feature of the week

Metronome Adjustments

| feature of the week

A few weeks ago we took a look at several different aspects of forScore’s metronome, from the basics to much more advanced functions and everything in between. Things have changed a little since then, and with this week’s release of Beat Keeper 3.2 and the announcement of forScore 10 coming later this summer, there’s a new feature for us to briefly explore.

Changing the metronome’s BPM value is a common task, so we’ve long searched for a way to let users make small adjustments quickly and easily (tapping the center or dragging the dial can be less precise, and using the keypad requires a few extra taps). Although it’s technically a very easy problem to solve, figuring out how to design it and make it usable turned out to be a lot more difficult. We tried a few different ideas over the past year or so, and now we think we finally have a solid solution: new plus and minus buttons in the metronome’s circular track that let you increment or decrement the BPM value with just a tap.

Putting these buttons in the track keeps the rest of the metronome’s interface organized and clean, but the obvious downside is that the buttons move as you tap them (making repeated tapping more difficult). To solve this, we added a small delay to the animation—the BPM number in the top right-hand corner updates immediately, but the dial stays put until you’re done tapping. It’s a small thing, but we agonize over these details because we think all of the small things add up to make the experience notably better.