Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

DSP, Plug-in and Host development discussion.
quikquak
KVRist
471 posts since 6 Aug, 2005 from England

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:21 pm

Did you once work for Nokia? 😃

User avatar
Russell Grand
KVRAF
1670 posts since 22 May, 2017

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:49 pm

deastman wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:49 am
The window doesn’t even exist, man... it’s all in your mind!
:hihi:

User avatar
Touch The Universe
KVRAF
3546 posts since 2 Oct, 2008

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:12 pm

quikquak wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:21 pm
Did you once work for Nokia? 😃
If you're asking me, that's over my head :hihi:

Got nothing :)
High Quality Soundsets for Lush-101 | Hive | Electra 2 | Diversion | Halion | Largo | Rapid | Dune II | Thorn | and Spire.
http://www.touch-the-universe.com/

AnX
KVRAF
3836 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:30 pm

Touch The Universe wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:41 am
Really dumb question but why don't I see circle vsti's or triangle ones? or vst's with odd shapes that have no gui in the middle and see through.
same reason you dont see a round moog or triangular oberheim
Touch The Universe wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:41 am
Even though it'd be ridiculous, it'd be different and isn't that a good thing to make others notice in synth land?
the shape has to be practical, not aesthetically unique

User avatar
Touch The Universe
KVRAF
3546 posts since 2 Oct, 2008

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:12 pm

Beauty can be practical.
High Quality Soundsets for Lush-101 | Hive | Electra 2 | Diversion | Halion | Largo | Rapid | Dune II | Thorn | and Spire.
http://www.touch-the-universe.com/

AnX
KVRAF
3836 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:35 pm

Touch The Universe wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:12 pm
Beauty can be practical.
only when its profitable

deastman
KVRAF
6953 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:51 pm

Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)

quikquak
KVRist
471 posts since 6 Aug, 2005 from England

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:57 pm

Touch The Universe wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:12 pm
quikquak wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:21 pm
Did you once work for Nokia? 😃
If you're asking me, that's over my head :hihi:

Got nothing :)
Perhaps you’re too young to remember these:
https://www.zdnet.com/pictures/the-stra ... d-gallery/

cron
KVRAF
3147 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:58 pm

Non-square/rectangular interfaces have already had their moment really. There was that weird point in the early 00s when it seemed every piece of software was at it - outrageous individuality ruled and the value of clarity and, most importantly, consistency across applications didn't seem to be understood. There's a bit more consensus about what 'good software design' looks like these days, whereas it feels like the interfaces of the early 00s were making it up as they went along. They kinda look like then-futuristic physical objects that didn't exist - the sort of thing you might want to pull out of your pocket to look cool rather than the sort of thing that looks good on a screen and is easy to use.

Image

Image

User avatar
Music Engineer
KVRAF
3780 posts since 8 Mar, 2004 from Berlin, Germany

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:11 pm

one of my all time favourite articles on ui design:

https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2001/10/ ... ogrammers/

looong - so you may not want to read it in full (although, i recommend it - it's really fun), so let me give a quote:
Fine, so, it’s stunningly beautiful, but the O with a line through it (which actually means “no”) reminds me of “OK,” and the standard on Windows is to have OK on the left, so I wind up hitting the wrong button a lot. The only benefit to having funny symbols instead of “OK” and “Cancel” like everyone else is that you get to show off how creative you are. If people make mistakes because of Kai’s creativity, well, that’s just the price they have to pay for being in the presence of an artist.
i guess, we as audio software programmers have plenty of opportunity to channel our creativity into more meaningful things than guis with extravagant shapes (although, admittedly, i'm not exactly the right person to talk to, when it comes to gui design - my guis are plain and i like it that way)
Image

mystran
KVRAF
5166 posts since 12 Feb, 2006 from Helsinki, Finland

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:00 pm

Music Engineer wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:11 pm
i guess, we as audio software programmers have plenty of opportunity to channel our creativity into more meaningful things than guis with extravagant shapes (although, admittedly, i'm not exactly the right person to talk to, when it comes to gui design - my guis are plain and i like it that way)
I think plenty of plugins already channel their creativity into extravagant shapes (eg. I see Hive right now in the "featured" box in the right side-bar of the site as I'm typing this), they just do it inside the rectangular container they get from the host. While you could make your plugin arbitrarily shaped, you're not going to get a non-rectangular container from any host, so really boils down to whether you want to paint the background yourself or accept whatever the host might choose.
If you'd like Signaldust to return, please ask Katinka Tuisku to resign.

soundmodel
KVRian
667 posts since 28 May, 2010 from Finland

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:08 am

I would imagine it's about conformity. Users will feel better if they don't have to learn new gestures or stuff.

There are still cases like Synplant, which I think are successful.

https://soniccharge.com/synplant

An aspect of musical instrument design should definitely be to also consider "expressive parameters". Synplant particularly has an extensive list of parameters, some of them perhaps unconventional and it makes it less technical to have "draggable", than numeric stuff for example. Also, that some of the params are accessible through the "plant visualization" as well.

JCJR
KVRAF
2497 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Why are all plugins square or rectangle?

Post Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:11 pm

I mostly agree with chron and Music Engineer (among others). GUI thought police from Apple and MS have been forever beating the drum that unusual interfaces are more likely to annoy users than earn gratitude. Just give them the same they already know how to use. There is some wisdom to the notion though I occasionally have reservations.

The notions even bleed into questioning the utility of photo-realistic windows with brushed aluminum, shiny knobs and wood end panels of "real hardware". A cynic might dismiss such GUI as cargo cult talismans, like post-wwII south sea islanders building palm tree B29's on the abandoned air field, in hopes of luring real B-29's to return. :) Though I gather that a sexy GUI might still be a monetary sales advantage even if such might compromise usability.

Ideally a music tool should be so intuitive (not really the correct word) that the user can use the tool while thinking about the music, rather than having to stop thinking about the music to read the labels and locate which of the "OS-approved" identical standard controls actually do what the user wants them to do.

For instance, because MiniMoog and Arp Odyssey have entirely different layouts, after a bit of learning the user can grab the knob he wants on the Mini or the slider he wants on the Ody without having to think about it.

They both do "very similar" things, but I suspect it would be distracting if a MiniMoog panel happened to be laid-out almost identical to an Odyssey panel, or vice-versa. Because the two sound so different, and the controls all have similar-but-different effects, I suspect a musician would have to stop doing so much thinking about the music and do a lot more thinking about finding the proper control, and how that control will respond, if he had a Mini and Ody with nearly identical GUI's.

So there is some validity to having plugins each unique-looking enough that (after a learning curve) the user can grab the controls he needs without reading labels and getting lost in GUI trivia.

Return to “DSP and Plug-in Development”