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Enhanced Faders

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Published on Jun 18, 2009

Input devices of the audio studio that formerly were physical have mostly been converted into virtual controls on the computer screen. Whereas this transition saves space and cost, it has reduced the performance of these controls, as virtual controls adjusted using the computer mouse do not exhibit the accuracy and accessibility of their physical counterparts.

Previous studies show that interaction with scrollable timelines can be enhanced by an intelligent interpretation of the mouse movement. We apply similar techniques to virtual faders as used for audio control, leveraging such approaches as controllable zoom levels and pseudo-haptic interaction. Tests conducted on five such methods provide insight into how to decouple the fader from the mouse movement to improve accuracy without impairing the speed of the interaction.

The five enhanced mouse-to-fader mappings evaluated in our test setup: (The term zoom level refers to the mapping from mouse ticks to on-screen movement)

Scroll Wheel Zoom: The zoom is adjusted by the scroll wheel of the mouse. Turning the scroll wheel up results in a higher zoom value. Only integer zoom values are allowed.

Perpendicular Zoom The perpendicular distance between the mouse cursor and the fader controls the zoom level. If the mouse cursor is close to the fader, finer adjustments can be made.

Binary Zoom: The binary zoom approach resembles the implementation found in various audio editing software. The fader has a direct mapping between mouse position and fader position. Pressing the right mouse button allows for finer adjustments.

Pseudo-Haptic Zoom: A nonlinear mapping simulates a bump that represents a zone of heightened accuracy. The further the fader is moved vertically from its initial position, the faster it moves until a direct mapping between the mouse pointer and the fader takes over. When the mouse button is released, the zone of heightened accuracy is recentered around the current fader position.

Pressure-Sensitive Zoom: The mouse is fitted with an extra pressure sensor, which is controlled by the thumb. The user can control the zoom value by applying more or less pressure.


Findings:
- On-screen faders with subpixel precision are necessary for fine adjustments in audio software.
- The raw mouse data should be employed in order not to limit the user interaction by the screen boundaries.
- The user tests indicated that two levels of precision (coarse/fine) seem to be sufficient to make quick and precise adjustments.
- Most users performed better with simpler mouse-to-fader mappings and preferred these setups to more complex varieties.

  • Category

  • Song

    • Runner Rambles - Opus 1
  • Artist

    • Opus 1
  • Album

    • Fresh Beats
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • AdRev for a 3rd Party; AdRev Publishing

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