Please support tablet (touchscreen) devices

We often have a tablet computer available for the kids (and grown-ups) to use at home and on the go. It would be really nice, if we could compose music on Hookpad via tablet devices. However, the user experience on touchscreen devices is quite frustrating. What are the challenges and plans related to Hookpad supporting touchscreen, tablet devices?

Hey @brylie,

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this. We designed and built Hookpad for keyboard and mouse.

We made a rule from the get-go to not make any compromises to make something work half-baked on mobile/touch that might sacrifice the desktop experience (keyboard / mouse input).

All that said, we have put in some effort to give basic support to most features on touch, so it is useable on touch.

I use Hookpad on my iPad sometimes and agree the UI is far from ideal since it was built for a mouse.

We have our own internal list of things we know need updating for better touch support, but if you have specific ideas, feel free to add them here.

At this point, we are still debating if “touch first” UI / interaction model for Hookpad even makes sense. To be clear, this would be a completely different build of Hookpad, much like GarageBand for iOS is a different beast than GarageBand for macOS. Would love to hear your thoughts.

I think Hookpad is fairly close to having a design that works both for desktop and tablet computers. Some user experience review sessions on tablet, with new users rather than internal staff, might illuminate some low hanging fruit.

One thing might be to add interaction widgets for resizing and moving notes in the melody editor, which could be useful for mouse users as well. Imagine if when clicking or touching a note, the user sees a drag handles for changing the length, a drag handle for moving the note around, and common actions like raise/lower, and the octave jumps. This would be akin to the idea of direct manipulation by putting relevant actions near the place of interaction. Touching or clicking elsewhere would dismiss the note manipulation widgets.

Perhaps also the sequencer could be made to scale to full width on tablet interfaces, as it seems to be slightly wider than the screen by default. The zoom buttons are useful but seem somewhat redundant, while a “fit to screen width” might make it simple for people to see all 8 measures in a row.

Relatedly, scroll handles or a similar widget could make it obvious for mobile users how to scroll and pan the UI when the song extends off-screen.

I have found Hooktheory works fine on iPad if you have a smartkeyboard. Arrow keys for movement around the piece and using shift arrow keys for selecting, alt for moving around works well enough. A touch can screw up the entire thing, but that’s why I make frequent backups! The recent UI change does make things cramped on a 4:3 display ratio, however.

I pushed 2.18.0 today, which has several improvements for touch that I’m pretty pumped about (release notes). I also wrote a post on our blog on how I set up Hookpad on iPad. Let me know if these updates help!


@brylie, have you had a chance to use Hookpad 2.18 or higher on iPad? Would love to hear if you find the new touch controls and general touch UI improvements helpful. I wrote a quick post last week 5 Tips for Using Hookpad on iPad in 2020 that sums up the new touch features and my preferred settings config for iOS.


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Yes, the interface improvements make it easier to input notes and navigate around in a song. Thanks :blush:

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@brylie, right on! glad those additions helped.