Halion’s UI is legendarily confusing. There can be dozens of ways to do any task, but you may take years to discover the ones, or the one, that works for you.
Let’s take some simple example, the very first thing you probably want to do with Halion or Halion Sonic: Browse your installed content.
The content is rich. I bought Halion 6 just a few weeks ago. My brain hasn’t recovered. There’s so much in here. But it’s hard to find.
The user interface was designed by someone who likes to have vast functionality that you need every day hidden behind tiny tiny buttons. You can open any panel you want, arrange any panels you want any way you like but the content inside those panels is tiny, nearly microscopic, in fact. It reminds me of that infamous website, Yvette’s Bridal, for how dense and un-navigable it is.
Let’s think within the subject of preset browsing, of the experience. You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike. Anyone remember that game from ancient Hacker Lore, the Colossal Cave Adventure, the mother of all text adventure games? Halion is like such a text adventure. Getting around in Halion is in fact, half the battle.
I love the pretty icons that you get if you manage to open the preset browser and manage to discover that you can click the current label showing the current content set, and get back to the pretty icons. Someone spent a long time making pretty icons for Raven, and Anima. They are even, unusually for the “we love tiny microscopic specks” UI designers, the icons are nice and big. And we click one, and boom, it’s GONE, and I can’t get back to that beautiful pictorial layout that would have helped me visualize the spacious caverns of content.
Imagine if, instead of going away, the media browser kept those icons around, maybe made them permanently visible as a series of thumbnails on the right side of the media browser. Imagine the friendly HOME icon, the one looking like a house, lived right above that. Imagine however deep in the crazy powerful amount of stuff the preset browsing experience permits, a big friendly home icon will always get me back home in halion’s browser experience. Imagine I could learn to develop spatial awareness (raven is always there in preset browser, near the bottom). Imagine not feeling lost at all times.
This may be over-emphasizing a single point (why did you make the pretty thumbnails go away? I like pretty thumbnails). But it’s not a single point. It’s a major UI fault.
Let me give a counter-example, something done very well: From Editing a zone there are nice vivid blue icons with black glyphs on them, to let me navigate quickly to the sections within the Zone, right beside where I set the zone type, there is a nice way to jump to that zone’s modulation matrix.
That set of nice big bright white-blue icons, is one of the NICEST parts of all of Halion.
The rest of Halion is the rule, the Zone setup page, is the only nice place in all of Halion’s UI I can see. Someone who understands human cognition and who understands spatial memory, had a hand in that page of Halion.
You are in a maze of twisty passages all alike.
There should be a clear or reset or go home button, in every page.
There should be large clear navigation toolbars in every non trivial page.
Figuring out how to go from a node in the program structure to the correct panel or sub-page to alter that node, is too hard.
There should be a way to discover what pages you don’t have open but which you need to open, to finish a task that is impossible when the required pages are not open. (Easier discovery than reading 500 pages of manuals, or watching 8+ hours of video)