UI Design Philosophy and Practicalities

This thread started to make a new thread for the UI discussion from the v0.3 update :slight_smile:

Please let me know if I miss any posts when I do the move!

Edit: Okay, I did the move, I started after the bit that @odevices responded to just so I didn’t disrupt the flow of the thread too much, I think this is okay.

Edit 2: Discourse ROCKS! :smiley:


Team I get that we all feel strongly about different things but I feel the UI design of the 301 doesn’t need to be burdened by justifying anyone’s need to not use a computer.

Improve the UI and work flow by all means, but don’t waste your time trying to invalidate a computer or its uses. (especially since the 301 is one)

This whole I got into modular to get away from computers is a total cop out. I only mention this because I’d like to keep Brian from wasting too much time on making happy to glad changes. I’m not attacking anyone or their preferred methods just suggesting boundaries might be helpful to development.


gorgeous…thank you for cutting to core issues here.

I think you missed @jj.kidder’s point which to me was keeping the immediacy of the UI and not having to memorize context depending changing button functions that are not labeled.

Also I don’t see why the whole I got into modular to get away from computers should not be valid for someone - but this might be discussed somewhere else, if it has to.

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On the ER-301 Product page it says:


Let me refine that a little more; I’m simply suggesting that handicapping the 301s UI just to keep it straight forward will only hurt how many things it can do, and that is a design direction I would genuinely like to avoid. I’m not suggesting your comments imply that, I’m just trying to stop that ball from rolling before it ever begins.

Let me refine that a little more; I’m simply suggesting that handicapping the 301s UI just to make it multifaceted will only hurt how good you can do things with it, and that is a design direction I would genuinely like to avoid. I’m not suggesting your comments imply that, I’m just trying to stop that ball from rolling before it ever begins.


In my day job I am a front-end developer. I make websites that are purpose-built to a particular task. One of the reasons that I have gotten good feedback on my designs is that I make sure that my users are generally happy when ensconced in the task, and nothing untoward is happening to them. The reason I raised a fuss is that the interface contained options that aren’t currently labeled. How do you know about them? You just have to know about them. It’s not just a disincentive to forgetful old me–it is a disincentive to any new user. It makes them refer to the documentation unnecessarily, since indication is not a hard problem.

Brian said

I don’t think of wayfinding as veneer. This could be because of the bias of my day-job as a front-end web guy. I think that well-considered capabilities are that way because of context, and context should provide clues about how work should flow.

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I very much disagree with that assumption. I get you don’t agree with me. I think your mocking reuse of my comment illustrates that. Ready to move on?

I’ll pm you. I didn’t mean to sideline this thread like this.

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I did not mean to hurt your feelings by reframing your words. What I tried to illustrate is that there are different views on this.

I had understood your comment in a way that you were under the assumption that your view is the the more sensitive one and you had to start an endeavor to stop the discussion going into that direction. I don’t see much sense in doing so in an open community.

Also I don’t see how discussing UI changes and design goals is sidelining this thread - my aim is to give constructive feedback to Brians great work about the feelings and needs of the people using his designs.

No apologies necessary, my feelings were not hurt.
However, if you’d like me to take your points seriously and furthermore to discuss it with you, it helps if you use your own words. This demonstrates an attempt to understand one another and not simply a desire to quarrel. Absent the context of face to face conversation I tend to err on the side of insult. Personal failing.

I’ll create another thread about the whole moved into modular to get away from computers and my beef with it.

I think any disagreements could be largely mitigated by keeping to specifics rather then general philosophy.

I have the utmost faith in @odevices approach to UI and trust that all will come good in time, all that is required is a little patience!


You can have your beef, but I’m not sure it’s a productive thing to pursue this further on the forum, even in another thread. Sure, the line is blurring a lot, especially with the expert sleepers stuff and things like VCV rack, but at the end of the day, I think this is all personal preference and there is no argument and battle to be won. Same thing as the digital vs analog thread we had here a short bit ago.

Yeah I was typing it up, and while I think the point is valid, and important, I think too many people will misunderstand it, without really thinking about it. So I’ll just say it here and we can move on.

The reason why I think this is important for this conversation, is because a bias against computers and how people use them could unnecessarily remove interfaces and UI options that would be great simply because it smacks of using a computer. This whole I’m using a computer, but don’t remind me of it mentality is just totally not productive. That’s all I’m really getting at.

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Maybe I should put it another way; by addressing specific UI issues and suggesting solutions, anyone can inherently express their philosophy but without explicitly trying to apply one view or another on the whole development process.

Generally speaking tasks represented in a UI will naturally lend themselves to one approach or another and having the freedom to choose these paths freely is exactly what I think is making the ER-301 a ‘third option’.

For the record I don’t have a problem with any of it so far, I’m quite happy for there to be hidden extras, a little like a treasure hunt or getting to know any instruments little secrets - it’s all good!

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I typed this to @2disbetter in a dm, but since conversation continues here as well…

Music is a high-effort, high-reward activity for me, and easily derailed by low-effort, high-reward activity (web browsing), so to that extent, looking up documentation basically derails my music making inclination. And since the labeling is straight-forward to solve as a problem, it is a needless problem. That’s all.

Facebook notifications do all kinds of crazy things to my dopamine. Which is their purpose which they serve well… So that’s why I’m saying don’t take the user to the browser. It’s not anti-computer (say for music purposes), so much as anti-browser and a destination that dis-incentivizes music-making.

This sounds more like a personal discipline issue than an ER-301 UI development issue to me :cat:

It’s one I have had to deal with myself - so I keep offline copies of things I need to refer to and turn the internet off when I am not using it - it completely removes any possibility of annoying notifications distracting me.

And really… f*ck Facebook! :smiley:

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Eh. The modern world is filled with incentives to look at the computer. Making music is what I do in order not to look at my computer. The copy on the website sold me the device. I think my user story is valid.

Couldn’t agree more. I kind of have to be on there right now for various reasons, but the notification system totally messes with my chemistry.

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