Feedback: UI, Key bindings and workflow

I used Ardour 2 a bit, and then 3, but switched to mostly using Bitwig for the last few years. I’m making an attempt to come back in to the fold, and although I know that Ardour is super powerful (and seems much more stable than when I last used it, although that might be because the Calf plugins are more stable), I’m not finding it super easy to find my way around. So I figured I’d give a bunch of feedback - some of it will turn in to bugs/feature requests, some of it will be support requests, but it will all be UI/UX focussed.

I would encourage anyone else having UI/UX difficulties to contribute to this thread.

To start:

  • First thing I hit is quick-changing of tools. It is not immediately clear which tools are for what actions. It's also not clear what tools are relevant for what modes. Key bindings are not obvious.
    • rgh in irc pointed out that G=grab, D=Draw, E=Edit, and that midi = E or D, and region = G and R. C=Cut and T=Stretch also both appear drop in to render mode. Not really sure what "Internal edit mode" does, and I can't find it's key binding, either.
    • This cluster of keys is quite nice.
    • it might be good to split the tools into "region mode" and "edit mode" groups, with a space/divider in between.
    • It would also be good to include the key bindings in the tool tips.
  • Scrolling around MIDI (vertically) is quite hard.
  • It would be nice to have the Tab key bound to Editor/Mixer switching. haven't checked if it's possible yet.
  • F zooms to the selected track, which is nice, but there's no way to get back to "view all tracks" or similar (make all tracks small).
    • ... also, if I select two tracks that are not adjacent, then press F, I totally lose the track in the middle??
  • Shift+_ is cool (reset horizontal zoom), but it's not obvious as a new-comer what the end marker is for (why not just have it zoom to fit all content?), or why it is set where it is in a new project.

Also useful bindings for Lists in Editor and Mixer:

I want to encourage about “Scrolling around MIDI (vertically) is quite hard”. I often forget about placing the mouse to the thin strip near piano roll. If it could have some variation like one of this:
Shift+Scroll - shifts view horizontally;
Ctrl+Scroll - zooms view horizontally;
Alt+Scroll - zooms navigated track vertically

  • this could be very comfortable (on my taste).

About this: “It would be nice to have the Tab key bound to Editor/Mixer switching. haven’t checked if it’s possible yet.”

A small instruction:

Some vertical zooming feature:

You can adjust a combination for vertical track header small view (in my case I choose Shift+S). To select all the tracks - there’s a default combination ‘Ctrl+T’ (but unfortunately it doesn’t select automation tracks :(/)
So you can select every tracks and make them small (Ctrl+T>Shift+S). If I could know the scripting for commands combination - I could make ‘Ctrl+T>Shift+S’ - as one binding (but I don’t know Lua)

  • Alt+M is the default switch mixer/editor key. I think Tab would be a better default. (the default for tab, “add marker at play head”, seems pretty much completely useless to me).

  • You can’t set a keybinding to another key if that key is already bound to something else. It would be better if it asked for confirmation before deleting the other key binding for you automatically.

Also, what are markers for in general? In particular, why are they so important that Tab is assigned to adding new ones?