Palette hierachy with sub-palettes

• May 29, 2019 - 22:00

The question of sub-palettes has arisen before, but I don't see any definite conclusions. I've often felt that some palettes are conflations of many disparate elements (Lines, for example; and Arpeggios & Glissandos, which itself contains useful diagonal lines; there are many examples).

With the work I've been doing on Fretboard Diagrams, I really can't picture a good useful palette implementation without some form of palette hierarchy. I think that having a single palette of 21 simple guitar chords is of limited use (though most users of this feature will be customizing their own diagrams regardless).

In my ideal world, I'd like to prepare the following sub-palettes, for nested access somehow under the Fretboard Diagrams heading:

  • Blank chord grids
  • Guitar chords (simple)
  • Ukulele chords (simple)
  • Mandolin chords (simple)
  • Jazz guitar chords (major family)
  • Jazz guitar chords (minor family)
  • Jazz guitar chords (dominant family)
  • Jazz guitar chords (altered family)
  • Jazz guitar chords (Drop-2)
  • Jazz guitar chords (Drop-23)

I just can't imagine providing this range of choices as separate top-level palettes, nor do I relish setting up my system with this many custom palettes in a workspace (though that's what I'm doing).

If this problem were unique to fretboard diagrams then perhaps we could look at some other way of selecting from a much larger dictionary of chord forms, analogous to the Master Palette interface.

However, as MuseScore grows in sophistication, the number of entries in each palette and the number of palettes will continue to swell. I'd think that instrument-specific palettes like Bagpipe Embellishments and Fretboard Diagrams could all be tucked away somewhere out of mainstream view; and that some of the other palettes could be simplified/consolidated/split to streamline their use.

I'm sure this has been given a lot of thought, but I don't believe we've passed the point of no return where such an interface change would be impossible.


In reply to by mike320

Yes, I'm sure that a large UI change like this one would need strong consensus among major users/contributors.

The accessibility project you cite is an important one. We have a number of features that are hard to use without a mouse; other features are hard to use without a keyboard, e.g. on a touch-screen tablet.

I do think that, from a learning curve standpoint, the current palette interface creates some barriers for new users. Hierarchical presentation can be helpful for taming complexity, though it also can create access silos (as seen in some menu structures and large complex products such as those from Adobe).

I'd be interested to hear general views about how we might segregate instrument-specific palette details. If we can find a good general solution for that, it might apply to other specialist features.

One idea might be making it easier to create and manage a "favorites" palette workspace that provides a simplified view of the overall palette universe. I'm picturing something like a custom workspace, but one that would primarily combine/simplify some of the palettes. For example, as a guitarist I've been meaning to set up a custom palette that contains the fingerings, lines, and articulation elements I use often. Similarly, on the barlines, clefs, time signatures, etc. palettes, I use only a very small subset of the available choices. I could easily combine all of my typical choices into one quick-selection palette. I realize I can create custom palettes/workspaces now, but the mechanics of setting these up are a deterrent. I can picture a "right-click->add-to-favorites" option on a palette cell or a whole palette that would interact with a special custom workspace that each user has available. Obviously a nontrivial problem but I'm curious how others feel.

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