Sound designer and musician Roman Zimarev about how notification sounds and interactions affect the user experience. I create sounds for films, animations, promotional materials and various. In one of the last projects together with the team we have released the Icons8 library of UI sounds, which also was used in the advertising campaign of IKEA.
I often hear the opinion that the sounds in non-game applications — is bad. I am convinced that it was based on the numerous failed examples. In fact, the sound can greatly enhance the user experience or work where the GUI (graphical interface — vc.ru) cant help. Should only take really good sounds and paste in the really right place.
UI sounds can be divided into two groups. Notification sounds & interaction sounds with the interface. The main function is to attract the users attention to a specific event.
The main feature and advantage of this category is its independence from the graphical interface. These sounds are triggered in situations where a GUI is powerless. When we are not looking at the screen, the only thing that can attract our attention is the sound notification. Thus, sound enhances our ability.
The main function is to give feedback to the user, thus making the user experience more pleasant. These sounds are part of the interface — they are complementary, acting on the auditory organ of perception. Always nice to feel the results of their actions and make sure that everything went well. Successfully sent the message, completed the task in the todo list, or anything else — when the interface reacts and responds a little “SNiP”, it adds positive feelings.
Communication between the user and the app really becomes bilateral and the most complete. You should start by answering two important questions, which will eliminate the lions share of mistakes, made by beginners. The first is to think about what should be in the app and why.
The important thing here is not to overdo it. There is no need for that app sounded like a club of slot machines. Every time voicing a particular event, you have to wonder. “Do we need a sound?”.
You need to understand what is the function of each individual sound element, and to remove all the excess. To remain should be only those sounds that carry useful information or enhance the user experience. Example. In Facebook Messenger when sending a message is reproduced by double-clicking.
The first click means that the message was sent, and the second says that the message is delivered. And a separate notification sound when a contact has read the message. Each of these sounds carries useful information and communicate the read event to the subconscious level. No need to look at the small GUI elements to know whats going on.
Along with the graphic component of the sound should create a harmonious, designed in the same style picture. In many cases, a simple short clicks (click sounds) or pop sound (pop sounds) — they are unobtrusive and match with almost any design. It is not necessary to use sounds that are not combined with each other and with a graphical interface.
In Skype, for example, the prevailing theme of water, and it is clearly reflected in particular in the sound design. Speaking of well-sustained style, I want to mention the game Hidden Folks. To all — including sound. I was the sound designer sit on the edge of your seat waiting for the opportunity to make something equally bizarre.
In the same way as the logo, the sound may be part of the corporate style. For example, in my phone notification of new messages to different messengers (Telegram, WhatsApp, a simple SMS) are accompanied by the same sound. And only when a message arrives in Facebook Messenger, I heard the sound and not looking at the screen, you know exactly which app received a notification.
There are three ways to name the app: As a professional he will look at the situation from a different angle, think about what you might not occur to you, and take care of all technical aspects. To talk about the sound can sometimes be a bit tricky, so that you can back up words with references.
The sound designer may request a screencast of the app in action. The work on it is one of the most simple solutions. Then everything as always. Tests and edits.
You can hire a sound designer, which modifies (if necessary) have you found sounds, add missing ones and put it all together. Well-chosen moment. Some events can consist of multiple podsobili. In this case, it is very important to what podsobili linked audio.
For example, in-app Facebook publication record is accompanied by a characteristic sound alert. It is important that the sound is played not at the time of dispatch of the publication (pressing the button), and at the time when the record is posted. If we are talking about the “heavy” text, its publication is not instantaneous, so after clicking the “Submit” button, the user can do other things (e.g., flipping tape). And just hearing the same sound, he will know that everything went well.
Long sounds. Long sounds are more likely to make a mistake. They can be more Intrusive, to create a sense of “slowness” of the interface and in General have a negative impact on the user experience. When I hear a long beep, I sometimes have time to think.
“But when its over?!”. Short sounds take up less space, which has a positive effect on the overall size of the product. But “be careful” does not mean “dont do it again”.
The volume. Carefully select the volume level of each sound. Too loud and Intrusive noises become a reason for skepticism about the sounds in non-game applications in General. They annoy both the user and others. Adjust the volume to the level of “feel rather than hear clear”.
Then the user will receive the desired response and will not meet at the same oblique views, while in society. One more thing. All mobile devices have a built-in processor (DSP), which pulls all the sounds. While the speakers on these devices are not able to cleanly reproduce a signal at high volume.
You may wonder how disgusting and distorted sounds on your smartphone that sounds good when played back on your computer. Therefore, make the sounds quieter and all will be well. Obsession. Should be extremely cautious, voicing of events that are repeated too often.
Repetitive sounds can annoy the user. Nevertheless, if there is such a need — pick a short neat sounds that will bring to mind the frequent repetition. And be sure to allow the app the ability to disable sounds.
When not to use the sounds. If the product is a working tool that is usually used in an office environment, it is likely you should refrain from using sounds. Imagine a tightly Packed office of thirty people, in which every second something gurgles and clicks — it can turn into a cacophony and have a negative impact on working conditions. The same applies to the educational sphere.
Also, in most cases, it is not recommended to use the sounds on sites. Of course, only if it does not contradict the idea of the project (e.g., audiovisual performance). No one expects to hear the sound, and especially music on the site, so it is unlikely to be a pleasant surprise, and even alienate the user. This is especially true of corporate and ecommerce sites.
Few people think about it, but almost everything that surrounds us, makes sounds — whether it be nature or just objects of everyday surroundings. And these sounds rarely annoy us (of course, if we are not talking about the freeway outside the window). The problem is not the presence of sound, and how it is implemented. I remember I loved the sound when pressing issued lock button iPhone 4 — and Im talking about the physical sound.
Generally Apple has a special lab in which they explore the sounds that are physically produced by the buttons of their devices. But the sound is not only aesthetics. I recently stumbled upon the story of blind women about how her life has changed with the advent of new technologies. It is something more than improving the user experience.
Using voice commands and voice assistant, she finds the right bus stop, listens for Newspapers and makes much more. This is a good occasion to think about what could be useful sound. Send your speakers and front-end cases [email protected]