Questions & Answers

Cleaner Layout for the aesthetic-sensitive user

+4 votes
asked Apr 25 in Look and Feel by yusefrashad (560 points)
Studio One’s GUI is aesthetically pleasing to my eye for the most part (although it’s a bit washed out), but I think it could make better use of proximity and negative space.

The toolbar at the top and the console at the bottom look cluttered and busy to my eyes, neither of which are even centered in the window. I wish there was more continuity and consistency across the entire top and bottom strips with a clear and balanced demarcation between groups of functions against a less obtrusive background.  Also, I have mixed feelings about the console being at the bottom instead of the top like most applications on earth.  I just want better use of space, proximity and background. (See my post about typography here (

The “Transfers/Start/Song/Project” buttons in the upper-right corner, and the "Edit/Mix/Browse" buttons in the lower-right corner, are good examples - clean, clear, legible, and functional.

1 Answer

+1 vote
answered Apr 26 by davidicusschacher (330 points)

I don't know why someone would vote this down unless they were just really used to things and wary of change. 

This application has a ton going on, and speaking as someone trying to migrate to it right now, it's tough, and better design would help.

few examples that come to mind: 

  • a little keyboard icon is used to represent Instrument tracks and Melodic Mode
  • keyboard icon is a toggle button on instrument tracks, but audio icon isn't on audio tracks
  • record enable circle looks like mono channel mode toggle (and IMO too much like Monitor icon) looks like precount toggle
  • it's easy to hide things like Sends, then be unaware there's content there. 
    • I can make a track so short (narrow) that it's useless to look at, and very hard to interact with. Why?
    • I had a heckuva time figuring out why I couldn't map a rotary to a Parameter. an hour later, I discover Parameter is visible, but Control is sacrificed if your monitor isn't wide enough.
  • stereo and mono channels look virtually identical. Busses look just like regular channels. 
    • btw, why isn't the input label on channels vertically centered in its field?
  • icons that open drawers/panels can look like toggles can look like labels/indicators. Life is like a box of chocolates I guess.
  • scratch pad gets a triangle drop down menu, but Loop uses a context menu. Track Options uses an icon menu. 
  • sometimes white = active, but others blue = active. haven't figured out the significance yet. (and, in MIDI's case, orange)

and so on

Friction adds up. I know there are reasons for why things developed into this manifestation over time, but maybe it could be looked at again holistically. Maybe I'm still too inexperienced with it to understand the nuances, but the cognitive load is high enough (Studio One is feature rich) without inconsistencies and minor struggles piling up.

If changes encouraged new users, that'd be good for the company, and then the experienced users too.