4 min read

#328 - 5 Principles for Choosing an Effective Peripheral

There are 5 design principles that determine whether an editing peripheral will enhance your editing workflow or merely look cool yet only clutter your suite.

In today's issue I wanted to share a new device that fulfils all five of these principles and in doing so, might be worth adding to your workflow.

But first, some pre-amble.

Editors, we love our desktop gadgets.

My edit suite now has so many illuminated buttons it's starting to look like the inside of the ISS. This is basically a by-product of having tried and tested most of the main tools on the market.

Most of the time though, most of us are working with a keyboard and pointing device - be that a mouse or a tablet. It's fast, efficient and has muscle memory baked in.

Therefore any supplementary device that would seek to enhance that default process would need to fulfil these 5 considerations:

5 Principles for an Effective Editing Peripheral (PEEP)

  1. The button/interface tells you what it does
  2. The button/interface updates with a change of context
  3. The controller can do more than a keyboard shortcut can (scripts/macros)
  4. The interface is ergonomic/tactile enough to enhance the experience (buttons, dials, sliders or others physical controls)
  5. The controller is easy to set up, customise and use

Historically a lot of older devices didn't hit all five of these and here I'm thinking of the Logitech G-13, Palette Gear, DJ Midi Twister, Contour Design Shuttle Pro v2, multi-button gaming mice and many others.

It's not that they didn't help get work done, I enjoyed using many of them myself, but you often had to memorise what was mapped to where or print out some kind of cheat sheet or refer to an on-screen overlay. Which doesn't always lead to a fluid experience.

Until I tested the Elgato Stream Deck.

It was then that I noodled out these 5 design principles as I tried to understand why the Stream Deck was so satisfying to use, and keep using, compared to other things I'd tried before.

A few weeks ago Elgato introduced a brand new Stream Deck - the Stream Deck Plus - which dials everything I love about the Stream Deck up to 11.

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