I can't think of any benefit to emit an audible sound when one clicks or taps on a touchscreen or desktop. However, I have dealt with legacy products that have done this, not just on destructive actions but always.

What are the benefits of such an action? The only one I can think of is if the screen is unresponsive in regards to not capturing 100% of taps it provides feedback that one's action occurred.

I can see the benefit of unique actions such as the emptying of a recycling/Trash bin.

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I think there are just a few uses for emitting sound in those actions:

  • As you mention to provide feedback in very rare cases
  • When there's a possible or expected delay between the user's action and the result of that action.
  • Get the attention of the user in case of an error that really needs the user's attention.
  • Accessibility: Helping the visually impaired users when the visual feedback is clear for the average user but not enough for them.
  • Experience, branding: in the right occasions, sound can enhance the experience of an action. One example could be, clicking the checkbox of a to-do app, it could be more gratification to hear some kind of sound (usually a "happy bell") which could increase the feeling of reward for the user, making it more appealing. As a branding example, you could imagine someone ordering brew beer online and after the user confirms the order, show the order confirmation with some message like "your order is on it's way" while a "filling glass with beer" sound plays.

In general, I think we should use them only when the benefit is undoubted, otherwise we risk annoying our users.

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    really appreciate the thoughts. I remember when i was an intern at statefarm we did their jingle when an ATM/Kiosk we were designing booted up and marketing absolutely loved it. I totally forgot about the branding/experience point. Apr 21, 2020 at 22:03

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