UI: Use double taps for pop out menus on note-length toolbar

edited August 2014 in Symphony Pro
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 single tap on tool buttons to either activate a toolbar button selection, or to display a pop out expanded menu of buttons. This UI design gets the job done, and is reasonably efficient in most cases.

However, the current tap/menu UI design is not optimal because it uses a single tap to have different UI meanings, depending on the recent user editing choices and the current state of the “sticky” menus. 

(SP has many sticky menus that put the most recent symbol choice in the toolbar until a future menu choice displays it. Once loaded in the toolbar, users expect to use a single tap to activate it, and a single tap to deactivate it. For example, the sharp/flat menu is one example of “sticky” behavior. Notes and rests are also sticky, because they switch all note-length buttons from notes to rests (or vice versa), and leave the most recent choice in the toolbar.) 

The problem with the current single tap model is that it creates confusion for users when they use buttons that have pop out menus, because pop out menu buttons look about the same as other non-pop-out buttons (eg the tied notes button), but behave differently, depending on their current state. As a result, users get surprised when their single tap doesn’t produce the expected behavior.

Here is what a single tap does on the note-length toolbar buttons:

On inactive no-pop-out buttons (eg tied note), activate the feature
On active no-pop-out buttons (eg tied note), deactivate the feature
This is a good model (toggle buttons), and agrees with intuitive expectations

But look what happens with pop-out menu buttons. Like the non-menu buttons, you expect a tap to turn off the button feature. But instead, a second tap pops out a menu. This is confusing for users – their intent and desire is to turn off the visibly active button feature, so they tap once like on the other buttons, but they get a menu instead of turning off the feature. A third tap on the button is required to collapse the menu and deactivate the button feature.

On inactive pop-out buttons (eg #), activate the button feature
On active pop-out buttons (eg # active), expand the submenu
On active w/ menu showing,  deactivate the button feature


A better approach would use double taps to expand pop-out menus, always. That way, users could easily remember that they should double tap to open a menu. And single taps would alway turn a feature on or off, always. This approach would deliver more consistent UI experience to the user, and make it easier (less thinking about the meaning of single taps) for users to accomplish their note/symbol entry goals.

This suggestion applies to all buttons below the top two buttons -- that is, the Toolbar Menu (notes, symbols, rit, etc) and the Entry Mode (insert/select) buttons. So the double tap policy would apply to all buttons between the whole note (at the top of the toolbar) down to, and including, the keyboard type button at the bottom.

This suggestion does NOT apply to the symbol menu structures (mF, rit, accents, text). The suggested structure and behavior of those menus is covered in a later suggestion posting.

If this suggestion was implemented, the UI experience would be improved with a cleaner, simpler tapping / menu mode. Less confusion would result, because users would never expect a single tap to open a menu – single taps would always behave like simple toggles that turned a feature on or off.

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