Top Usability Issues

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Revision as of 12:53, 22 January 2010 by James (talk | contribs) (New headers.)
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This page is for listing of usability matters with the software that impact on many users. Typically, these will be "issues" rather than "bugs", with no explicit item yet on Release Checklist. Or they could be existing disparate bugs where a holistic approach to fixing them could be beneficial.

Warning icon Detailed discussions of issues should generally be moved to proposal pages with a link from here. In motivating a usability issue, linking to the manual to indicate how a usability issue is currently explained for users can help motivate the call for a change.

Edit Hint: Links to the pages in the manual wiki which show why explaining is tricky could help.

Copy-in versus aliasfiles for uncompressed audio

Warning icon Use of audio by reference (faster) vs copy audio into project (safer) is confusing, and can lead users to lose projects, e.g. by deleting audio they think they no longer need. There's possibly going to be a proposal page about changes in this.
  • BillW 20Jan10: IMO changing the default in Import / Export Preferences to "Make a copy of uncompressed audio files before editing (safer)" would go a long way towards shielding new users from this problem. We could then possibly dispense with "Rule #3" in Audacity for the Impatient (or wherever the "3 rules" are eventually placed).
    • New users are presumably downloading Audacity for the first time, and many are complete novices. Rule #3 may be incomprehensible to them.
    • Seasoned users who prefer this option will have it set in their preferences which will be retained when they upgrade to a new version.
    • Performing an effect on an entire imported track (such as Amplify or Normalize) completely negates the disk space saving nature of the "read directly" preference as Audacity must save (internally) the changed version of the track. It seems to me that if the "Normalize all tracks in project" preference is checked then this will happen automatically.
    • Surely Audacity could check if referenced aliasfiles are available and warn the user rather than blithely playing silence while simultaneously displaying a waveform? This check could be done on opening a project and a comprehensive error message displayed.
    • Perhaps a warning when importing using "read directly"? This could be turned off in the warning dialog or in Warnings Preferences.
    • Is there better wording/description to "read directly"? This confused me initially. What's the opposite? Read INdirectly?
  • Peter 21Jan10: I wholeheatedly support the idea of making the "Safer" option the default. It is mainly inexperienced users (but not always) who fall foul of this. My understanding is that the "faster" option was chosen as the default to make working with Audacity faster for power users. But my contention is that power users are the ones most likely to probe and understand the various settings in Preferences - and in particular understand the import settings there. With Audacity OOTB we should aim to make things as foolproof as possible for the new user.

Save and export confusion

Warning icon Some users don't realise that export is needed to save audio in non .aup formats.