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Hard To See Tiny Fonts And Small User Interfaces

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:03 am
by Minggi-Moo
Most of the big developers of VST plugins have a least one product in their portfolio that has a small GUI and fonts


For those of us who are already living with less than perfect vision, using and editing within VST Plug-ins with tiny font sizes and small graphical user interfaces (GUI) is a serious and unpleasant challenge.

Even Cubase 8 Professional places size restrictions on on its users in places.

However, I want to single-out two Steinberg products: Curent versions of Halion Sonic (HS) and Groove Agent (GA) as being particularly difficult to work with for those with poor eye sight.

I, like many thousands of professional composers, depend on Sample Libraries and Software Instruments and effects. We need to get the job done quickly and as painlessly as is possible, and we want to enjoy the process !

So then, why do Software Developers like Steinberg make it harder for us to use their otherwise wonderful collections?
My theory is that they believe they have to strike a balance in interface sizes.

However, that notion is seriously flawed because the paradigm that one size can fit all is, in my view, an error of judgement - directed by product managers and programmed by bright young things with brilliant eye-sight !

Perhaps said bright young Product Managers have not considered the flexibility of resizeable windows and scalable fonts and the positive benefit this would have on a users work-flow, especially those who already use site correction in their daily lives.

This sad fact is unlikely to change because it isn't important to the product managers; although it should be.

Accessible and Responsive

Professional website developers design their websites to be 'Responsive' whereby on each device - large screen, smart-phone, and tablets - will display as intended and accessible to all.

We have two words of relevance here: 'Responsive' and 'Accessible'. Native Instruments, Steinberg, Korg and Yamaha for example (there are others) do not appear to place importance on accessibility or responsiveness.

Accessibility is more important because as a protocol, it provides people living with disabilities - including visual impairment - the means to use devices, soft or hard, that able-bodied/sighted folk take for granted.

I use Halion Sonic and Groove Agent within Cubase to quickly mock-up a clients new project initially.
Except, making an initial mock-up with GA and HS is rarely quick because I struggle to see the miniature text in their GUI's.

I would like to think that this issue only effects a small minority of users, but in reality, most of us over 40 will wear specs when reading and working at the computer. So come on Steinberg get a grip ... rise above the crowd by leading the way in good GUI design practices.