Design improvements

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Design improvements

Post by Terence »


hats off, ThumbJam sounds very good.
Something is stopping me from buying, though: The app is very ugly. Nice sounding, but not nice to look at.
Looking at the screenshots and screencaps makes me wonder whether you're really giving your best, or whethever this is just a quick, nice sounding hack.

Or in other words: are you working on improving the app, design-wise as well?


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Hello Terence, While I'm just

Post by mat »

Hello Terence,

While I'm just a (damn' happy) user and not involved at all with TJ otherwise than using it like hell and waiting for the continuous stream of incredible new features and improvements Jesse is offering with his next version(s), I really think your comment on the look of the app misses the point. I also possess apps like Iholophone, Beatmaker, Monle and the like, some are better looking, for sure, than TJ, some are like over-designed ugly christmass trees meeting a disco. It's not that I don"t mind about the look of softwares (I've been for some years a graphic artist in the video game industry) and for sure Thumbjam is not winning a price in the look section, but this app is more to me simply an instrument and does a very good job in terms of usability/playability in an already quite crowded interface. So, to me again, while an improvement in the general design of the app would surely boost its sales a little and would be ultimately welcome, it's clearly not on my priority list of desired features in the near future.

My advice: buy it anyway, it works, sounds incredible and is fun to use, you'll soon forget about your first bad-design impression and understand why simplicity can be a good thing here.

My two cents


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Hi Mat, thanks for your

Post by Terence »

Hi Mat,

thanks for your reply. Of course bad + beautiful is < good + ugly.

My point is that as a buyer, visuals count. This is not about superficiality. Good design tells me how determined a creator is, how much work went into something, how much he values what he does.

Good design tells me how refined the result will be. Whether I can expect quality. That this product is indeed worth my money.

It's now 24 hours after first I asked my question on this forum, and there is no official answer yet. I also asked via Email and didn't get any answer for 7 days. That problem, and the sub-par visuals just fit into the same general picture. Sad :-/


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Terence, I did not respond

Post by Jesse »

Terence, I did not respond because your initial accusatory attitude made it unlikely that my answer would be received with an open mind. I'm glad that you posted here so that other users who have tried it can tell you first-hand and in an unbiased manner how ThumbJam is a very well designed musical instrument, even if is not a shiny glowing piece of art. The interface tries to stay out of your way, leaving very little between you and the music, as a physical musical instrument does. The colors were chosen specifically to not be obnoxious in a low-light stage environment, in case you found yourself playing it on one.

I admit that there are a lot of features, and some of the interfaces you *haven't* seen may not be optimal designs. Anyway, I dare you to buy it and I wager that if you close your eyes and get past your preconceived notions about how quality software must be developed, you will really like it.

And I am more than happy to listen to any specific constructive criticism you might have about improving the interface after you've given it a try for yourself.

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I didnt even think of the

Post by Zephos66 »

I didnt even think of the look of it. Once I heard what it can do and how easy it was to use, it was so unbelievable. I dont even care for the ui its good and it works.

Think of it like the Wii and the PS3 and the XBOX360, Wii ripped up on sales and people were getting it b/c of the gameplay not the graphics. Think about it. do you have a Wii?

If you go and buy one of those 2500 keyboards with the touch lcd screen which is basicly the same thing but A LOT better, your looking to see what it does not how it looks.

So basicly if Jesse could somehow incorporate this into one of those Korg keyboards it would be sick.

I hope you change your mind, you dont know what your missing.

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Thumbjam is one of the only

Post by Soulwire »

Thumbjam is one of the only iPad/iPhone instruments that I would use in my live set. Hands down, one of my favorite apps. I've given recommendations for future updates simply because I know it's something that I would use. I wouldn't have a problem with in store bonus purchases if he needed more funding to continue this project.

As for the design, I want it to stay usable. I like the recolored root, 4th and 5th notes. It keeps me on track.

I'm not sure how you could redesign it to look better, except perhaps the ability to add designs on the keys or perhaps a glowing blurr when you push the key. That'd be wild...but when I'm standing in front of a crowd and performing, all they will notice is what I am playing.

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I'am sorry i read this post

Post by rallino »

I'am sorry i read this post late, anyway. First of all, to say that TJ is graphically "very ugly" is a heresy and still is a very subjective question.

Among other things, for me is beautiful in terms of graphic and functionality.
But i'l ask you Terence:"Have you ever played a song with TJ or something you played any with iPhone of a your friend? " Try

Possibly hear something in my posts, you'll have a lot to learn. I posted many songs played with TJ and the fun and the joy they showed me beautiful graphically TJ.

Great respect and reverence for Jesse Chappell, creator of ThumbJam, surely the result of a higher mind.

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Just to chime it... I can see

Post by caseyjamesbasichis »

Just to chime it...

I can see where thumbjams muted rainbow would be unfashionable -- kind of like the illegitimate child of the grey and pink of the 80's but....

With all of the chincy iPad interfaces emerging with glittery fairy dust spilling out over the screen at every note -- this interface is iconoclastic, it is unmistakable and unlike the rest.

I have an art background. I went to CalArts, I did graphic design professionally for many years. I worked at places like Industrial Light and Magic and Rhythm and Hues doing visual effects (said fairy dust). I dont do visual art professionally anymore because I am able to make a living doing music.

The lock step newspeak of Apples black and white minimal glass is tired and devoid of any sort of admirable character. It is the plastic incarnation of the nouveau riche. It is desperately trying to signal and pedestrian product as being a luxury item, when it is simply not.

Will the average Joe perceive this or care? No. People are raccoons seeking shininess.

If thumbjam achieves success on its merits, the pukey rainbow will be a signature of distinction.

Think Different is apples motto; meaningless unless action follows suit.

Be Different is preferred.

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Pukey rainbow, eh? I should

Post by Jesse »

Pukey rainbow, eh? I should put that on the main description page as a feature. Seriously, you should have seen the original incarnation, a full-on tie-dye bright plasma. Got a few too many comments about it and dimmed it down.

Should I let you customize the background and insert your own graphics? Would be pretty trivial, then no one could complain anymore. That or maybe one of you with art backgrounds can render me something tasty. I'd be happy to consider alternatives.

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Maybe Ill have a chance to

Post by caseyjamesbasichis »

Maybe Ill have a chance to make a few when the season is over. I would like to for sure.

Personally i don't need to be able to swap the picture but I wouldn't mind either way... Though you lose the advantage of brand recognition from the stage side peepers.

Something that does come to mind though... Maybe down the road.... Maybe in fantasy land.

Would it be technically possible to run video in the background? (using the iphone/pads built in decoding hardware).

Imagine being able to score a video or film directly in thumbjam, using the picture as the background.

It would need a linear timeline instead of a loop based one and probably a few other things.

Further into fantasy land -- if midi data were coupled with audio clips (so thumbjam would operate using audio as it does now, but it would store the corresponding midi for export) a score could be sketched anywhere and then brought back to the studio and loaded into a workstation.

About four million details are popping into my head so Ill stop...

To stick with a trend ThumbJam HD Scoring Edition (the HD is just for good measure)


For the first time, I used a little session from Thumb Jam in an episode of Adventure Time -- a disgruntled squirrel listening to a "Call Me Al" doppleganger.

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