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Interesting conflict.

I'm developing Timer camera app(IOS).

Generally , this app let set the timer to any number of seconds you want, when the time reaches 0 theres shutter sound and the image saves.

What i am trying to understand : What is the best indicator to use(Sound,Visual Effect,Flash etc) in order to notify the user to the up-coming shoot.

Example : Users choosing between Back\Front(Selfie) camera position , Sets the time(5 sec for example),Click on the "capture" button. Timer running from 5 to 0 , than the shoot is taken

Additional Info :

Because the users can see the Screen in Front(Selfie) Position im using visual indicator to let him know when the image is taken.

My Concerns :

When using the Back Position My only options to notify the users(He cant see the screen) are:

1)Flash - I'm preferring not to use this at all , i think its to much attention taker(some people might don't want use it, very dominant)

2)Sound - My preferred solution.

Question :

1) What is the sound type I should use? - for example : Beep,Background sound,White sound,please sound etc

2)The million dollar question , in which way/sequence/logic/frequency you think i should "present" it to maximise the UX? , in terms of not embarrassing/noisy etc

I hope we can figure this one - Thanks! :)

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Gradually speeding up sound

I suggest using speeding up sound. The faster the beeps, the closer to the shot. When beep is steady, it's time for the shot.

Imagine a ping pong ball falling down: it would click faster and faster. Or a house music song with gradually speeding up drums. Or a heart monitor beep.

Here are some close example I found (not perfect example but shows the idea): https://www.freesound.org/people/samfk360/sounds/148897/ https://www.freesound.org/people/reinsamba/sounds/39705/ https://www.freesound.org/people/univ_lyon3/sounds/166713/ --> This one is pretty good, because it clearly shows when is the end before the snapshot click.

(I suggest not using the heartrate kind of beep, but make it more "bubbly soft" gradually speeding up sound).

  • It would be interesting to listen to your final result. Could you share it? – Maciej Sawicki Aug 15 '15 at 0:11
  • Sure! Email me : muliastudios@gmail.com – Roi Mulia Aug 15 '15 at 0:16
  • Is there a chance you upload it to some file server and post it here, so that other people can listen to it? – Maciej Sawicki Aug 15 '15 at 1:12
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Note that cameras usually come with this feature and perform beeps in the last 3/5 seconds to let the photographed user/s know when to smile, but dont hesitate to experiment because i personally think a camera flash would be a very good identifier for people that are far away from the phone,but i do wonder who takes these types of pictures these days.

  • Yap. if i were outside i definitely would prefer like background sound which only i could recognize, and not visible flash.. so in how would you implement the sound order? – Roi Mulia Jun 14 '15 at 20:46
  • I hate this behaviour on my Cameras. I'd like to see a ticking that gets more intense as it gets gloser to 0 seconds. But it needs to be a non-annoying sound that sounds nice and isn't too loud. Maybe like a finetuned clockwork that slowly speeds up without hesitation – BlueWizard Jun 14 '15 at 20:50
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    +1 clockwork ,could sound very natrual reminding users of passing time. Excellent idea – downrep_nation Jun 14 '15 at 20:53
  • Would you think i should make this sound every second? or like each 2 or 3? + , would it be good idea to divide the "volume" (from 0.0 to 1.0) with the setted time , and than just let it flow? – Roi Mulia Jun 14 '15 at 21:02
  • Im worrying that they wont hear the difference , considering playing in the last second before the shoot. like triple noise so they will recognize it .. @JonasDralle – Roi Mulia Jun 14 '15 at 21:03
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The sound is a good idea (but it can be not enough in certain conditions, for instance in noisy environments).

I'd recommend to pay attention to pattern, frequency of your sound tone — It should be easily recognised by different people, not mixing, for instance, with speech tones, or other typical application sounds.

Also it is important to make the sequence in some case predictable, with hidden dynamics. For instance, first seconds the sound should be repeat the same sequence with the same silent intervals, but when it comes to finish, the tone of the sound can increase, and the interval between sounds decrease — similar to all these "bomb timer" effects in popular movies, but not in such exaggregated way.

You can read the book "Human factors in alarm design" by Neville Stanton, it has an extremely deep view on your problem.

  • I will read the PDF book for sure! But my main consideration is like you said, that in noisy environment it wont recognized because of noise, etc. The only solution i can think of, for Back Camera is using flash, but using flash to inform about upcoming shoot is pretty primitive, dont you think? – Roi Mulia Jun 15 '15 at 14:06
  • @roimulia it is not primitive, but rather working solution on most major cameras (but instead of flash, the light diode is used). is it possible to control the lightness of flash in any way (to make it less blinding)? If not, and the screen is visible to user (for instance, photo is made with front camera), you can make part of the screen blinking (with preview still visible) — it is less dazzle in effect. – Alex Ovtcharenko Jun 15 '15 at 15:22
  • @roimulia also keep in mind, that some sounds are less mixable with environmental sounds (for instance, those in car alarms are heard better not only because of loudness, but also because of their resonant nature), so try different sound approaches and combinations – Alex Ovtcharenko Jun 15 '15 at 15:24
  • At the end i went for this template , (nevermind the sound - havent choose the type yet). The sounds volume(between 0.0 to 1.0) increasing depends on the seconds (3 seconds - 0.33 , 0.66 , 1), to make a separation in case the user cant recognize the difference, i added like triple noise, when the noise finish it capture the shoot. thats actually great solution. my only problem is the sound i should use , pleasant yet meaningful.. any ideas? – Roi Mulia Jun 16 '15 at 21:21
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If you were restricted by hardware then you probably wouldn't want to do any of this but, since you're using iOS and have existing hardware, why not allow the user to record their own sound to be played 1 second before the shutter release. This could be automatically cued so that the shutter fires 1 second after the recording has finished playing. You could even offer them a small library of sounds like bell dings, bleeps, mechanical noises, pre-recorded voices saying 'Smile!'... Turn the whole thing into a feature that adds value to your product!

  • I thought about that actually , the problem is that i spent hours on the UI/UX , the genius thing about this app, is the minimalism and the UI/UX im offering , adding this might be a good feature , but its unnecessary decision that i can spare from the user (IMH), what do you think? :) – Roi Mulia Jun 15 '15 at 14:08
  • Even so, a small library of 5 or 6 sounds might solve the issues mentioned here of not being able to choose a sound that will be obvious yet subtle and work both indoors and outside. I'm a sound designer and composer in my spare time so I know that sounds that sound subtle in an open space can be overwhelming in an enclosed space and a sound that is subtle in an enclosed space will just disappear when outside so it's difficult to choose something for all scenarios - A single bell ping (like a bicycle bell) is about the only thing that will work well enough but that still won't please everyone – Andrew Martin Jun 15 '15 at 15:32
  • At the end i went for this template , (nevermind the sound - havent choose the type yet). The sounds volume(between 0.0 to 1.0) increasing depends on the seconds (3 seconds - 0.33 , 0.66 , 1), to make a separation in case the user cant recognize the difference, i added like triple noise, when the noise finish it capture the shoot. thats actually great solution. my only problem is the sound i should use , pleasant yet meaningful.. any ideas? – Roi Mulia Jun 16 '15 at 21:22
  • For something that can be heard in almost any surroundings and is pleasant yet meaningful is a fairly tall order but, as I suggested before, you probably want something like a single bicycle bell strike - something like this: youtu.be/QOCdB9vkXiA or this: orangefreesounds.com/desk-bell-sound – Andrew Martin Jun 17 '15 at 13:36

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