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Iterative user interface design in 1991

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  • Robin Dymond
    I seem to be thinking about UX/UI again these days.The following article discusses our development of a 3D audio processing system that used a joystick to
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 12, 2011
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      I seem to be thinking about UX/UI again these days.The following article discusses our development of a 3D audio processing system that used a joystick to control the positions of audio. The system was used in professional recording studios in Canada, Europe and USA. Its a bit of history, but it captures why I think why UX and UI are best designed as the system's underlying functionality is created.

      Iterative User Interface Design in 1991

      http://www.innovel.net/?page_id=13


      Robin Dymond, CST
      Managing Partner, Innovel, LLC.
      www.innovel.net
      www.scrumtraining.com
      Americas: (804) 239-4329
      Europe: +32 489 674 366
    • Larry Constantine
      Robin, Interesting story, but the value as a case study would be much enhanced with some diagrams or sketches (even if recreations) showing what was meant by
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 14, 2011
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        Robin,

         

        Interesting story, but the value as a case study would be much enhanced with some diagrams or sketches (even if recreations) showing what was meant by the complicated and simplified versions of the display and the evolution of the design. More technical detail of the audio processing technique would also be interesting to at least some readers (count me in). I would guess the illusion of positioning beyond the speakers was achieved by throwing the signals out of phase, but would like to know the real dirt.

         

        At the end of the day, it should not be surprising that the audio engineers essentially relied on sound and not sight as the primary feedback. After all, they are designing an aural experience for listeners.

         

        --Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow

          Institute Fellow | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute | www.m-iti.org

          Professor | University of Madeira | Funchal , Portugal | www.uma.pt

          Chief Scientist, Constantine & Lockwood Ltd

      • Robin Dymond
        Hi Larry, Thanks for the feedback. I left the company in 1998, and the Qsystems as far as I know are long gone. Screenshots would have to come from someone s
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 16, 2011
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          Hi Larry,

          Thanks for the feedback. I left the company in 1998, and the Qsystems
          as far as I know are long gone. Screenshots would have to come from
          someone's photos. The complex UI proposed was a 3D projection of what
          a recording engineer would see. Sitting at a recording console, with 2
          speakers in front and a 180 degree field of view. The processing
          channel was to be represented by a virtual speaker whose position
          (angle) and distance (relative size) were controlled by the joystick.
          Today such an interface would be straight forward. We now have
          libraries like DirectX and openGL, and processors that run at 100
          times the speed of what we had then. The interface we actually
          implemented was a top down view of the speakers and listener. The
          180degree sound field was represented by a trapezoid with speakers at
          the top corners, and the maximum position (-90 to +90) the bottom
          corners. Channels were represent by a simple icon, a crosshair or
          something, can't remember that detail. These were all vector drawn.
          When we ran the system on a color monitor the system had colors,
          decent looking layout, a few screen fonts, ability to draw spectral
          plots, etc. However the monochrome LCD trumped the monitor in terms of
          fitnesse for purpose so color and shading were not displayed.
          The audio processing algorithms were invented by the 2 founders. They
          started with a basic idea. Then they did a long experiment with
          subjects listening to tones played with a phase and amplitude
          differential. They would vary the phase and amplitude differences
          until they found the optimal differential for that frequency. The
          result was a complex stereo filter that would provide a sound image at
          a location. We had 8 imaging filters, though we were able to simplify
          to 4. These systems used FFTs and pretty detailed filters. For video
          games and consumer audio much simpler filters were developed that gave
          the effect but with less accuracy. Still the best sounding stereo
          enhancement in my opinion.

          The techmology for pro audio became a plugin for protools, and it may
          still be available on their DSP farm, not sure.

          Cheers,
          Robin.


          On 2/14/11, Larry Constantine <lconstantine@...> wrote:
          > Robin,
          >
          >
          >
          > Interesting story, but the value as a case study would be much enhanced with
          > some diagrams or sketches (even if recreations) showing what was meant by
          > the complicated and simplified versions of the display and the evolution of
          > the design. More technical detail of the audio processing technique would
          > also be interesting to at least some readers (count me in). I would guess
          > the illusion of positioning beyond the speakers was achieved by throwing the
          > signals out of phase, but would like to know the real dirt.
          >
          >
          >
          > At the end of the day, it should not be surprising that the audio engineers
          > essentially relied on sound and not sight as the primary feedback. After
          > all, they are designing an aural experience for listeners.
          >
          >
          >
          > --Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
          >
          > Institute Fellow | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute |
          > www.m-iti.org
          >
          > Professor | University of Madeira | Funchal, Portugal | www.uma.pt
          >
          > Chief Scientist, Constantine & Lockwood Ltd
          >
          >

          --
          Sent from my mobile device

          Robin Dymond, CST
          Managing Partner, Innovel, LLC.
          www.innovel.net
          www.scrumtraining.com
          Americas: (804) 239-4329
          Europe: +32 489 674 366
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