Bad user interfaces that keep you from using gear

I know that elektron UIs have been discussed many times in the past. But there is other stuff. I have a Line 6 HX Stomp Guitar Modeler and I love to play Guitar but this thing has the absolut worst UI you could imagine. Makes no sense to me and I feel I am unable to remember anything. Worst part is that it makes me angry and I don´t wan´t to :grin: so I don´t use this thing often even thou I like what it does and it´s a shame. Why is it that there is still so less apreciation for UI/UX Design. I feel like Elektron somehow is shit too, but they have the point that there is some sense to it once you learn it. Line 6 somehow just doesn´t care.
There are many examples. NI Machine, even thou many people have gotten used to it, makes not much sense. Or is anybody getting the UI concept?

I’d be careful not to mix ideas here - Elektron UI might require a small learning curve but most that use the gear like the workflow, it’s a good UX that has been well thought out. Even the feel of Elektron gear is good, tactile, satisfying.

There’s a lot of good UX and a lot of bad UX out there, even just looking at the most recent Superbooth I see a lot of interesting and well thought out UX, like with Nina for example. And for sure the Perkons.

But yes bad UX will put me off gear for sure. People rave about the Typhoon from Dreadbox but even the idea of using that little screen and those 5 sliders puts me off wanting to make music with it.

The pattern that is most common that I find most annoying in the hardware world is knobs that don’t tell you what they’re set at. I.e. changing presets, or using a multi timbral synth. That’s one reason I mention Nina.

1 Like

Thats true Elektron works for me as well, but I would not say that it is well thought out. There are good Ideas and bad Ideas and it works as a whole. Octatrack for example works for me too but it‘s still a UI mess in opinion.

But I am with you on the knob side. Best Interface I think is a Synth with knob per function. Rev2 comes to mind. But yeah you still have the problem that those knobs not always corespond with their values.

I don‘t have one but I think a moog Grandmother would tick all my boxes.

1 Like

One of my pet peeves is when certain features are accessed very simply and easy, but similar features (on the same product) are accessed completely differently, it makes remembering a workflow difficult.

Another is unintended actions that are easy to do, but difficult or impossible to undo, in most cases I’ll return gear that has this.


This is a good one and something a lot of hardware falls over with - if you’re lucky you get 1 undo.

This is somewhere Elektron could definitely improve their UX :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Yea I have a Prophet '08 and it’s a lovely synth but I love to browse and use presets, even if just as a starting point - and I find only a handful of knobs are ever pointing where they’re supposed to be at any given time.

Grandmother is a good shout for a UX award I agree.

Conversely, I feel like Elektron has some of the best UI of any device, no matter what type. They are so good (for their primary purpose (performing music). File browsing and sample lists are a bit fiddly, but they have such little space to work with).


At least with Elektron repeating the unintended action is undo, but for sure it could be made clearer.

Worst one I ever had was a Boss RC-505 I recorded a loop, pressed a button and the loop was gone, no undo, went back in the box within 30 minutes, because I knew that it would be something that would annoy me. I don’t know if this was ever addressed in an update.

you seem to be not alone given the success. And yeah strangely I have a love hate relationship.

If I see people live record beats on those clickedy clackedy buttons I always think that can´t be true, you can´t make beats that way.

Interesting thread. A discussion is needed on UI beyond GOOD or BAD.

I agree the Grandmother is excellent. That is probably because there is no patch storage. What you see is what you get.

1 Like

Somehow the Guitar stuff seems worst like Boss and Line 6 I think.

I would agree Good and Bad are not the best categories.

something that pulls me to a device is definitly if it´s fast to oversee and use. no setup required. like an acoustic guitar. grandmother seems like it can do that.

This. It’s all about designing for different types of users (beginners, intermediates and experts) and different focus is to be spent on all experience related aspects based on this.

And nobody wants to be a beginner for too long while most of us don’t reach to expert level - thus it’s best to focus on intermediate users with a slight move towards the expert. Longevity aspects, usage interval, task completion time, etc are paid more attention to in this specific context.

Same for most software design.

All IMO, of course.

1 Like

I hate dual function knobs that don’t show what the hidden functions are! On midi controllable stuff I use my Force to control secondary functions. But how hard would it be to just print it on the device.

1 Like

could you please clarify:

  1. what h/w box UI you find great or at least good?
  2. what in the Octatrack UI (and/or in Elektron units in general) you find illogical or ‘messy’?

UI is important, it’s an integral part of the instrument
and to me, Elektron UIs seem def. among the best, even before we factor in complexity of the boxed under control.
as a proof, Octatrack was my first Elektron, and also my first h/w after getting back to music in 2014, and it took me one day to grasp. there were things to memorise, and missing things that would ease one’s life, some were addressed in mk2, but the basic UI architecture is in neat order, I’d even say ‘simple’

The main panel’s good, but text entry, the sequencer and the mod matrix are just the side of annoying that make think I’ll sell mine. (but I know I’ll miss the 3rd envelope and what the mod matrix does so much)


I could list many things but obvious on the octatrack for example is that the envelope has no graphics. they changed that in the digis for good reason. please lets not get into octotrack here too much. it has been discussed many times. people love it but its still complex and not very logic on many points. shure you can learn it. some faster like you some slower like me ( I still can operate it :wink: )

To your first question. I think the best thing I ever had fun with was a Miami Drum Machine clone of an 808. super simple and easy. knob per function.


argh, those things like env. curve I put into ‘things missing’ pile. there’s lots )

I just misread your topic was about BAD UIs that really stop one from using a piece of gear, not quirks which can plague even a great UI

to me, if we say Elektron UIs and design is bad, then we can shut down the entire fckn industry

The Meris Polymoon interface is atrocious. There are a bunch of secondary functions for each knob for setting up the pedal, none of which are displayed and I can’t remember what they do without referring to the manual. The power cable needs to be unplugged and plugged in again with a potentially speaker-destroying thump to access these. It has 16 memories accesible via midi but there is no visual feedback at all and this function is not easily accessible without a proprietary footswitch or constructing your own cable which uses a jack plug.


Agree with meris stuff, the enzo is horrid. It’s my only bit of gear I still need to reference the manual. I’ve the hang of it now and it’s amazing pedal but man it took months to tame it - I have the 4 preset pedal with it and you can so easily save over a preset when holding the alt function button slightly too long - it’s abit of mess… still love it to bits tho…