Apps We Love: Figure Music Mixing and Intuitive UI Design

April 6, 2012

Apps We Love: Figure Music Mixing and Intuitive UI Design

Propeller Head's music-making app, Figure, could be every beat master's dream. But in actuality, users need not have any previous sequencing or mixing experience to enjoy and thrive in the app because the UI is that good—it had me dialing and dancing in minutes.

Design, figure, app

They take something as complex as building a mix with drum, bass and lead melody with a slew of tonal, rhythm, key and style options and boil it down to the simplest, most intuitive commands. Instead of detailed instrument illustrations, users are presented with solid color boards, and some initial experimentation shows that the placement, duration and speed of taps affects the sound just as the surface of a regular instrument would.

It's a no-fuss, no-manual-necessary app, allowing the user to jump right in and create. You also won't find any "standard" design here—Propeller Head wrote their own UI rules, throwing out convention, a decision that lead to a beautiful and rich user interface. If there were an early complaint it would be that there is no saving and no digital export of your creations. That may be a calculated design choice - to let the user enjoy the moment and let that moment fade away - but we'd love to keep our discoveries.

Design, figure, app
Design, figure, app

From Propeller Head:

"World-class synths? Sure.
Beast of a drum machine? Totally.
But here's what matters most: Figure is fun."

They designed the app especially for those moments and places where they try to pass the time. The video below gives a glimpse into that mentality and the power and usability behind the app.

Design, figure, app

Propellerhead Software is a Stockholm-based software design company with a special soft spot for music and audio in their work.

Some other hand-picked posts you might enjoy on our Design Blog:

The Beats iPhone App Visual Development Progression
TinyVox: A Fun Digital Recording App for the iPhone
Dr. No Effects Pedal Designs from Boom Artwork

Ward Andrews

Ward Andrews

Hi, I'm Ward Andrews. I started in 2009, you can read about why here. Thanks for participating in the Community. I also run an interactive agency called Drawbackwards. I love basketball, electronic music and creating experiences that improve daily life. You can follow me on Twitter @wardandrews.

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