[PD] PD usability

Matthew Nish-Lapidus mattn-l at rogers.com
Thu Feb 13 00:13:25 CET 2003

i would have to say the biggest issue that i have with PD is docs.  MAX's
help files are amazing.. if PD had help files like that there would be a lot
less difference between PD and MAX in the learning phase.


----- Original Message -----
From: "mark" <mark at junklight.com>
To: "'Marc Lavallée'" <odradek at videotron.ca>; "'pd-list'"
<pd-list at iem.kug.ac.at>
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 5:59 PM
Subject: RE: [PD] PD usability

If it where me that wanted to make PD more "producty" (technical
term that :-) - and its not -  I already have enough joy with this
at work with users/support/testing/load testing/a development
team/a dept. head/etc. - Then I would try to establish a small group
of volunteers to do the work. I am sure the rest of the community
would support such an effort if it didn't mean much work on their

The key areas I see as being vital are;

installer - not always an easy job 'cos of the platform thing (and the
quality of the tools). As a guide I have had a team member put in
about 6 man months over the last two years on our installer.

Config - midi/audio selection would have to be a preferences
dialog for the more casual user. I guess this would have implications
on how PD starts up too.

GUI - you can argue its fine until you are blue in the face - people
are used to and expect pretty interfaces - if you want
then it needs to be *designer* minimalist functional (think Peter
records). Its just the way it goes.

Docs - there needs to be a reference manual. Again you can argue
about it all you like - not having one means that the beginner has to
do a lot more work to get into the product.

Support - who is going to provide support to people. What happens when
the mailing list is full of people going - "it does't work on my
pc..why?" or
"I NEED feature X..why can't you make it do that"

Don't get me wrong - PD is just great as it is as far as I am concerned
- what
I am talking about is making it accessible to a wider audience. It
will grow larger as time goes by and by having a high level of knowledge
needed for entry we make life easier for ourselves.

Again - not trying to pour water on ideas but if you want to make PD
accessible to a wider audience you need to consider what is involved



> -----Original Message-----
> From: pd-list-admin at iem.kug.ac.at
> [mailto:pd-list-admin at iem.kug.ac.at] On Behalf Of Marc Lavallée
> Sent: 12 February 2003 22:37
> To: 'pd-list'
> Subject: RE: [PD] PD usability
> Le mer 12/02/2003 à 16:59, mark a écrit :
> > Sorry to be blunt about this but I did say I had my day job hat on.
> > :-)
> I actually resigned from a well paid job in a university
> center because I was unable to bring artists to use free
> software and be more responsible. I had to manage a bunch of
> projects, buy computers and softwares, and program "art". It
> was a stupid and impossible mandate, because artists
> (especially students) must do their own stuff, not always
> rely on programmers to hold the mouse for them. Of course,
> most artists were asking for Macs/Max/MSP/Jitter, leaving
> little money for anything else, including humain brain juice.
> So for me, a "better" PD would have been cool. I won't accept
> such a job unless artists agrees to change their tools and
> their attitude toward technology. But we need to help them a
> little bit, or I might never work with them again.
> --
> Marc
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> PD-list at iem.kug.ac.at

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