Jonathan Follett thinks that audio is often a missing ingredient when designers and developers create user experiences—be they for Web applications, desktop applications, or digital devices, and that the integration of audio into graphic user interfaces is still a rarity.

In an article for UXmatters, he analyses the reasons for audio’s limited role in UX: audio can be distracting, UX practitioners often have a visual design background, and then there are the technical constraints and budget limitations.

Follett then asks if there are useful ways in which we can expand the role of audio in UX design, and specifically, if are there ways to provide effective audio cues to better help direct or assist users.

He examines other areas of design—industrial design and game design, in particular—for inspiration and concludes that there are three areas where we can incorporate audio into our user experiences:
– ambient background sound
– task- and event-based signals
– warnings and notifications

Read full story