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Old 06-27-2008, 04:48 AM   #1
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Default Routing Matrix - Usability Improvements

This comes from this thread http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=20155.

The routing matrix can get a little unwieldy as it grows, so here is the result of the discussion we had over in the mentioned thread.

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Old 06-27-2008, 05:08 AM   #2
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This is a much needed improvement ++1 to this getting some love.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:08 AM   #3
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I missed the original discussion at the time, this is my first view of your matrix mock-up.

I'd really like to see in go this way, and soon.

+1
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:00 AM   #4
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wipes drool
types

++1


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Old 09-18-2008, 06:33 PM   #5
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Updated with the idea for the alignment of the track numbers, born in this thread http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php...55&postcount=8

As a reminder, the picture below shows two positions of the mouse cursor, with two highlighted sets of tracks for a simple reason. The track name of the source and destination of the patchpoint can easily be seen when close to the top left, but becomes progressively more work as go further right or down. Thus, it the idea is to include the tracks names as shown in the lower right set of highlighted tracks, so the user once again doesn't need to track all the way to the left or top to see what track he's working with.

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Old 09-19-2008, 05:13 AM   #6
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I like that the groups and folder can be seen...YES. ++1
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:37 AM   #7
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In this case it's just the track colours, but that's a spiffy idea to use the group colours .
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
In this case it's just the track colours, but that's a spiffy idea to use the group colours .
Cool, I love ideas that come to you by error.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:57 AM   #9
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The highlight idea is great!

I would like to reinstate my Matrix request.

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=20161

With the, soon to be grouping options, I think this will be even more beneficial. Select your master in the matrix, then the first and last slave, instead of clicking on each on 3 times.

Thanks airon for explaining how to select multiple sends in the mixer window.

Any opinions?
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Old 09-20-2008, 12:27 AM   #10
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++1 thats a nice idea!
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Old 09-20-2008, 08:25 AM   #11
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I think the routing window now is completely useless. I have to use a ruler to find out what goes where, and I confuse X and Y sometimes. Why not having a routing view like described in this thread:

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=14718

I stopped using reaper because of the impossible routing view and the lack of routing automation along with midi signals.
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Old 09-20-2008, 10:09 AM   #12
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Perhaps now is a good time to introduce a few things in this sector.

The highlighting described in the picture above is just one way this could happen. It was carefully thought through and described in great detail why it looks the way it does, but it's one way to enhance the routing and group matrix.

The modular view may be a good way to represent routing for certain applications. The difficulty lies in how to actually go about it. The shots shown in in the thread Ad0 pointed to (http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=14718), shows a lot of successful approaches that work for music and small numbers of tracks.

How should this be invoked ? How should existing routing be represented , and how useful can that actually be ?

IMO it's unlikely that the developers will study all the possible ways to handle this that exist in other software, just because a bunch of us think it's a good idea. I do think it's necessary to be as detailed as need be and provide explanations of how these methods work, and why they are thought to be useful for Reaper.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:55 AM   #13
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Your last revision of the mockup is right there. I don't know if this is the "right" design but it surely is an improvement over the current one.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:10 AM   #14
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I really like all these ideas about the routing window, but I had one thing to add. In a routing matrix (as well as in an I/O window btw) I expect to see inputs, too. And I mean audio hardware inputs as well as MIDI inputs. Also I miss the Midi out ports in the routing window.

And, one more thing, we should find a way to tell MIDI from Audio-routing in the sends as well. Perhaps it could be differentiated by color of the level indicator in the little squares?
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:18 PM   #15
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Gofer, that is a good idea. The design will be the hardest part.

Send-type indicated by colour or shape of the routing patch point in the routing matrix.

Anyone have some good visual ideas for this ?

About the current mockup, here's a list of things I changed over the original routing matrix design in Reaper :

1) Colum and row to the patch point are highlighted in the colour of the tracks. Users need only scan the edges of the matrix to find out what they're patching.

2) Track names connected to the patch point are highlighted with a larger and bold font. Users need only scan the edges of the matrix to find out what they're patching.

3) Patch point highlighted with two to four pixel black border around its area.

4) Vertical divider lines are dark for easier scanning by the user across the matrix.

5) Horizontal divider lines are light for easier scanning by the user across the matrix.

6) Tracks feature a colour rectangle at the edge of the matrix, indicating custom track colours, adding another quick visual cue to where the user is in the matrix. It has been suggested using group colours instead. A good option ?

7) Folder parents and last child are indicated with the classic folder icons in front of the source tracks

8) Source track numbers are right-aligned in their own column, names are as well. This dramatically improves scanning efficiency for users, due to reduced clutter from the track numbers.

9) Other patch points connected to the source or target tracks are inverted for quick indication of their existence. Scanning by user is reduced.

Additional Behaviors

10) Hold ALT to restrict mouse cursor movement to current row (consistent with envelope editing behavior)

11) Hold CTRL to restrict mouse cursor movement to current column

The primary goal was to achieve a more efficient way to spot what patch points are being created, removed or simply accessed. The tooltip is poorly constructed in that it combines track numbers and name of both source and target track in to one line, which thus often changes dramatically in composition and is therefore very hard for users to scan quickly. Most users would often resort to painstakingly trace the row or column of the patch point instead.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:37 PM   #16
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+1 to the direction of the ideas in this thread and the one linked at the top.

Nice mockups airon!

I'm assuming that the highlighting would happen dynamically, as the mouse hovered over different patch points, prior to clicking... perhaps taking on a more solid appearance once a point was clicked. Is that right?

In any case, this kind of approach would help realize the routing matrix's potential.

Would love to see something like this. But (repeating myself from another thread) for now I'd settle on just being able to zoom in on the routing matrix.

Afterthought: Although it's not as big a deal, the Group matrix shares a certain hard-to-read quality with the router.
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Old 04-03-2009, 03:39 AM   #17
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+1 yes please. Or at least the track color tints for 3.0 please?
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Old 04-03-2009, 04:01 AM   #18
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+1 This would help us with visual guides instead of current behaviour: Guessing.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:16 PM   #19
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Also (already mentioned on other threads)...

1) 45degree angled top labels for better readability

example: http://thorwil.files.wordpress.com/2...bal_09_a_2.png

2) alternating shading (subtle) between rows

(this would also be great on other long lists like the envelopes panel etc)
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:30 AM   #20
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Evan, that'll require a great deal of space and might explode the size of the matrix. The fonts would certainly need to be larger.

Here's a sketch of what it could look like. The highlighted target track does benefit from this IMO.

The Verdana font was used throughout. The target track names are italic 8 point. The highlighted track names are 12 point bold italic on the target, and 12 point bold on the source. The track numbers are always 8 point, bold on the highlights. The Master/Parent switches are light grey with a two pixel space between the box boundary and themselves. Black didn't work and full cubes looked far too dominant, drawing too much attention. The whole thing is about 50% larger now.

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Old 04-05-2009, 10:25 AM   #21
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What if the source and destination labels also appeared on the right and bottom of the matrix?
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:33 AM   #22
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Could work. It'll clutter up the screen slightly, but it's worth a test. It'll certainly blow up the space requirements.

One question I'm pondering is whether it'll confuse the user. Wouldn't we want to the user to focus on just one area when he/she's after the source and target/destination ? I can see it being beneficial when the session gets to be so large that you'll have to scroll around, but then you could have the track names appear at the edges and the actual matrix scroll either automatically when the user approaches the are those names are drawn in, or at least have the middle mouse button function as a 4-way scroll toggle, like it's the system default in Windows anyway.

I can also see the track names and highlights mirroring over too the opposite side as the user scrolls to the far sides, if the project is indeed large enough.

Displaying both at the same time may be a little too confusing.

The idea with the coloured bars and bolded larger track names was to make people just look at those while they move the mouse up/down for the source and left/right for the target.


-edit- Here's the sketch. I can't say I'm convinced that both should be seen at the same time.
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:49 AM   #23
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Right it would be most useful as the project got larger.

And yeah, scrolling and/or zooming is a big factor.

Quote:
but then you could have the track names appear at the edges and the actual matrix scroll
That's an interesting thought. The labels themselves are fixed, and don't need to be part of the matrix per se. Comparable to how an Excel sheet works.

But automatic scrolling as the edge is approached could get kind of out-of-control like.

If the whole thing was easily zoomable (Ctrl+wheel, or Ctrl-plus/minus) and scrollable, like a grab handle, that would cover most contingencies as the project grew.

I don't think there needs to be anything super fancy going on, as long as legibility improves, and the response to mouse movement is fast and unambiguous. The magic is in the matrix itself.

BTW, the folder icons are really useful. I can almost imagine them being on the inside, closer to the grid... but I can also see how that might throw things off.
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:16 PM   #24
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Another usability improvement to the Routing Matrix would be, to be able to hide tracks from being displayed, or have it follow the hide/show settings for the TCP or MCP.

(Don't recall if this has been mentioned already.)
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:31 AM   #25
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That would indeed be useful. You might even want a switch toggling Show All Tracks on and off, for a quicker overview. The matrix is often used to get such an overview and make minute adjustments if necessary. No reason the TCP/MCP view shouldn't be overridden by user choice.

Good call.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:52 PM   #26
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A bump for the kind of updates to the Routing Matrix discussed in this thread.

It's too late for 3 (I would think) but maybe for 3.1? I hope it's on the priority list.

It's overdue....

Reaper's powerful routing is undercut by the current RM. It deserves better. (And so do I!!! )
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:52 PM   #27
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I'm really not sure what this window does? I have never used it, what are the advantages to it and how can I know more about it?? Is it for more separation and headroom?

Thanks Guys!
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:32 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
You might even want a switch toggling Show All Tracks on and off, for a quicker overview. The matrix is often used to get such an overview and make minute adjustments if necessary.
I would like to second that. I realise that the Mixer view and Arrange window (excuse my reaper, I was a logician before) have had major work now in v3.0, unless the Routing Matrix is to be discontinued (bad idea) then it should start to look as friendly as the mixer. At least reflect track colors, make them sizeable, you know!!

It IS the place where one goes to control the routing of item and track to physical and virtual device, rather than a time consuming right click menu from the TCP. Unfortunately it seems one must squint : (

hamish

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:03 AM   #29
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And another idea, for consideration.

... "updented" tracks in folders

[img]http://img13.**************/img13/220/r304dsroutingw.png[/img]
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:48 PM   #30
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Wouldn't the converse of indent be outdent? lol
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:27 PM   #31
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Darkstar, that's a nice idea, but a small issue is nagging. It's visually quite confusing.

Try keeping the track numbers aligned, and only the track names indented. That should line up much better.

In the end though it'll get quite complicated and burn up a lot of space.

Where are all the other graphic designers we have here ? That said, if anyone has good ideas on how to incorporate folders in to the routing matrix, please post here.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:43 AM   #32
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.this deserves a bump.

so here goes:





bump
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:51 PM   #33
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Bump.

This can now be voted on in this issue thread :

http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=1548

EricM's design is pretty much the very first we all had, and it would improve the situation in the routing matrix dramatically.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:25 PM   #34
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I like it more and more...such an amazing mockup, wtg airon!

This will be useful even if we had an optional modular view.

I think this is one of those things that reaper really need to work on soon as possible because new users simply get depressed by the current view of the matrix routings. airon's mockup make it much more fun and easy to follow.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:48 PM   #35
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Voted #26 on EricM http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=1548

thanks
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:47 PM   #36
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I voted 'Yes'!
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:06 PM   #37
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Also just voted yes.

One little nitpicky thing...it would be nice to be able to mute a routing with a single mouse/keyboard combination instead of dealing with a pop-up dialog each time.

Regards,

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Old 07-03-2010, 12:55 AM   #38
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It might be nice if the patch points gave some indication of audio activity. Maybe the little bar could change colour if there was a signal present, or perhaps it could even be like a tiny meter.
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:01 AM   #39
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Hello!

I am a newbie with Reaper here. I'm using 3.65 64 bit atm.

I been looking over the routing Matrix, the concept of which is something I've been looking forward to for years in other software but it never happened. I'm happy to see this in Reaper.

1. Columns and rows should highlight as the mouse passes over. Mouse over a particular cell, and the row and column it is in should highlight.

2. The top row of names should remain "frozen" in place like you can do in spreadsheets. (Whoops, already does this!)

3. The left row of names should remain "frozen" in place like you can do in spreadsheets. (Ditto, already does this!)

4. There should be a means of doing a click and drag, probably with control modifiers, to be able to affect states of individual adjacent cells through multiple rows and columns. Mouse sensitivity in the cell area should be reduced to be more centered during such a click and drag operation so that inadvertent dragging across an unintended cell (at corners) does not affect that cell. Click and drag diagonally and assign input to channels from the audio interface quickly. Click and drag and assign sends from several channels to one. This would be a nicely enhanced capability as opposed to doing possibly hundreds of individual clicks in this matrix routing interface. A click and drag interface here could make some types of setup much quicker and easier.

I have found other means within Reaper to quickly affect several channels in a similar way, such as assigning an Aux Send from several tracks/channels to one channel/track. The potential convenience of the routing matrix is compelling however.

Should this be posted separately? I saw this thread and it seems in the same vein concerning other possible improvements to the matrix routing interface, and probably the best place to post.

I'm thinking that with a frozen set of "name" rows and columns, having the names at the bottom and right becomes unneeded. With large matrices like I would normally have, the idea to have the names at the top, bottom, left, and right, becomes as useless as the present matrix is when you scroll to the right or bottom and the names disappear anyway.

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Old 07-16-2010, 11:05 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lance View Post
1. Columns and rows should highlight as the mouse passes over. Mouse over a particular cell, and the row and column it is in should highlight.
http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=1548

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lance View Post
4. There should be a means of doing a click and drag, probably with control modifiers, to be able to affect states of individual adjacent cells through multiple rows and columns. Mouse sensitivity in the cell area should be reduced to be more centered during such a click and drag operation so that inadvertent dragging across an unintended cell (at corners) does not affect that cell. Click and drag diagonally and assign input to channels from the audio interface quickly. Click and drag and assign sends from several channels to one. All instead of doing possible hundreds of individual clicks in this matrix routing interface. A click and drag interface here could make some types of setup much quicker and easier.
http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=2264

Except I disagree on diagonal click-drag. Can generate too much errors. Leave it at up-down-left-right.
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