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StruckingFuggle

Why doesn't Helix use the icons for the blocks?

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It's not like they aren't using the icons at all.  They're in HX edit just to the left of every single choice in HX edit.  Does somebody else own the patent on that?  I really wish Helix would show the same pedal Icon they use in HX Edit for the block picture.   A Kinky Boost and a Scream 808 show up as the same  generic orangish block called "Dist" (which we apparently can't rename?).  

 

I get annoyed having to navigate to the block or click on it in HX Edit to figure out which block it is.    

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If you assign it to a switch it tells you on the scribble strip what it is. Editing from the front panel is almost always easier and faster

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The Helix doesn't show individual custom icons for different types of distortions or compressors or amps because it's assumed we all know how to read.  A distortion block or compressor block shows up as the same type of icon in a specific color in the signal chain as a quick identifier for what that block does in the signal chain, even though you might have to select that icon and READ what type of element is used in that block.  Those icons are consistent across ALL of Line 6's product line.  I didn't buy my Helix to be entertained by cutsey icons and pictures, I bought it to dial in signal chains quickly and easily, and it does an exceptional job at doing that....even though it requires that I be able to read....

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Now now, no need for that. I'm sure he can read.

What he's saying is that it's irritating him to have to activate the block before being ABLE to read what the thing is.

You don't have everything assigned to a scribble strip and you can't see from them to which block they are assigned to so that's certainly not the answer. Doesn't work from snapshot mode either.

Using the joystick to get to the block you want to find out what is is can be kind of irritating and certainly not faster than clicking on it in Editor.

Especially when you accidentally turn the joystick knob while doing it (no undo).

You have to agree that it's at least sometimes annoying when you get to a patch and can't see what Amp and Cab are in there, for instance.

 

Personally I get by with is without too much irritation but I see where the OP is coming from.

Esspecially when now seeing small "'cutsy" icons are in there, the question why they are not on the signal chain is a valid one.

It would make reading the chain and thus editing it easier and quicker.

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Now now, no need for that. I'm sure he can read.

What he's saying is that it's irritating him to have to activate the block before being ABLE to read what the thing is.

You don't have everything assigned to a scribble strip and you can't see from them to which block they are assigned to so that's certainly not the answer. Doesn't work from snapshot mode either.

Using the joystick to get to the block you want to find out what is is can be kind of irritating and certainly not faster than clicking on it in Editor.

Especially when you accidentally turn the joystick knob while doing it (no undo).

You have to agree that it's at least sometimes annoying when you get to a patch and can't see what Amp and Cab are in there, for instance.

 

Personally I get by with is without too much irritation but I see where the OP is coming from.

Esspecially when now seeing small "'cutsy" icons are in there, the question why they are not on the signal chain is a valid one.

It would make reading the chain and thus editing it easier and quicker.

 

To be honest, I really don't think about it much.  I rarely use the HX Edit app other than to backup presets or the system and load new firmware releases.  I've always edited directly from the Helix since I certainly don't want to have to haul around a laptop at a gig if I need to make some adjustments.

 

I suspect it might be a hard sell to convince Line 6 to change the icon layout on the Helix screen as that would make it inconsistent with the rest of the Line 6 line of products,  I have to say it's really convenient and quick when the rhythm guitar player needs me to make some adjustments on his Spider V amp and it presents a consistent interface with my Helix.

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Agree, @Dunedin above was a fairly unnecessarily condescending response for what was a fair enough question raised.

 

I do like the way Bias and IK do keep the icons in the chain, let's you know at a glance what specific delay etc you are using. Having said that the Helix overall is far better than those other company's solutions imho so can't have it all.

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I don't necessarily need a separate  icon (although that would be cool) for each effect, but it would be nice to know what each block was with one look of the screen, not just what category it's from. Just a little label would help.

 

I have one other quick quibble which I should probably put in a separate post.

 

In HX Edit, when you click on the input icon, the noise gate parameters come up first. Well I have a Variax. Once I've set the noise gate parameters, I mostly adjust the Variax parameters and it's kind of a pain to constantly have to click on the Variax tab instead of it normally being there when you click on input. It's minor, I know, but I'm constantly thinking it as I create patches.

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Using the stylized icons was just part of the UI/graphic design decision early on. I saw a few different mock-up ideas for what the editor would look like, and some involved denser graphics on the signal flow view, and my vote was for the icons. I thought the individual pedals actual made things look to busy. The thing I like about the icons and the color-coding is that even if you don't know the exact model right away, you can look at the signal flow and immediately get an idea of what's going on. If you have a little picture of, say, a RAT pedal, you don't have the immediate association of, "oh, this is a distortion"... So I think it might be kind of counter-intuituve, but I think the icons actually make things faster in a way.

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I get the icon choice. But I find myself looking at the screen and wanting to see what's being used in a quick glance. So actually labeling them what they are would help. Or maybe let me label them myself?

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If I'm running in 8 snap mode, and pull up a preset that has a kinky into a screamer, I can't tell one orange block from another. It looks exactly like the preset that might have a kinky into a compulsive. If they used the pedal icons, I'd instantly recognize it.

 

What if I have a preset with three distortion blocks, and I only want one engaged at a time? I can't tell just from looking at it which of the orange blocks is scream, which is boost, which is drive.

 

Maybe I don't have a free pedal scribble to assign to just that block just so I can "read" which block is active.

 

 

 

It's not "cutesy", it's just good UI feedback.

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It's not like they aren't using the icons at all.  They're in HX edit just to the left of every single choice in HX edit.  Does somebody else own the patent on that?  I really wish Helix would show the same pedal Icon they use in HX Edit for the block picture.   A Kinky Boost and a Scream 808 show up as the same  generic orangish block called "Dist" (which we apparently can't rename?).  

 

...

 

I feel the same way and have had this in IdeaScale since October 2015. Seems like years ago.  ;)

Vote here:

https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Add-text-labels-and-or-customizable-Icons/787888-23508#idea-tab-comments

 

UPDATE: Modified idea to include the use of text labels as a first choice. Second choice would be to allow custom labels where the user could design or use icons that were more meaningful to them or even an icon that included desired text.

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I am impressed by anyone who could instantly recognize a specific FX pedal, among the many dozens available, by its icon. I prefer the coloured generic block because at least I know instantly what sort or category of FX it is. Personally I can't distinguish between a Rat, Fuzz, Bubble Phaser, Spring Reverb, or anything else by a little picture of the actual real world pedal.

 

I think I would start to feel like I'm in the middle of a game of Where's Waldo.

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I am impressed by anyone who could instantly recognize a specific FX pedal, among the many dozens available, by its icon. I prefer the coloured generic block because at least I know instantly what sort or category of FX it is. Personally I can't distinguish between a Rat, Fuzz, Bubble Phaser, Spring Reverb, or anything else by a little picture of the actual real world pedal.

 

I think I would start to feel like I'm in the middle of a game of Where's Waldo.

I see the point but if they could Just have the name of the effect would be very helpful.

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Using the stylized icons was just part of the UI/graphic design decision early on. I saw a few different mock-up ideas for what the editor would look like, and some involved denser graphics on the signal flow view, and my vote was for the icons. I thought the individual pedals actual made things look to busy. The thing I like about the icons and the color-coding is that even if you don't know the exact model right away, you can look at the signal flow and immediately get an idea of what's going on. If you have a little picture of, say, a RAT pedal, you don't have the immediate association of, "oh, this is a distortion"... So I think it might be kind of counter-intuituve, but I think the icons actually make things faster in a way.

 

 

I am impressed by anyone who could instantly recognize a specific FX pedal, among the many dozens available, by its icon. I prefer the coloured generic block because at least I know instantly what sort or category of FX it is. Personally I can't distinguish between a Rat, Fuzz, Bubble Phaser, Spring Reverb, or anything else by a little picture of the actual real world pedal.

 

I think I would start to feel like I'm in the middle of a game of Where's Waldo.

 

Even if you do fall on the side of the fence that prefers an icon without text you have to admit that at least providing a picture that differentiated for example between a phaser, chorus, or a tremolo, might be helpful. Even better IMHO would be the addition of text that told you exactly what was in the preset from the home screen. Make the text an option, if need be, that can be turned off for those who find it visually confusing. I am definitely in the camp that would like the icons to reflect what they are with text above, below, or beside them (inside them would be tiny and require redesigning the graphics). However, if you have to go with a purely graphical paradigm some more specific categories or allowing custom icons would be preferable to me so at least the icon for every effect in a given category doesn't look the same. Some categories, "Mods" in particular, include effects of very different types and purposes. I would love to be able to see at a glance exactly what specific versions of amps and effects are in my preset.

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I am impressed by anyone who could instantly recognize a specific FX pedal, among the many dozens available, by its icon. I prefer the coloured generic block because at least I know instantly what sort or category of FX it is. Personally I can't distinguish between a Rat, Fuzz, Bubble Phaser, Spring Reverb, or anything else by a little picture of the actual real world pedal.

I think I would start to feel like I'm in the middle of a game of Where's Waldo.

Those icons are 48*48px, with a good density given the generous 800x480 6.2†screen, not that far from what you have on your PC or Laptop(talking PPI not Res). Im sure you recognize your PC apps by those icons pretty good. :)

 

I do agree they would be very helpful, especilally for on the fly block scrolling.

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Using the stylized icons was just part of the UI/graphic design decision early on. I saw a few different mock-up ideas for what the editor would look like, and some involved denser graphics on the signal flow view, and my vote was for the icons. I thought the individual pedals actual made things look to busy. The thing I like about the icons and the color-coding is that even if you don't know the exact model right away, you can look at the signal flow and immediately get an idea of what's going on. If you have a little picture of, say, a RAT pedal, you don't have the immediate association of, "oh, this is a distortion"... So I think it might be kind of counter-intuituve, but I think the icons actually make things faster in a way.

 

This is exactly what my guess behind the icon choice was.

 

Not to mention how many more icons one would have to memorize if it showed unique ones for every block..is that a chrome custom wah or the chrome or the weeper or the ... you get the picture.

 

And they would be tiny.

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I would very much like to have the choice to show generic block type icons, or specific block icons. 32 blocks is a lot to distinguish when there are many of the same type in a complex signal path. As the number of blocks increase (as they will in 2.5), it will get harder and harder to distinguish elements of a signal path since there are so few block types and so many blocks. That is, a UI design that works for one scale doen’t necessarily work at a much larger scale.

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I wouldn’t be opposed to having text labels at each block, at least in the editor. I don’t know if it would be feasible on the Helix screen itself.

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I am impressed by anyone who could instantly recognize a specific FX pedal, among the many dozens available, by its icon. I prefer the coloured generic block because at least I know instantly what sort or category of FX it is. Personally I can't distinguish between a Rat, Fuzz, Bubble Phaser, Spring Reverb, or anything else by a little picture of the actual real world pedal.

 

I think I would start to feel like I'm in the middle of a game of Where's Waldo.

 

Btw, I agree that if you just went with icons you would be limited by the amount of detail you could place in it. Still and all, I bet you would be able to distinguish between an icon of a Rat that was a black box with the vague outline of a rat and a bright orange box to represent a Boss DS-1 or a different colored icon with a vague ram's head or claw outline for a Clawthorn drive. Going off the rails here though. I had not really envisioned that level of detail or that every effect would require its own icon. Some minor changes to shape, color, and/or design that increased the number of available choices would be fairly sufficient up to a reasonable number of icons. Not sure what that number is but the human eye and brain can definitely differentiate between more than the number currently on the Helix.

 

The best option by far however would be to include at least an optional text label with the icons. If text was added the current categories(which depend as much or more on color differentiation than graphic) would work just fine and would probably not require any icon additions until Line6 comes up with some funky new effect that doesn't fit in any existing category.  :)

 

Searching the internet for "icon usability" brings up a ton of articles  Wow there is a lot out there, people have spent more time researching this topic than I might have expected. Just a couple of links I read through:

http://uxmyths.com/post/715009009/myth-icons-enhance-usability

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/icon-usability/

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Those are interesting articles. Being able to customize the text and icon would be the solution.

 

The icon needs to mean something, and link to a familiar experience. If I could assign the icon picture AND change the text, I could personalize the UI for my own experience.

 

It'd be what is familiar to me, just like my pedalboard. I don't have to memorize 200 icons. But I can draw you a EP boost, a tube screamer, and an SD1 from memory. I use them all the time.

 

Right now the generic icons and text are not enough visual feedback. Not the end of the world, I just want it to be more descriptive.

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While I can see where you all are coming from, and I agree that it would be nice to have better distinction between types of modulation effects (and, now that legacy effects will just be legacy effects, will they all share one icon regardless of type?), I don't find it to be particularly necessary 99% of the time. Plus, how does one visually represent reverb or chorus and how are we supposed to remember what icon is meant to represent that? For example, I don't agree with Line 6's color choices for what represents what - I typically associate blue with reverbs as I think of reverb as a "sky" sort of effect. So that always confuses me.

 

I don't even use the actual effect names on my scribble strips because I don't really need to know that it's a Rat when I am on stage, I just need to know that that button is distortion. So I name it "Distortion" or "Fuzz" or "Verse" or something usefully descriptive. Once that preset is built, I couldn't care less what the actual pedal is supposed to be so long as I know what buttons turn on the sounds I want. Honestly, I don't really even need the big screen when I am performing except to know that I am on the right preset. Scribble strips are all I look at. So, for me at least, the icons are not super useful past the initial preset creation stage.

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Icons are a great idea.  Having a visual icon that looks like the component queues your brain to what sounds you can expect. 

 

It's also just looks cool  :)

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Since Helix was announced in mid-2015, Line 6's Helix Senior Project Manger "Digital Igloo" has mentioned in several videos and numerous online posts that, in essence, Line 6's Helix UI/UX and Helix Software UI/UX design intentions have never intended to be Skeuomorphic. 

 

FYI: "Skeuomorphism, is the design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts. Skeuomorphism is commonly used in many design fields, including user interface (UI) and Web design.... whatis.techtarget.com/definition/skeuomorphism

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While I can see where you all are coming from, and I agree that it would be nice to have better distinction between types of modulation effects (and, now that legacy effects will just be legacy effects, will they all share one icon regardless of type?), I don't find it to be particularly necessary 99% of the time. Plus, how does one visually represent reverb or chorus and how are we supposed to remember what icon is meant to represent that? For example, I don't agree with Line 6's color choices for what represents what - I typically associate blue with reverbs as I think of reverb as a "sky" sort of effect. So that always confuses me.

 

I don't even use the actual effect names on my scribble strips because I don't really need to know that it's a Rat when I am on stage, I just need to know that that button is distortion. So I name it "Distortion" or "Fuzz" or "Verse" or something usefully descriptive. Once that preset is built, I couldn't care less what the actual pedal is supposed to be so long as I know what buttons turn on the sounds I want. Honestly, I don't really even need the big screen when I am performing except to know that I am on the right preset. Scribble strips are all I look at. So, for me at least, the icons are not super useful past the initial preset creation stage.

 

I, and many others I believe, would find it to be very helpful. I guess technically, nothing is absolutely neccesary. And I'm more on the "put the name in the label" side than having an icon. For example, If I see "808" under the Distortion icon, I know two things. It's a distortion and it's the Tube Screamer. Otherwise I have two things, the icon and the label, telling me the same exact thing. That's a waste of precious screen real estate to me. And makes me have to do several more things to find out what kind of distortion is programmed in that block. Why not keep the current icons and just label them what they are. Or better yet; let me label them. I get why you wouldn't use them. And that's fine. But I would. A lot!

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I think that having the icons wouldn't be very good if you have your Helix on the ground and you're standing up.  The colors / titles would make it easier to see.  And if you're in performance mode you can see the names of the pedals on the strips.  And I think you can change the names on the scribble strips so you could name the pedal after what is actually is.  Granted you'd have to do it for every preset (I don't think it transfers with snapshots) but it is doable.

Perhaps a good compromise would be the ability to change the names of FX in the menus.  So when you bring up a list of blocks in the menu you could name Minotaur as Klon and it would read that way in the menus and on the scribble strips.  Just a thought.  Dunno how feasible that would be.

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I think that having the icons wouldn't be very good if you have your Helix on the ground and you're standing up.  The colors / titles would make it easier to see.  And if you're in performance mode you can see the names of the pedals on the strips.  And I think you can change the names on the scribble strips so you could name the pedal after what is actually is.  Granted you'd have to do it for every preset (I don't think it transfers with snapshots) but it is doable.

 

Perhaps a good compromise would be the ability to change the names of FX in the menus.  So when you bring up a list of blocks in the menu you could name Minotaur as Klon and it would read that way in the menus and on the scribble strips.  Just a thought.  Dunno how feasible that would be.

 

I use the scribble strips and those don't solve the problem. I do a lot of my editing on the computer in the Helix Editor. And, as you said, you have to assign them for them to show up in performance mode. Which makes even more steps that wouldn't be necessary if this simple little thing were added. And if I used every available block, there wouldn't be enough scribble strips. And if I had, for example 4 delays in a patch, one at the beginning, two in the middle, one at the end, your "solution" doesn't tell me where in the path they are. And no, I don't remember where everything is in every one of my patches. Let alone a patch I may have gotten from someone else.

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Because it's really busy here today, I'll repost this madness from another thread, which is only peripherally related to this thread:

 

There are many reasons why we chose to go with a flat design and sliders instead of skeuomorphic panels with knobs:

  • Sliders allow for much easier parameter control on touchscreen-based PCs (and eventually, touchscreen-based Macs)
  • Sliders have much higher granularity (both visual and control-wise) than knobs
  • Slider length can easily scale when resizing windows; knobs could conceivably shuffle their order when resizing, but then it's harder to find the right one
  • Sliders allow for better and cleaner application of sub-indicators, such as min and max values, snapshot values, or meters
  • There are instances where parameters may disappear or be renamed, depending on the settings of other parameters; sliders make this behavior much more transparent
  • Helix models often have different parameters (and number of parameters) between the mono and stereo versions; sliders make this disparity much more transparent
  • The studio-to-stage-and-back promise of Helix hardware and Helix Native plug-in is immensely important to the platform; there's an intrinsic advantage in maintaining visual consistency between the two
  • Perceived preset switching delay in Helix hardware is partly due to redrawing components on the screen; redrawing huge custom panels would exacerbate this
  • The knob position of some amps are much harder to ascertain quickly compared to a slider—especially Fender knobs
  • Accurate panels that reflect the real amp and pedals often require radically disparate panel dimensions, meaning the plug-in size would blow up
  • Accurate panels require the user effectively re-learn the UI and layout of every amp and cab, along with their quirks (UA plugins drive me completely bat$#!% insane because of this—Yes, I know that's how some API EQs are laid out, but why do the plug-in's knobs have to be upside down?!)
  • Some people mistakenly equate quality of panel graphics with quality of modeling ("Oooh, did you see the fingerprints on the metal there? It's gotta sound the best!"); chasing that dragon is a lesson in futility and we'd rather spend our resources on system architecture and sound design
  • Accurate panels imply to the user a specific rev of a particular piece of hardware, even if the plug-in supports switching between multiple revs or may represent an idealized amalgam
  • Accurate panels require dozens of knob positions (and if you do it right, multiple versions at different viewing angles) which take a lot of time and redraw resources. Not an issue if you have five amps; definitely an issue when you're adding more all the time
  • Accurate panel aesthetics often subconsciously sway users toward (or away from) specific models instead of trusting their ears ("Oh, I won't use this model because it looks like a metal amp")
  • Accurate panel aesthetics require legal involvement to determine if any trade dress might be violated
  • Individual panels often take up the majority of a plug-in's overall download/install size
  • Accurate panels with knobs often require dedicated graphic designers or outsourcing to design firms, if only because our designers have a lot of other stuff to do (fun fact: one particular GUI design firm in Germany creates the panels for dozens of MI companies, which is why so many look alike)
  • We'll often tweak and re-tweak models right up until release; it's also not uncommon to swap in a different model or add/delete/replace/rename parameters at the last second. Since accurate panel iteration takes a lot of time to get right, it could literally delay firmware updates (or hardware releases!) by weeks
  • Everyone else does hyper-accurate panels—even super cheap iOS amp sims—and skeuomorphism doesn't hold nearly as much weight as it once did
  • Several other reasons we can't talk about because they deal with future features

Conversely, there are only two reasons to go with skeuomorphic design with knobs:

  • Subconsciously, people think the plug-in might sound better because it looks like a real amp or pedal; for example, a few mistakenly believe Logic's compressor sounds better now, simply because of new skins
  • "Ooooh... pretty."

I won't claim any of our decisions are objectively correct—this is design, after all—but this might provide some context as to why we landed where we did.

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