Proposal Improvement of Transport Toolbar

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Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to improve the User Interface relating to the indication of the recording state in Audacity in the Transport Toolbar.
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.

  • Note: Proposals for Google Summer of Code projects are significantly different in structure, are submitted via Google's web app and may or may not have a corresponding proposal page.

The Problem

The current GUI for the Recording indicator on the Transport Toolbar is nowhere near as clear as it could be. When recording is inactive the button is displayed "raised" and in a fairly dull red color , clearly indicating an off state, When the user presses the record button to activate the recording the button changes to the "depressed" display but remains the same dull red color.

Proposed Feature

The user should be given useful visual cues indicating the three recording states:

  1. actively-recording,
  2. armed/paused,
  3. inactive.

Developer/QA Backing

  • Peter +1 for glowing-red button (and -1 for flashing red button)
  • Koz

Use Cases

Not applicable


Active Recording

When actively recording, the button should change color to a much brighter red, a "glowing" red to emulate an LED that is "on" and show "depressed". The much brighter glowing red would more clearly indicate an "on" or "active" state

Transport Toolbar with the record button showing glowing bright red and depressed to indicate the active recording state

The fading smudgy red outside the circular button icon is deliberate and is designed to look like an LED light that is glowing "on".

All my past tape recorders, cassette decks, VCRs, PVRs have behaved similarly with a bright red record light.

Since Dominic originally designed the Audacity GUI based on the tape deck paradigm, it would seem to make sense to add this for completeness of the paradigm.

When this was discussed on the Forum there was an alternative suggestion that the button should change to bright red and blinking (and depressed) to indicate the "active" recording state, but I believe that this would be viually distracting.

Armed state

When the recording is armed but not recording (click Pause then click Record - or just paused while recording) the record button should be displayed as: depressed, standard red, i.e as it currently appears while either armed or actively recording. The Pause button also displays depressed, as now.

Transport Toolbar with the record button showing dull red and depressed to indicate the armed recording state

Recording inactive

When recording is inactive the record button should display as now.

Transport Toolbar with the record button dull red and raised to indicate the inactive recording state


The following Glow-Button idea, may be an inspiration for a more glow-ey record button.

Experiemental glowing glossy buttons, well suited to increased/decreased glow

Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal