Under The Microscope

Archive for January, 2018

Meet Farrago, Our Great New Soundboard App!

Today, we’re delighted to unveil a brand-new product! Our new soundboard app Farrago offers the best way to quickly play sound bites, audio effects, and music clips on your Mac. Podcasters can use Farrago to include musical accompaniment and sound effects during recording sessions, while theater techs can run the audio for live shows. Whether you want quick access to a library of sounds or you need to run through a defined list of audio, Farrago is here to assist!

We often use a wealth of text and images to show off a new product. This time, however, we thought we’d let Farrago introduce itself. Check out this quick one minute movie for a great overview of the app:

If you’ve used a soundboard app before, we think you’ll find Farrago familiar in its power and capabilities, yet refreshingly well-designed. Fast triggering via keyboard or mouse is coupled with robust playback options including fades, adjustable in/out points, and more. Meanwhile, the ability to customize unlimited sets of tile-based audio makes managing your sounds a breeze.

The end result is a powerful tool that’s still powerfully simple-to-use. Performers of all stripes can turn to Farrago for their on-demand audio playback needs.

A Great New Podcast Teammate

Farrago’s not just a skilled solo artist either. It also teams up splendidly with other tools in our software lineup. If you host a podcast, you can use Farrago alongside our audio routing tool Loopback to send all your audio to VoIP apps, such as Skype.

Loopback can combine audio from Farrago and your microphone, then get it to Skype

The setup for this is a breeze. Use Loopback to make a virtual device which grabs audio from both your physical microphone and Farrago. That virtual audio device, shown below as “LB: Mic + Farrago”, can then be set as the microphone source in Skype. Everyone on your call will then be able to hear the audio from both Farrago and your voice.

Of course, you can record this with our own Audio Hijack. With the above setup, setting it to record Skype will give you a file that includes everything you’d want: your voice, your remote caller’s voice, and Farrago’s audio.

With Farrago and our other tools, you can make your podcasts richer, with songs, interview clips, sound effects, and more. We hope Farrago can become a valued part of your podcast setup. Let us know how it goes!

Try Farrago Now

Visit the Farrago page to view more details and screenshots. As always, you can download a free trial and test it out. Better still, for a limited time, everyone can save over 20% with our introductory price of just $39!

We’re excited for you to get your hands on this new tool, and to hear how you use Farrago. We hope you’ll check it out now!

Get Started With Farrago

Usability Nightmare: Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s Alert System

It’s been a few years since our last Usability Nightmare post, but today’s particular design disaster is definitely worthy of being featured. You’ve likely heard about the recent false missile alert in Hawaii, which scared the heck out of a whole lot of people. Over at Dev.to, Ben Halpern had a good overview of the general issue, correctly noting that this was almost certainly a failure in design.

Today, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) released an annotated image showing the system which was used.

Screenshot of a confusing text-based interface
An incredible trainwreck of a design

The same selection screen contains both drill and real options, in extremely close proximity to one another. The naming of these options is inconsistent, and often opaque. Further, there’s no grouping to differentiate items. While there was a confirmation screen after this, it seems certain that it did not fully spell out what would occur. All of that led to literal panic in the streets.

This false alarm wasn’t even the worst thing which could happen as a result of this terrible design. While it caused a great deal of distress, there were no serious injuries reported. Far worse, and clearly possible, would be for someone to accidentally select the “Drill” option if a missile actually were inbound. In that case, no alert would be sent to the public, and the devastation could be greatly amplified.

Just a few minutes of time from a designer with even minimal experience could improve this layout dramatically. Here’s hoping HIEMA improves things, and that other agencies take notice as well.

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