I'm building a todo-list app. Anybody working with todo-lists know there is a strong sense of achievement when ticking that box and watching the item disappear from the list. I want to reinforce that using some kind of anchoring.

I'm thinking a sharp sound like a "click" or "ping" and/or an animation/visual que. What is important when choosing sounds and/or animations for this purpose? How would a game developer do this?

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    Please note that the sound played does not have the same/as much (positive) impact as the visual event. Depending of your users, some will never notice there is an audio event because they have their sound turned off all the time. If you decide to still go for the audio event, I would suggest you add an option in your app to turn them off as some users can find it pretty annoying.
    – Alexandre Vaillancourt
    Mar 11, 2014 at 14:11
  • Please make sure people can turn off sounds. Not everybody enjoys their computer talking, beeping or whatever else makes sound at them. Mar 11, 2014 at 16:42
  • Valid point. While I agree in principal, a very short sound in conjunction with a user initiated action will probably be fine! Mar 12, 2014 at 8:37
  • No. It would not. Windows makes a sound when you click a node in the Windows Explorer (possibly only when you open or close it). That is a short sound in conjunction with user initiated action and it annoyed the h... out of me enough to turn off all Windows sounds. Short or not, user initiated action or not, a sound is a sound is a sound. So give people the ability to turn it off. Mar 12, 2014 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


I think casinos can be used as a good model for positively reinforcing a sense of achievement to the user. Specifically slot machines, as they make all types of pinging noises even when you are really losing money. This gives the user a false sense of achievement in a lot of cases but it can still be used as a good reference point.

This video summarizes a study around how slot machines use sound. How Slot Machine Sounds Trick You into Playing More

I think high pitched sounds definitely give the user a sense of victory or achievement. This should give you a good starting point.

You could also, search for information on the psychology of slot machines or sound in general.

Also, some sort of counting system that keeps track of tasks completed could give a sense of achievement (like reputation on stackexchange). Maybe weight tasks based on expected difficulty.

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    That said, I really would not want my work productivity app to sound like a Casino floor. :)
    – DA01
    Mar 11, 2014 at 16:02
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    Well, according to CSI and other tv series/movies, all software used by professionals are making a lot of high pitched noises, especially when they are performing searches in their databases :) Seems like quite an irritating environment to work in Mar 11, 2014 at 16:43
  • I was thinking something more in the lines of the clicker that is used in dogtraining, like this: youtube.com/watch?v=15vKqCSNhqY Mar 12, 2014 at 8:40

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