UI: Use setup options to simplify note-length toolbar
This suggestion is part of a series of related suggestions for improving the Ipad user experience when entering notes manually into the SP score. Improvements generally mean fewer menu levels to navigate, a user context that stays more spatially focused on the score on the screen, and fewer keystrokes to get entry jobs done.
Currently SP uses a left side toolbar to give users fast access to items that are used frequently. Four toolbars are available according to the Toolbar Menu (note entry, dynamics, articulations, and Text). The toolbar contents change depending on which toolbar is selected from the Toolbar Menu. This suggestion relates to the Note Entry toolbar only.
The note entry toolbar is quite convenient, and is probably the most heavily used tool bar in the SP program because it provides buttons for choosing note length (separate buttons for whole notes, half notes, … 1/64 notes), dotted notes, ties, sharps/flats, etc.
The current implementation is not optimal because it does not make the best use of screen real estate. In particular, the space occupied by the 32 and 64 note buttons could be better utilized in most cases, as described below.
I use my left thumb to select toolbar items while holding my ipad. The space occupied by those 32 and 64 note buttons is precious because they are right under my thumb, making them very easy to reach. But the music I work with rarely (if ever) has a 32 note, and never has a 64 note. So the space seems wasted to me. (Granted, other users and other music will use them.
A better approach would be to provide users with setup options to NOT display 16, 32, and 64 notes on the toolbar. This would allow users to customize SP a little bit more to suit their user preferences, without taking any functionality away from users who don’t want to customize.
There are 13 note related buttons on the toolbar (starting down from the whole note), so “recovering” 2 of them for possible reassignment would give 2/13 = 15% more flexibility for users to customize their UI experience on this most heavily used toolbar.
If this change was implemented, users could hide buttons for note lengths they were not interested in, and could use the screen space for buttons they used more frequently. Why make users waste the screen space if they aren’t going to use the buttons? (They could always turn the buttons back on by reversing the setup options.)
When the 32 / 64 buttons were turned off, the rest of the lower buttons would slide upward, and would become more accessible to people who used their left thumbs on ipads to select items from the toolbar.
Also, if SP implemented setup options to hide/show buttons on the toolbar, SP could offer users a larger set of buttons (functionality) to choose from than would fit on the toolbar if all buttons were shown. (Perhaps there are already buttons you would have provided, had there been space on the current toolbar.)
** Be aware, it would be nice if such toolbar setup options were project-specific, because then a project file could tell SP to show the 64th note button (in other words, SP would load and configure the toolbar to restore the settings that were in force when the project was last saved). This introduces the idea of project specific setup, which I think would be a good thing to work toward over time. Users would probably appreciate a UI that could remember the settings that were made for each of their (special?) pieces of music.