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Novel Designs for the Audio Mixing Interface Based on Data Visualization First Principles

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Given the shortcomings of current audio mixing interfaces (AMIs) this study focuses on the development of alternative AMIs based on data visualization first principles. The elementary perceptual tasks defined by Cleveland informed the design process. Two design ideas were considered for pan: using the elementary perceptual tasks “scale” to display pan on either a single or multiple horizontal lines. Four design ideas were considered for level: using “length,” “area,” “saturation,” or “scalable icon” for visualization. Each level idea was prototyped with each pan idea, totaling eight novel interfaces. Seven subjects undertook a usability evaluation, replicating a 16 channel reference mix with each interface. Results showed that “scalable icons” especially on multiple horizontal lines appear to show potential.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society