the look of the interface, it happens to me all the time to do something in the interface and a few minutes afterwards try to do the same thing, but to be completely unable!
- The setting of parameters and the reporting on what the parameter value is are all mixed up, clicking on the same thing at different times has completely different effect.
- There are menus all over the place, each of the many windows has its own set of different menus, not only do I have to remember what menu to use, I also have to remember on which window that menu was. These windows menus look all the same but do different things...

May I suggest to the developer that instead of creating video guides showing step by step the complicated way to do simple things, that they rethink the user interface, in the following way:

- less menus, have only one way & place for the user to do each action.
- never have a menu item disabled, instead have it enabled but when the user select it, if there is a *good* reason why the action is not possible, display a message that explains that it is not possible and WHY.
- if you really must have a special "edit mode" that allow to change things when certain conditions are met, and a "uneditable mode" when certain conditions are not met, then make it very clear to the user in what mode he is!
- instead of having a lyrical manual saying all of what HN can do, have a simple user guide that has screen shots of each windows and says what the system does when the user does something in each one of the interface elements of the window.
-have contextual help accessible from the many help menus (one help menu on each window, but all of them do the same thing: pointing me to the .ppt document)

Thank You

ps. still a very unique piece of software this is...

andre's picture
andre
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Last seen 5 hours 4 min ago

Hello Laurent,

I see you are having problems getting comfortable with HN. I'm however sure the confusion is due to a few misunderstandings. Hopefully my answers below will clarify this. If you still have problems, please contact me directly (use the support ticket you just opened) - thank you.

Why, right now, even if I do File-New and get a fresh window, the "Instrument" menu item in the Playback menu is disabled? (the only way I could find to have it enabled was to restart HN completely)

In the palette window, this doesn't happen, no matter how often I try. In which particular window do you see this happen?

Why, after having restarted HN, and selected menu "Edit"-"Pattern", the "File"-"New" menu item in the pattern window is disabled. Also why use the term "File" in the pattern window? What "files" are we talking about here?

When selecting "Edit - Pattern" from the palette window, this opens an editor on the currently selected pattern. There you have the option to change this pattern and save it to a file or to the internal pattern selection menu.

If you want to create a new pattern, please open an empty editor with "Window - Pattern". Then the "File - New" item will be enabled. I understand this can be confusing and we'll sure consider enabling the "File - New" item in any case.

The term "File" refers to a pattern here.

Why, in the pattern window, on a right mouse-click, the "New" menu item is always disabled? Why, in the pattern window, The menu "Instrument-New" is always disabled?

Due to performance reasons, real-time patterns currently support up to 6 instruments only. The item is disabled, if there are already 6 instruments. If you want to add a new instrument, please make sure to make room for a new instrument first.

Why does the manual tell me to go to menu "Window"-"New Pattern" and I cannot find this menu item anywhere? (ok that one I found, the menu is "Window"-"Pattern" and it's the documentation that's wrong)

This is a spelling error. Thank you for reporting it. We'll fix that.

I installed midi yoke and just cannot find the way to have HN control my VST instrument. After having spent much time to find the "Drivers and Ports" tab that's in the tips screenshot ("Drivers and Ports"is never mentioned in the documentation, it's "Drivers + MIDI Ports" there) I started trying get a routing to work, but I can't get any sound out of my VST's.

You will need to run the instrument in standalone mode (EXE), or load it into a VST host in order to play your instrument with HN. Please be sure to select "Midi Yoke 1" for input at the host program. In HN, select "Midi Yoke 1" as output driver for the port your HN device is sending on (port 1, for example). Please also check midi channel settings on both sides.

The only way to do many things is to enter some "input mode" that is never documented and never made explicit in the look of the interface, it happens to me all the time to do something in the interface and a few minutes afterwards try to do the same thing, but to be completely unable!

I'm pretty sure this must be a misunderstanding. There are no hidden modes. Could you provide a concrete example? That would help me understand what you mean.

The setting of parameters and the reporting on what the parameter value is are all mixed up, clicking on the same thing at different times has completely different effect.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. What parameters in particular do confuse you?

Thank you for your feedback regarding the user interface. I assume most of your points are related to disabled menu items in one or another way. I understand that disabled items can be confusing sometimes, but it is pretty standard to use them in the way we do (AFAIK, always keeping them enabled in order to show the user an explanation why they are disabled is very uncommon). We'll still have a look at it and see if something can be improved for next releases.

Albeit the manual being a bit "lyrical" at places ;-) there are screenhots of all windows and explanations for all the items in them, what they are doing etc. Please let me know which particular window or item you are missing.

still a very unique piece of software this is

Thank you very much. We appreciate that. I hope you'll soon get more comfortable with the software. We already improved many things (e.g. with the MIDI Setup) and will release them with the next update.

Andre

laurentaa's picture
laurentaa
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Last seen 15 years 1 month ago

ok, so it's better with the new version
please take into consideration the suggestion for interface improvements
Cheers

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