I have to say, this post made me go watch the video review by Tantacrul mentioned here:
Let me first state that I am a designer by profession and musician by hobby, so I do have formal training, experience and position to comment on Tantacrul’s design assessment. Until this time I had never heard of Tantacrul. After watching the review I can say that his report is highly favorable of Dorico, and while he jests at some of Dorico’s behaviors the takeaway is very positive in Dorico’s favor. Much of his findings are based on user research rather than personal preference, a requirement for good design review. The video is also very well put together and it’s clear that Martin is earnestly reviewing despite now having a competing interest in MuseScore. Any good designer knows they have bias, and it’s clear he acknowledges his and mitigates it with research.
Having read the strong “defense” of Dorico against this review, and now against the MuseScore design, I had to see who this Tantacrul person was. I was pleasantly surprised to find a straightforward, generally unbiased review addressing legitimate and meaningful issues on both the “needs more work” and “nailed it” categories. It is an incredibly helpful bit of feedback coming to the Dorico team for free! (Unless Yamaha did send that check…?) Meaningful research is expensive so this comes as a wonderful addition to these forums and other user testing done by the Dorico team. It’s extremely important to conduct formal user testing, so again, a free one here that everyone should be grateful for.
With regard to the design of MuseScore 4, it is not surprising to me in the slightest. I’m not sure why people are upset that Martin is borrowing elements and patterns from a program he has praised. You can be sure he is doing the same with Sibelious. As a designer, he must rely on his experience to put forth new material for testing. The title of the post is absolutely correct but, I have the sense that it was meant as a “we’ve discovered you now, you do like Dorico!” as if Tantacrul somehow suggested he didn’t like it. For those that aren’t practicing designers, design reviews are far more “brutal” than what he was dishing out and, in fact, this is the purpose of reviews, to break the design as much as possible so it can be improved. This is how good design works, it seeks the battlefield and wants to discover weakness, it never praises itself as having the answers without first validating as much through testing.
I am very excited to see how MuseScore will develop, not because I am interested in “switching” as some might fear, but because it will provide the only other actively designed competition for Dorico and consequently move the needle forward in music writing tools. This is probably the best news Dorico could ask for as beating out Sibelious and Finale is well on its way. A race where you get too far ahead is not that interesting, now with a new runner joining the ranks everyone will be more motivated and have a better time.
Where Dorico has leveraged all the learnings from Sibelious and Finale, now it will have an opportunity to leverage new learnings from MuseScore. More free research! There could hardly be better news and Dorico is going to be better than it would have without this competition.