The challenges of sound
Why aren’t sounds used more often on websites and apps?
1. Download size and streaming limits
We can overcome this a few ways. First, optimising sounds through good compression, that balances quality, size and bit rate. MP3 format is going to give a good balance of these factors, and audio tools will give you options for levels of compression. Stream larger files instead like music and ambient tracks. Load FX for instant playback.
2. Unexpected intrusion
Give users the option to disable sound and control levels. Let them choose their experience, and they will often choose to listen.
3. mobile limitations
On most mobile devices audio will not play until triggered by a user action. A simple solution is to start the experience with scroll or click event, that you can then bind your audio star to. Initialise ahead, and wait to fire load and play events the moment you get that first interaction.
4. sound overload
Not every action needs a sound effect. Sounds should serve a purpose. Use music and effects that inform or enhance the experience. Just like a good visual designer, don’t be afraid to cut. Too much of a good thing, can still be too much.
sound design for interactive is challenging because of the unpredictable interactions by users. This requires thoughtful planning to create just the right balance in real-time sound mixes
Interactive installation, ‘Sound in Performance’, focussed on balancing sound loop quantity and interactions to trigger them