Talk:Completed Proposal: Improvements to Scrubbing - Phase-1

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James' email of 29Sep15

James wrote in an email 29Sep15:


Play and record are indeed modes too, just ones users are much more familiar with. As we improve Audacity I/we would like to be able to do more things we currently can't do in those modes, but that is nice to have, not an urgent problem. The problem with scrubbing being a mode is more serious.

With play and record the cursor is moving and either sound is coming out or new waveform is being drawn. With scrubbing, if the cursor has caught up with the mouse, it isn't as clear that the user is in a mode. Sure, the play button is down, but that does look a bit as if play is active but for some reason stuck. Attempting to select a region won't work, whereas it does work in play. To a user not familiar with scrubbing it looks as if Audacity is broken.

Some random clicking around won't get the user out of the mode that they don't really know they are in.


A solution that would work for my use of scrubbing is that we go out of scrubbing as soon as we release the left mouse, (or release middle wheel - and middle click as well as ctrl-left-click activates scrubbing). That might defeat some of how you use scrubbing. It would though completely satisfy me that scrubbing was no longer 'a mode a user could be trapped in'.

Other alternative design features that could make this mode more OK:

  • Change the green triangle on the cursor, so indicating that it is not recording, nor playing, but some other mode.
  • Change the green triangle on the play button to indicate scrubbing-play (in both cases possibly a double headed triangle would work, indicating bi-directional). Combined these give a clue that clicking on transport buttons could help.
  • Make selecting a region of more than 10 pixels take us out of scrubbing (selecting is probably one of the first things a stuck user would do)
  • Make ESC take us out of scrubbing.
  • Make clicking outside the track take us out of scrubbing.

These are not prescriptive, they are just possible approaches to the problem. Hopefully there is something in the suggestions that from your perspective does not damage scrubbing in any way, and that I and Steve would be happy with as solving the problems for the stuck-in-scrubbing users.

Peter 02Oct15: I have incorporated most of James' bulleted points in the proposal as points 1.1 through 1.4. The "Make selecting a region of more than 10 pixels ... " was not incorporated as you cannot make a selection while you are scrubbing. His suggestion that "we go out of scrubbing as soon as we release the left mouse" should be addressed later in Phase 2.1.

James (talk) 17:00, 2 October 2015 (EDT)

in response to email points by Paul 2-Oct-2015

  • Let's extend ESC generally, so yes, it stops play, record and takes us out of pause too. Let's make it a general 'escape' from mode.
  • I see no need for colour change for play cursor when scrubbing, just shape change.
  • Clicking in the TrackPanel and outside the tracks should stop scrubbing/seeking.
  • Personally not keen on cute icons. Prefer variation on play-cursor, with superimposed symbol indicating whether smooth-continuous play (scrubbing) or whether hopping (seeking).

The above could all be done as part of Peter's 'Phase 1' that shouldn't need endless discussion.

I've not commented on the 3 bugzilla entries. It could be that they are enhancement requests and not legitimate bugs, and that the underlying issue can be addressed in a different way.

  • Peter 03Oct15: The first two are imo genuine bugs. The first #1053 relates to a status bar message that is factually incorrect an misleading (this could even be seen as higher than its current P3 rating). The second #991 is a misleading part of the GUI. pausing is by design' deliberately blocked by scrubbing mode and thus the button and menu item should be grayed out as inoperable for consistency with the rest od Audacity's GUI. The third one #1079 is rendered invalid if we implement your proposal 1.4 (and I think we should). And this last one is the one that could be seen as an enhancement request..
  • Gale 03Oct15: Clicking outside the track to stop scrub (1.4) does not invalidate bug 1079 in my opinion. At the heart of that is an enhancement that says scrubbing is a just another play mode and as such it should work when in other tools.