In our homes we now have home appliances such as a dish washing machine, a microwave oven, a washing machine, a tumble drier. Every one of these appliances makes a little sound notification when it's done to notify the user. This is understandable from the manufacturer's perspective. Of course a user wants to know when the dish washer is ready or when the tumble drier is done.

But none of these appliances (apart from the microwave oven possibly) requires immediate action by the user. As for the washing and tumble drying, nothing needs to be done right away. A dish washer needs to cool off and make the dish dry with the after-heat before it can be handled. The same goes for the tumble drier.

I wonder if anyone has pursued a study on the topic of home appliances sound notification and their usefulness. Or if there is an article out there on the subject? Maybe someone here from the industry knows the general idea behind the sound notifications? And if there is a thought on all these notifications working together in the perspective of a user at her/his home?

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    I can say I appreciate some sounds and others I either turn down or off. For my microwave the lack of sound tells me my food is done, but for the clothes washer, I appreciate a light chime since it becomes quiet/noisy several times in a cycle.
    – emragins
    Aug 21, 2014 at 19:31
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    I feel the opposite. I can't stand the chime on my dryer, but I'm always happy to hear the ding on the microwave.
    – Johnny UX
    Aug 21, 2014 at 20:54
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    Its a good question: there are nice non bugging kind of sounds and there are 'notice me now' sounds like the smoke alarm. So clearly getting both the kind of sound and the volume of sound correct does matter on a device.
    – PhillipW
    Aug 21, 2014 at 21:40
  • A lot of research on this in the human factors literature. Usually in reference to warnings/notifications in medical and industrial settings where safety is critical. It's usually called sonification. Worth a google scholar search.
    – uxzapper
    Aug 21, 2014 at 22:57
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    As a new father, I've got the washing machine going a lot more often than I used to, and the bleep to let me know it's done is very helpful to advance the load to the dryer (and get it done) as quickly as possible (it's helping me avoid needing to buy a whole bunch of clothes that will not fit my baby in a few months). I expect one day in the not too distant future we'll all get push notifications for our laundry and the bleep can fall by the wayside.
    – Kit Grose
    Aug 22, 2014 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


There are some vaguely related ISO standards on warning sounds:

Unfortunately they cost money to look at so I can't tell you how relevant they are.

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