State of the current plugin UI/UX

I agree that maybe setting a number of plugins to run the test could be the best.
Yet, my only fear is still understanding where to place that by looking at the roadmap.
But hey! 1st the roadmap can be changed all the time; 2nd I don’t set the roadmap; 3rd everything needs effort and the “action paralysis” is NEVER the best option. So I guess it’s more understanding how/where to make it fit.
I believe that this together with a few sessions like I describe above for people that have no clue about the MOD platform and we would manage to collect quite a lot of nice and helpful data.


Looks like there are some guys doing node based stuff with JACK already. Well I guess jack itself in a way is a node based editor. Interesting to see how people are using nodes for audio though as it’s a bit different to 3D modelling, rendering, colour grading etc

Also I know Max is like this but Max is individual elements, where we would be using it for plugins that have many parameters and could have a lot of IO


I was thinking if you went down this route you could expose a connection for every parameter to macro things to each other or at least use cv. It’s definitely a rabbit hole


I hope that you weighted the upcoming features properly by customer demand and effort. If this is already filling the next years (of course there are operational, strategic and revenue topics too) then I’m out of luck. But I hoped a bit that this UI thingy will change at some point back there when I bought my Duo X because I almost flaked because of the GUI design :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

For now, this is just about representation in the UI. As far as I understood your architecture, nothing needs to be changed at the core. You could also consider Eurorack and modular synthesizers as “node based” and this is pretty much what Bitwig Grid tries to mimic.


Neat tool! In terms of UI/UX a cross between this and BespokeSynth perhaps, where you can drag any cv-signal onto any parameter to make a new modulation connection? :wink:

(yes, total rabbit hole)


CV control can be mapped to control many parameters, however those connections are not visible in current UI, without entering some menus you cant really see what is happening there. Adding those visible connections to current UI would be probably even more chaotic. Simple node based UI really seems to be the solution. :wink:


The current way of handling CV connections to parameter via menu is awkward and against the rest of the interface design of cable drag and drop. Since CV plugins are becoming a larger feature of Mod a “Cardinal like” interface for connecting them is paramount.

You could (and should) have a switch to turn on visibility for CV, audio and MIDI cables separately.

This way you can enable only the “layer” you are interested to work with (possibly none if you only want to operate knobs and switches).


There is a very big difference between CV ports and CV used for parameter automation I don’t see how you could do this “Cardinal like” for plugins that have a lot of parameters that you’d like to add CV modulation to (that also needs configurations like range, something you can’t just slap on a fake port like that).


Not necessarily. Since Max 7 Cycling introduced the Vizzie and BEAP that are “ready-made patches” for video and audio processing, respectively. These “ready-made patches” are in everything similar to what a plugin is in MOD environment. They have reverbs, delays, MIDI processing, etc.
Just a little correction :slight_smile:
This helped a few times since they introduced it, that’s why I know it well :wink:

I’m just one feeding the requests list, not planning or deciding the roadmap (although we are pretty democratic, so suggestions are welcome from everyone).
Yet, I wouldn’t say that overall a WebGUI improvement is not something necessary. We have a lot of requests specifically on that and a few things could indeed be way more intuitive there. So, arguably, I would say that sooner or later this will be kind of our “Achilles heel”.


I can say that the current development roadmap already has an emphasis in this area :blush:


I’m coming in really late on this thread but I just wanted to:

  • Chime in with my vote that I personally would be MORE than okay with either a radical global overhaul to the GUI standards that developers for the platform are required to conform to, OR a “minimal mode” as others have suggested.

  • Also mention that I’d already voiced my disappointment with the current status quo on space-wasting and frankly inappropriate visual metaphors for things that are not even emulations of stomp boxes in the first place over here on the “suggested features” thread…
    List of feature requests (MOD Dwarf) - #57 by Greatmagnet
    where I received some agreements as well as some dissenters.

In general I just think that this really needs to happen if anyone is going to take this platform seriously, ever. It’s kind of “hobbling” to take a platform that is just SO MUCH MORE than your usual drag-and-drop plugin system and just insist that it still LOOK like one. It’s almost insulting to the grand scheme of what MOD is.


I will say I am mostly in the same boat as you. I use Ableton Live so I’m pretty used to things looking like a spreadsheet and being basically 100% functional

This is a good point about the SDK. We don’t have many options in the SDK for someone to make a plugin that doesn’t look like a hardware device or a tin can. Even if it’s not an emulation. The SDK assets are well overdue for an update

I agree in a way but we really need the data and I have a feeling there will be at least some period of transition. I think if we did a complete overhaul of the UI and removed all resemblance of real world devices, we would cut off a large market of guitarists that are slowly transitioning to the digital world and pidgeon hole ourself to the techno savvy few (or maybe many, this is why we need data).

Yes, our interface is somewhat “silly” to the tech savvy/functional seeking audience and also not entirely up to par for the “boomer” audience. We need to know, how many users fall into each category and how many of our potential growth target customers are in each category. I feel like there will be a decent spread which is why I think providing both is the best path forward.

If the functional GUIs are automatically generated, that provides a minimal, functional interface for those that prefer that (with optional GUIs toggled off), which means there is no extra work to be done making 2 sets of GUIs. In fact, if a dev makes a plugin that doesn’t emulate any real world device, they might even decide that it doesn’t need a GUI at all. The auto generated one will serve just fine even among other plugins with GUIs that emulate real world devices


Agree 100%…I think more what I’m saying is that IF the patch IS an emulation of a basic stomp box, heck yes absolutely make it look like one. No harm, no foul. But if for example you’re creating some lovely complex reverb, delay, sequencer, whatever: not only do these klunky GUIs make it harder to use, possibly worse they actually “say” the wrong thing about what the patch actually “is”.

I myself have many times over already passed by some really solid stuff after the first glance, thinking it was just some basic model of a stomp box digital reverb that nobody really coveted in the first place.


I concur. As a lowly pedal board junkie the current visual set up has been really helpful for my slow on the uptake way of working in the virtual world. So, hopefully this discussion doesn’t lead to getting rid of this familiar visual interface entirely.


Ableton Live isn’t the best example for good UX indeed. But they can’t do a big overhaul because they’d risk that their customers might finally use this opportunity to switch to Bitwig :see_no_evil:

This wasn’t my intention! I hope that a clever overhaul of the existing things will make 90% of the users happy while a dedicated “minimal UI” could be more of a long term goal.


This is a really good point. I think the visual layout and connectivity is very attractive for new users because it makes sense right away. Once a new user is more familiar with how things work, moving to a more functionally-oriented interface is desirable.


I’m now imagining an overhaul of the current interface (slightly less skeumorphic) acting as the “Visual” version, alongside a more minimal “Pro” variant. Separated by tabs in the browser :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Agreed AND have the option to toggle off that GUI (Globally, all GUIS) that makes it look real if that’s the view you prefer

Do you think you would still pass over it though if it had a generic functional GUI that looked similar to many others?

I think you are definitely not the only one so we wouldn’t do that

I do actually think it’s a good example. It’s very logical and minimalistic and focuses on functionality. I think Bitwig also looks great

that may turn out to be the case if everyone is ready for it

This, to me, is skating where the puck is going!

I’m imagining it too! only not tabs but rather a toggle button or something. Like to toggle the GUI layer off. Though that may mean things get nudged around a bit if the ‘GUI state’ is a different size to the ‘no GUI state’. That’s where a grid and snapping might come in handy so it can automatically move things around without having anything overlap


Not at all! “Generic” is kind of a loaded term…a dirty word. But if “generic” means that at first glance what you see is a clean interface that shows you all your available controls laid out in an easy-to-understand-the-signal-flow kinda fashion then hell yes by all means let it be generic.

The thing some folks were mentioning about the Ableton interface (love it or hate it) is kinda what I am thinking when I envision this “generic” module approach: it would have that “vector-based” or “flat graphic” look if you will, where every knob, toggle, meter or slider is just visually constructed of clean basic line work, clear text labeling, rounded corners.

As a 25+ years graphic designer by trade, I can tell you that clean doesn’t necessarily equate to genericism or boring-ness. Visual design is all about communication, and an interface that does its job of communicating function really well without trying to dress things up can be really sexy.


I guess if it is automatically generated then it might not necessarily be the ideal signal flow of information but the plugin dev can determine the order of parameters at least. It would probably just list them top to bottom if it is node style

I love it. It’s straight to the point with no unnecessary frills. Admittedly I also love spreadsheets :sweat_smile: but I love making fancy 3D renders too. There is a place for both I believe.

About knobs vs sliders,
This often gets brought up in on-screen useability. People say that sliders are better but I think it’s a tradeoff for either. Sliders have the advantage that you can easily tap a point along the bar to jump to there. Knobs have the advantage that they take up less space. One thing that often get misunderstood is that the operation of gradually increasing or decreasing is exactly the same for a knob and slider on screen. You just press and slide left or right or up and down. You don’t actually have to “turn” an on screen knob. Nevertheless, in a node style, if parameters are listed top to bottom, then sliders probably make the most sense. However on a GUI, both are good IMHO

I totally agree