Top usability issues in MuseScore 0.9.3

The following usability issues are selected based on frequency of use, difficulty of use, user feedback (via the forums and mailing list), and personal experience.

Notation

  • Note entry has mode issues (more on this later). [progress for version 0.9.4]
  • Palette icons look like other icons but behave differently. The hover effect used for the palette icons seems to imply a single click rather than drag-and-drop or double-click.
  • Stem directions for multi voice input are not automatic. [fixed for version 0.9.4]
  • Drum set notation is not conducive to mouse input. [progress for version 0.9.4]

Selection

There are three note-selection modes: shift-drag select, measure select, and time-based measure select. The functionality of these three modes should be integrated into shift-drag select to reduce the mental burden on the user.

  • Currently shift-drag select does not support copy-paste. Backend work for this includes support for copy, cut, and paste of partial measures. [Fixed for 0.9.4]
  • Time-based delete should be incorporated into the shift-drag select. Separate shortcuts for regular delete (notes and expressions) and time-based delete (remove measures) are more convienient than separate selection modes. Listing two types of delete in the Edit menu is also helpful.

Playback

  • If playback previously reached the end of the piece then the play button has no effect the next time it is pressed. The user must first rewind before pressing play. [Fixed for version 0.9.4]

Open/close interface

  • The MuseScore files (.mscz) are not automatically associated with MuseScore by the operating system.
  • Tab close button is located off to the left side of screen instead of on each tab. Researchers from Google and NASA did usability studies on Firefox tabs before the release of version 2.0 (see Andrea Knight et al., When Two Methods are Better Than One: Combining user study with cognitive modeling [PDF]).
  • The submenu ScoreOpen Recent list is buggy. New scores that were never saved are listed here even though they were closed and discarded. New scores that were saved and closed are not listed here until they are reopened. [Fixed for version 0.9.4]
David Bolton, 30 September 2008. Updated 22 October 2008.