Types of sound
Consider each separately, but plan for combining
Imagine your favourite movie without the iconic score. Jaws without the ominous two-chord warning? Star Wars without the incredible score, driving the action from the first iconic frame? Great music has its own life; it’s essential to the success of the production.
In film and game design this is also called asynchronous sound. It is not directly synced with other actions, but forms a mood bed or atmospheric sound-scape. Crickets chirping, a crackling fire or sounds of the city at night. Ambient loops that set a tone for the experience. Of all the types of sound, this has the strongest ability to subconsciously transport the user into the world of the experience.
Every interaction, achievement unlocked and warning can be enhanced with sound effects. They can reinforce the tone of the experience, and communicate greater detail quickly to a user. A clear warning tone might signal a low battery, before the user notices the flashing bar. A gentle bell or satisfying click when pressing a button can encourage and make an action more enjoyable. The nice pop effect when you pull down on Twitter to refresh results is a great example.
Voiceovers can humanise an experience, guide a user with instructions, and serve the functional roll of communicating important information in the absence of visuals. For example, a navigational app for driving or an instructional tool. Pitch recognition for tuning an instrument or voice recognition to receive commands are just a couple of possibilities. Voice assistance through apps such as Alexa or Siri are rapidly becoming part of every expense, from using our phone, operating our vehicles or setting the mood with some music at home. Voice recognition in sites and apps is growing and will continue to grow.