Audio feedback in HTML-based web applications

21 Jul 2006 - 6:42pm
8 years ago
5 replies
780 reads
Sean Voisen
2006

Hi all,

I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts/ideas/research on audible feedback
in modern web applications. The reason I ask is that it seems to me these
days that audio tends to be largely ignored, especially with the recent push
for more DHTML/AJAX/Javascript-based applications (as opposed to
Flash-platform-based apps). Is this partially because the technology just
doesn't readily support it? (Though Flash does, and there are workarounds
for the issue, like this one:
http://www.schillmania.com/projects/soundmanager/). Or is it because sound
is rarely done well? Or is it just seen as usually unnecessary in most
contexts and thus ignored?

I'd be interested to know because I'm the interaction designer for a new
online learning application and we're contemplating using sound (beyond the
content multimedia) to create a more engaging environment for the user.

Apologies if this has been discussed before. I'm new to the list and
searched the archives but couldn't find anything.

Thanks,
- Sean

Comments

22 Jul 2006 - 2:17am
Russ
2005

Hi Sean,

One web-based service that I use where I find audio feedback useful
is Google Mail's chat feature. Whenever I receive a message, I hear a
very subtle earcon.

Russ

On 22 Jul 2006, at 00:42, Sean Voisen wrote:
> I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts/ideas/research on audible
> feedback
> in modern web applications.

22 Jul 2006 - 2:47am
Suresh JV
2004

Not connected with the learning environment, but here is a project worth
perusing.

http://peep.sourceforge.net/docs/peep-proposal.html

Is anyone using this in real time projects?? I would love to hear it.

--
Regards,
Suresh JV.

-----------------------------------------------
Logic takes you from A to B.
Creativity takes you everywhere.
-----------------------------------------------

22 Jul 2006 - 4:54pm
jbellis
2005

Sean,
I'm a "broken record" stuck on the groove that says the web, despite its
unprecedented gifts, has turned the clock back on software development---and
many elemental details of user experience---approximately 10 years. And
others frequently support the point that every tenet of usabiliyt is equally
applicable to web and non-web design. So I'd suggest that it is mostly, as
you say, "... because the technology just doesn't readily support it."

Sound is tremendously helpful and I'm quickly guessing that everything said
about color applies: use it judiciously and don't use it as a sole cue.
-Jack

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sean Voisen" <sean at voisen.org>
>
> I'd be interested to know because I'm the interaction designer for a new
> online learning application and we're contemplating using sound (beyond
the
> content multimedia) to create a more engaging environment for the user.
>

23 Jul 2006 - 11:22am
Sean Voisen
2006

>
> I'm a "broken record" stuck on the groove that says the web, despite its
> unprecedented gifts, has turned the clock back on software
> development---and
> many elemental details of user experience---approximately 10 years.

Jack, I totally agree with you there - as far as UI development is
concerned. The connectivity and social aspects surely are huge advances, but
they do come at that cost presently. Eventually, we might get back to where
we were on the desktop.

Technologies like Adobe Flash and Flex or OpenLaszlo can make up for the
gap, but many people seem wary of using them. Sure HTML/CSS degrades better,
but I see little difference between requiring a modern brower with jscript
turned on to support XMLHttpRequest and AJAX, and requiring the Flash
plug-in.

One web-based service that I use where I find audio feedback useful
> is Google Mail's chat feature. Whenever I receive a message, I hear a
> very subtle earcon.
>

Russ, forgot about that one ;) The first time I heard that, I had no clue
what it was because my window was in the background. Unfortunately, Google
doesn't have any other way of getting your attention when that happens.

- Sean

24 Jul 2006 - 10:31am
John Schrag
2005

-----Original Message-----
From:Sean Voisen
I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts/ideas/research on audible
feedback in modern web applications.
--------------------------

Hi, Sean. No deep insight from me, but something to think about:
A few years ago (with a previous employer) I was designing some learning
materials for an app that made use of sound (a spoken sound track, in
this case). We did a contextual inquiry at one of our customer sites --
a site with thousands of machines --- and discovered that none of the
machines had sound cards or speakers. It was against company policy,
because they didn't want their staff playing music or watching stuff
when they should be working.

In the end we still used the sound track, but we supplemented it with
close-captioning, always visible.

-john schrag
Interaction Designer
Autodesk
Toronto

Syndicate content Get the feed