Posts tagged with “Channels”
Today we’ve launched a reasonably large redesign of our site’s navigation.
Why a redesign? Because our site has grown complex over the years, and it had become a bit unwieldy. Soundslice has a lot of different audiences these days — teachers with students, our community, our store, our embedding customers and people using our notation editor for self-study among other purposes.
In our old design, some of these audiences were served better than others. And it was difficult for new users to understand all the stuff Soundslice can do for them.
So here’s what we’ve changed —
New sidebar for logged-in users
If you’re logged into Soundslice, you’ll now find that most pages have left-hand sidebar navigation:
This gives you quick access to the various things you might want to do — and it helps communicate the things you can do on Soundslice if you didn’t know about them yet. It also changes the feel of the site in a nice way, making it more unified and “appy.”
If you’re on a device with a smaller screen, you can access this sidebar menu by clicking the “hamburger” icon at upper left.
New Overview page
When you log into Soundslice, we’ll now take you to a new Overview page. It looks like this:
This new page gives you quick access to a bunch of things:
- Your most recently edited slices
- Your most recently bookmarked slices
- Your most recently joined private courses (if you’re using Soundslice with a teacher)
- Your most recently purchased courses from our store
- The latest posts from people you follow in our community
We’ll only show you the sections that you’ve actually used on our site. For example, if you’ve never bought anything from our store, you won’t see a purchases section in the Overview page.
Previously, when you logged into Soundslice, we took you to your feed — the latest posts by people you follow in our community — whether you followed anybody or not. Now, the Overview page features the latest four posts from people you follow, and you can click Your feed in the sidebar to access the whole feed.
New slice manager design
The slice manager, which lists all the slices you’ve created, has gotten a nice visual refresh.
Aside from some aesthetic changes — such as tighter spacing, new icons and different typography — it also works a lot better on mobile and touch devices.
Quicker workflow for importing
Both the Overview page and the slice manager now have a new Import button:
This saves some time for common workflows, such as importing a MusicXML file or transcribing a YouTube video.
Unified global search button
If you’re logged in, you’ll now see a prominent search box on nearly every page of the site. This will let you search either your own slices or community posts — you decide when you search, by selecting the appropriate option:
Previously, if you wanted to search your own slices, you had to go to your slice manager first. Now, you can search your own slices from many other parts of the site.
New navigation and design for the store
The Soundslice store has a new look. We’ve given it a bespoke header, to communicate that this is really a standalone thing.
We’ve made various improvements here, such as including a consistent link to “Your cart” in the upper right, tweaking the navigation and providing quick access to your purchases.
New navigation on slice pages
When you’re viewing a slice, you’ll now get a contextual Back button at upper left, depending on where you accessed that slice from. For example, if you accessed the slice via your bookmarks, it’ll say “Your bookmarks.” If you accessed it from via your feed, it’ll say “Your feed.”
The header is also a bit smaller — providing more vertical space for the slice’s music itself.
We have some further plans here, too. Now that the slice page’s header has been cleaned up, this gives us a place to put other slice-specific controls in a consistent way. Stay tuned.
Notification icon always visible
When you’re logged in, you’ll now always have access to your notifications via the bell icon in the upper right of every page.
Previously, this notifications page was buried in the “Your feed” page and many people didn’t realize it even existed.
Note that we don’t actually change this icon’s display based on whether you have any notifications. We might do that someday, but for now you’ll need to click the icon to see the notifications.
No changes for embeds
If you’re using our Licensing plan to embed Soundslice on your own site, it will continue to look and work exactly the same way. Nothing has changed in our embedded player.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these changes, plus any other suggestions you might have.
Every Soundslice channel now has an About section. This is a place for you to add a longer bio, along with links to social media profiles and other websites.
Previously you could only specify a “short bio,” displayed directly on your channel. We still have that, but the About section gives you more space to stretch out and tell people about yourself.
We also noticed people had been stuffing social media usernames and links directly into their short bio — which looked a bit messy. Now there are specific spots in your About page for social media links, and they look a lot better than being stuffed into your short bio.
You can edit your About information in your account settings.
Here’s a roundup of some small improvements we’ve made recently.
General improvements to our site:
- Videos can now go down to 25 percent speed, instead of 50. Hooray!
- As you browse the timeline of slices from people you follow, if you press play on one of the slices, we’ll now stop playback for any other slices that are playing on the page.
- Our violin fingerboard visualization can now be active for tracks whose notation is hidden.
- Tenuto markings are positioned better in our notation. They’re now rendered within staff lines if appropriate.
Improvements to our notation editor:
- When you drag to select notes, we used to display a box with a dashed border. We’ve removed this, as it was unnecessary and kind of ugly.
- When you drag to select notes, you’ll no longer occasionally run into a weird bug where multiple things are selected despite you not selecting them.
- When you’re adding notes on a staff line that has a currently active accidental, we’ll now assume you want to continue that accidental. Previously a newly added note would always use a natural if the key signature didn’t affect the note.
- Slices can end in double barlines. We’ll now detect that when importing MusicXML, and we’ve improved our notation editor to allow this. (Previously we disallowed it for no good reason.)
We’ve added a handy way to browse all the slices people are posting to their Soundslice channels: You can now browse by genre.
When viewing a particular slice that’s been posted to a channel, you’ll see the genre(s) the poster has tagged it with. Click any one to explore other slices in that genre.
Genre pages (example) have three sections: Trending, Greatest hits and Latest. The Trending tab has the slices that have had the most recent activity, the Greatest hits tab has the all-time best, and Latest is self-explanatory.
When you post to your channel, you’ll now be asked to choose at least one genre. Let us know if you’d like us to add a genre; we expect to expand the list over time.
We’re announcing a bunch of new features and improvements today:
Embed channel posts
An exciting new option for those of you posting to channels: You can now embed your channel posts in other websites — for free.
Each channel post now has an “Embed” tab on its page (example). Click that to get the embed code for the post. Then just copy and paste that code into your own website. If you’ve ever embedded a YouTube video, you’ll feel right at home.
The embed looks like this (go on, press Play!):
This is our “miniplayer,” which is optimized for giving a quick taste of the music as opposed to being a full practice environment. It has a “View full version” link, along with a link back to your Soundslice channel.
Some ideas for why you’d want to embed a channel post in your website:
- For bloggers: Easily share licks/ideas in your music-focused blog, so that people can hear the real audio and see synced notation
- For course creators: Promote a course you’re selling in our store
- For Soundslice licensing customers: Give your potential customers an idea of the high-quality music learning experience paying members get access to
- For music teachers: Give your potential students an idea of the high-quality music learning experience you’re using with your private students
You can now add strum directions to your slices. These are arrows that specify whether to strum upward or downward:
To add this to your slices, use the new “Strum upward” and “Strum downward” buttons in our notation editor‘s “More notations” section. This works for music with and without tablature.
Disable synth playback
Each slice you create on our site has synthetic playback active by default, regardless of whether you’ve synced it with separate audio/video. You can now disable the synthetic playback option, such that only the “real audio” recordings are available for that slice.
Some reasons for why you might want to do this:
- The specific piece of music doesn’t have pitched notes (e.g., it’s only chord diagrams)
- You want to minimize choice/confusion for your students/customers
- You simply don’t like the synth playback and don’t see value in it
To disable synth playback for one of your slices, edit the slice, click “Settings” and choose the (new!) “Advanced” menu. This is available for all paying Soundslice customers.
Update your channel posts without unpublishing
Previously, if you published a slice to your channel and wanted to make a change to its channel post settings, the only way to do that was to unpublish it, make the changes, then republish. That was rather annoying…!
Now, you can edit the channel post’s information without unpublishing. Much better.
Ability to put a course on sale
For those of you selling courses in our store, you can now mark a course as “for sale.” Previously, you could have simply changed the price, but that didn’t communicate that the course was on sale. With our new feature, the old price will remain on the page, crossed out, for context.
For those of you on slower connections, we’ve added a loading indicator in our player. Previously, the notation area of our player simply stayed blank until it loaded. Now you’ll be assured that things are loading.
A larger default video width
We’ve increased the default width of videos in our player. Previously, they were a bit too small. The video will now be 40% of the player’s width:
Although it’s always been possible to resize videos easily, by dragging the vertical line between the video and notation, this is a nicer default.
Today we’ve added the ability to reply to specific comments on slices.
Each top-level comment on a channel post (example) now has its own “Reply” button. Click that, and your comment will get attached to that specific thread. This helps keep discussions nicely organized and easy to follow.
It also helps make sure replies don’t get lost. Previously, if you responded to somebody’s comment on a slice that wasn’t theirs, they would have no way of knowing you responded to them unless they kept checking the page. Now, there’s a new “Get an email when somebody replies to one of your comments” feature. Replies will get sent to your email and appear on your notifications page.
Finally, note that we limit threads to a single level deep (as opposed to deeply nested comments in the style of, say, reddit). This is to keep things relatively simple.
See you in the comments section! :-)
Lots of features and improvements to announce today! Here’s what’s new:
New metronome button
We’ve added a metronome button directly to our player. This lets you quickly toggle a metronome pulse during audio playback.
We already had a metronome, of course, but it was a bit awkward to get to — as people had pointed out. You needed to go into the audio mixer and increase its volume from zero. Now, it’s a simple one-click thing.
And this new metronome button is now particularly useful, because...
Metronome during real recordings
This is another thing many people have asked for. Previously, the metronome was only possible if you switched a slice to “Synthetic” playback. Now, the metronome works over everything — YouTube videos, MP3s, other videos, everything!
When played over a real recording, the metronome will use the recording’s syncpoints for the timing. This means it will ebb and flow naturally with the tempo of the performance. If you create slices and find the metronome feels “off,” it’s a sign your syncpoints are likely not precise enough — an easy fix in our syncpoint editor.
New video resizer
For slices with video, we’ve changed the way video resizing looks. Previously, it used a thick gray bar — which some people didn’t realize you could drag. Now, we use a (we hope) much more obvious drag “handle.”
Improvements on touchscreen devices
We’ve changed/fixed the way our player works on touchscreen devices:
- In horizontal mode, it’s now possible to resize a loop. This fixes a bug where it wasn’t possible to drag loop edges in horizontal mode.
- In vertical mode, previously a single-finger swipe would do different things depending on whether you were swiping horizontally or vertically; horizontal would create a loop and vertical would pan. We’ve changed this so that single-finger swipes always pan — hence making the interface consistent across horizontal and vertical modes. To create a loop on a touchscreen device, use the dedicated “Loop” button at the bottom of the player.
Resizable loops in waveform view
When dragging across the waveform view to create a loop, previously it wasn’t possible to resize an existing loop. We’ve fixed that. You can now drag loop edges in the waveform to resize.
We’ve also tweaked the visual design of the waveform loops to have “drag handles,” matching our style of loops over notation.
Loops in notationless mode
Speaking of waveform loops, when you’re viewing a slice that has no notation (only a video), we’ve fixed the Loop button. Previously it did nothing if you clicked it in notationless view! Now, it will create a three-second loop from the playhead’s current location. You can then drag the loop edges to fine-tune.
Automatic panning during dragging
When you’re dragging across notation to create a loop, we’ll now automatically pan the notation forward/backward when you drag near the edge. This is a really nice usability improvement.
Extra ‘close’ buttons
We’ve added an explicit ‘close’ button at the upper right of the visual fretboard, keyboard, violinboard and audio mixer. You could always toggle them with their respective icons in the player’s controlbar, but this makes things a bit faster and easier, especially when on a small screen.
Audio mixer panel simplification
We’ve simplified the audio mixer, which is where you can tweak volume on a per-track basis. Given that per-track volume changing is only possible when you’ve selected synthetic playback, we’ve changed the mixer to hide the per-track controls if you’re not in synthetic mode. This should help clear up confusion.
Track name cleanup
We’ve tweaked the way the track names look, at the left edge of notation. They used to have a thick orange rectangle, and we’ve removed that, to make things less distracting.
We also now hide the track name entirely if there’s only one track. This helps reduce visual clutter.
Smarter search engine
We’ve improved our sitewide search engine to work properly with accented characters. That means you can search for João Oliveira and find what you’re looking for.
With more and more people posting to Soundslice channels, it’s about time we gave you a way to explore what’s happening across the site, by musicians you might not be following yet. We’re excited to announce our new community page.
On this page, you’ll find an assortment of recent slices, grouped into categories for you to explore. For any category — such as “Jazz cats” — you can click through to a full page to do a deep dive.
You’ll also find links to specific musicians’ profiles that we’d recommend checking out.
Get to this page by clicking “Community” at the top of any page on our site. Hope you find some great music to learn and be inspired by!
Whenever you post to your channel, we send an email to your followers letting them know about it. Starting today, you can opt not to notify followers via email for a particular post.
To disable the email notification, just uncheck the new “Notify your followers in their daily email” box when you post to your channel:
If you uncheck that box, the slice will still appear on your channel and in your followers’ feeds — it just won’t get emailed to your followers. This gives you an extra level of control over how your posts get announced to people.
We’ve redesigned the way you can post slices to your channel or get shareable links.
Previously, you’d post something to your channel by changing its “Audience” setting. This was a bit anticlimactic and didn’t give a proper sense of the “weight” of the action. Nor did it provide a moment for you to double-check the slice’s name and description.
Now, when editing a slice, you’ll see the Settings menu has explicit “Share link…” and “Publish to channel…” options.
Click either of those to get specific options for sharing or publishing, along with a big, satisfying button to complete the job. This feels much nicer and clearer to us, and we hope you agree.