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SYOS

Online Saxophone Practice App

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
Hi,

Back in January, I posted an article on a software tool I had developed to help with practicing. I received generally positive and constructive feedback, much of which has been incorporated into the latest version. It's free to everyone, and I am continully improving it and adding features. I am relaunching it today across multiple forums, saxophone schools and teaching platforms. The app will not suit everyone, and there will be those who really dislike it - that's fine. It currenty has around 50 regular users around the world which is all the motivation I need to keep going. This is a unique practice tool, designed to be used in conjunction with professional tuition. I would love to hear your comments? ZanySaxophone
 

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
1615744681336.png
Give me a try
 

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
Hi everyone, there have been about 40 visits to the app following my post and several repeat visits - I was wondering if anyone had any experiences to share - good, bad, indifferent ? I'd really love more feedback, particularly if there is something I can do to improve things for you. Thanks, Gary
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,271
Location
Citizen of Nowhere
One thing that instantly springs to mind is that no text appears when you put your mouse over an icon. So, for example, I had no idea what the dice were about. Basically, I was randomly clicking on stuff to see what it did.
 

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
Thanks Dave, I'll add something to the buttons to do that. I didn't do it initially as I made an assumption that most people would use on touch devices. There is also a User Guide in Settings, by clicking the Cog. I will do as you suggest though. Thanks again, Gary
 

playitsmooth

New Member
Messages
14
Location
USA
Hi,

Back in January, I posted an article on a software tool I had developed to help with practicing. I received generally positive and constructive feedback, much of which has been incorporated into the latest version. It's free to everyone, and I am continully improving it and adding features. I am relaunching it today across multiple forums, saxophone schools and teaching platforms. The app will not suit everyone, and there will be those who really dislike it - that's fine. It currenty has around 50 regular users around the world which is all the motivation I need to keep going. This is a unique practice tool, designed to be used in conjunction with professional tuition. I would love to hear your comments? ZanySaxophone
Thanks! I am trying it now, couple initial user story comments:
(true beginner on Sax and reading music in real time)
1) It would be great if the scale notes would appear as a complete scale min-max inclusive and then light up as the scale progresses.
2)" N note pull menu": set the min max then allow a user CTA to select the notes from a visual chromatic scale " ruler, light up & create notes.
3) ability to go down and up, cycle through a scale, maybe a couple of times.
maybe a stronger Stave music line and much closer, like at the table, that would be much stronger & usable view from my trial, I couldn't see both split left right the screen in action
 

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
Thanks! I am trying it now, couple initial user story comments:
(true beginner on Sax and reading music in real time)
1) It would be great if the scale notes would appear as a complete scale min-max inclusive and then light up as the scale progresses.
2)" N note pull menu": set the min max then allow a user CTA to select the notes from a visual chromatic scale " ruler, light up & create notes.
3) ability to go down and up, cycle through a scale, maybe a couple of times.
maybe a stronger Stave music line and much closer, like at the table, that would be much stronger & usable view from my trial, I couldn't see both split left right the screen in action
Thank you for your comments. I will add these to the development list for the next release. When I start the development, I may come back to you for clarification to ensure I acheive exactly what you are looking for, if you don't mind? Thanks again, Gary
 

randulo

Living the dream
Café Supporter
Messages
6,051
Location
France
Nice tool for beginners. The actual process fro teaching is good. Figuring out what you're doing isn't immediatly apparent, though.

I'd offer an optional tutorial that explains what each area is for, while sitting on the splash screen before clicking. When you click, jumping to the main screen, a first timer needs to click on everything to see what it does. You can't count of people reading the manual or guide if they have to click for it. An alternative is a tip card each time you arrive, "You can click the X to do Y". Or a quick start. Maybe there's alrzady a quick start video? If so, I didn't see it.

On the splash screen

"The User Guide can be found in Settings"

Should be a link to the guide, not a "Go find settings, then look for the link to the guide". Least resistance!

Once you play with it, it's failry clear. As said above, you need to add tool tips. Even, on the splash page, there's no feedback, it says "Click me". It should at least change color when flown over.

I understand you say it was assumed mobile. I'm in the minority, I use desktop more.

Also, why begin with a 5-beat start, rather than 4?

All the icons at the bottom of the screen should be toggles, that is, they should dismiss the screen when clicked again, in case it isn't what one is looking for.
 

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
I really appreciate your feedback - users are always the best designers of software, which is why I'm so keen to turn this into a tool that people can relate to, and make use of. All these points will be addressed in the next product update, towards the end of March. Thanks, Gary
 

randulo

Living the dream
Café Supporter
Messages
6,051
Location
France
users are always the best designers of software
And the worst are chefs who tell the designers how to do their restaurant sites.
Priority: Least number of clicks to do the most things. The best book I ever read on usability was aptly calls, "Don't Make Me Think". It was wxritten because Flash programmers were designing the experience to show off the neat stuff they could do. Fortunately, you are not having that issue!
Good luck with this, it looks to have a future for the appropriate audience. When it's done, you might consider an advanced version with more adventurous scales or other features.
 

JamesOxford

Member
Messages
166
Location
Oxford, UK
You've made great progress on this and it's looking a lot better.

I have a suggestion. Although every book displays the key diagram like you have, an option you should consider is flipping the diagram horizontally.
Before you dismiss me as being mad, I say this as someone who has worked on a lot of interactive projects and control UIs

The reason keys are usually displayed the way you have them is that the student is looking at a photo or diagram of a sax in a book. The sax is opposite them to show it clearly, rather than seeing it from their point of view behind the sax. This of course makes sense in a book.
However for an interactive program, you don't need to do that. A beginner will find it more intuitive if the palm keys are on the left etc.
It may seem unconventional for books on the sax, but for UI it is intuitive for the controls to be in line with the users fingers, rather than mirrored.
Think of the most common music interface on apps, a piano keyboard. That is layed out from the players point of view, not from the point of view of someone facing the pianist.
Anyway I would suggest you consider it as an option.

Good luck with the program, it's looking great.
 
Last edited:

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
You've made great progress on this and it's looking a lot better.

I have a suggestion. Although every book displays the key diagram like you have, an option you should consider is flipping the diagram horizontally.
Before you dismiss me as being mad, I say this as someone who has worked on a lot of interactive projects and control UIs

The reason keys are usually displayed the way you have them is that the student is looking at a photo or diagram of a sax in a book. The sax is opposite them to show it clearly, rather than seeing it from their point of view behind the sax. This of course makes sense in a book.
However for an interactive program, you don't need to do that. A beginner will find it more intuitive if the palm keys are on the left etc.
It may seem unconventional for books on the sax, but for UI it is intuitive for the controls to be in line with the users fingers, rather than mirrored.
Think of the most common music interface on apps, a piano keyboard. That is layed out from the players point of view, not from the point of view of someone facing the pianist.
Anyway I would suggest you consider it as an option.

Good luck with the program, it's looking great.
Thank you so much for your comments. If I understand right (and I might not), books show the keys as if looking at the front of the saxophone, but the player sees them looking from the back? If so, there is a setting in the app that allows you to change between front and rear view of the keys, and it will change the view accordingly. Can you let me know if that's what you are referring too, as I don't want to miss anything. Cheers, Gary
 

GarfieldCatUK

New Member
Messages
20
Location
South Wales, UK
Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. If you have a setting that does that, then great, it will be much more intuitive.
Thanks for coming back to me. Yes it's certainly a setting and does exactly what you are looking for. Would you mind if I asked you a question? I'd really like this app to be widely used and to keep it free - this is my motivation. While I'm getting great feedback, I'm not getting many repeat visitors. Do you have any suggestions how I can promote it more widely? Is it because the post is in the Teaching section so perhaps is not hitting students? Thanks, Gary
 

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