Hot answers tagged

238

Because it is almost always annoying. You probably recognize this situation: You’re surfing the web looking for inspiration, you click on some links, monitor your Twitter feed, and open pages in the background for later review. Suddenly your computer starts to scream! It’s some rock song, very loud and unrecognizable because of it’s way-too-low bit rate. ...


192

Don't do it. A lot of people (myself included) open many new tabs rather than browse in a single one. If I suddenly have a noise coming from a tab: I have to find the offending tab When I do find it, I'm annoyed with whichever company / site it is I then close the tab There is no good reason to do on a website. In an app, I would still argue against this,...


121

My understanding was that it came from a time when startup could take a while, during which the user's attention would be elsewhere and therefore worth notifying them when the computer was ready for use. Something similar was mentioned in answer to another question: The Operating System took so long to start up that the chime notified people that it ...


71

Context is important here. Sound feedback can be very useful when people need or expect it. The ATM. That annoying credit card pad that only accepts a button push every 3rd time at the pharmacy check out line. A cash register. And maybe it can be important for your web site, but realize that that is a very atypical behavior and not something your users are ...


69

Don't do this! Jacob Nielsen listed this in his article "Readers' Comments on the new Top-10 Design Mistakes" where it is being called "intrusive" and "highly annoying".


47

Answer this first: Is the user expecting it? To cite some actual recommendations rather than opinions, the punkchip article Autoplay is bad for all users is 3 years old but as valid as ever. The article should be read in it's entirety, but quotes the W3C’s specification for accessibility (WCAG 2.0). There is a small note in one of the audio criterion, ...


40

I think the other hand question is why sound is used on Skype login, and the answer is because the way we usually use Skype. Considering that Skype is one of the most common (if not the ONE MOST common) application to make online audio and video conferences, playing a brief sound on logging in is a way to check if audio is currently on and well configured. ...


32

Part of it is iconic branding, much like putting the logo on the boot screen. I can still remember the startup sound from windows xp and playstation one.


31

Many of the other answers touch on very good points, but I will add something that I did not see mentioned to the proper degree. Respect. For both the user, and others who might be near them. Keeping in mind that the internet is not something that is only used when you're at home in a secluded space focused completely upon the computer screen, the ...


30

While I concur with all the others who recommend not doing this, there are some (few) products where start-up sounds makes sense: Hardware boot, where the Mac startup chime and the IBM POST beep codes both signify that nothing has gone wrong with the hardware (or, alternatively, that something has gone wrong with the hardware). Depending on the hardware ...


28

Put on a song that you know, and have someone hit pause and play at random times, then have them randomly turn the volume up and down. Lowering the volume, rather than pausing the music, is less disruptive to the user. Your brain can fill in the gaps in music they are listening to if they are even somewhat familiar with it (it's why people can listen to ...


28

I like Benny Skogberg's answer, and I agree with his advice, but I wanted to elaborate on the specifics of what makes sound annoying. The main problem with sound is that it is inherently very intrusive. A banner ad can be ignored relatively easily to reach content, and even a popup can be ignored by switching to a different window. A sound playing from a ...


28

To give auditory feedback to the user that the system has started loading. Here are 3 reasons why: Prevent users from hitting the power button multiple times. Users should not wonder whether the system is starting or not. If there was no starting sound how would users know that the system has successfully started? They might press the power button a ...


23

It's all about expectation and convention / consensus, also in some respect it's about courtesy to your user, and not irritating them. Web Pages - No, never. The experience of opening web page which plays a sound, is widely accepted as negative. You will be hard pressed to find a popular web page/app that does this, Generally this consensus has been ...


20

Beeps during POST are there to help with troubleshooting. Think of it like debugging: if you can't tell why your script isn't working or where, it helps to have it echoing its status along the way in a very verbose manner so it becomes apparent where the issue is. It's like a ping. POST does a lot of simple things very quickly to test itself (this is all in ...


16

I would ordinarily not offer an opinion here (as I am just barely worthy to read this site), but I would remind everyone that while the vast majority of users are sighted, introducing sounds can interfere with visually impaired users. If you do add sound (which I think is an excellent idea), please make sure that you include a way for those with difficulties ...


13

I'll answer the question from a slightly different angle... The intention would be - evoking emotions on the user - make the brandname "stick" I think that's what needs the focus. There's two issues here: evoke emotion Sound can certainly evoke emotion. However, in the context of a user trying to accomplish a task, what are the emotions they'd ...


13

Tradition is important. If you think in terms of web 1.0 there are far fewer events that might logically need sound. A couple of examples of when someone might put sound in, but it wouldn't add much if anything: You log in/fail to log in; a page loads (this could be done in the browser, I have an idea there was an option/add-on for this in netscape). About ...


12

Playing sounds can be useful when showing error messages, information dialog boxes etc. However... It is not the responsibility of your application to force the user to hear these sounds. This is something that must be configurable by the user, and since most operating systems already have such a configuration possibility, I see no added value in creating ...


12

Annoying is the key here. Just to add another common (to me) use case. I open many browser tabs relatively quickly when I'm looking at news sites. I'll see a headline I'm interested in, right click to open in new tab then read the next headline, etc. Similarly, on this site I just went through the 'hot questions' links and this is the first of 8 questions ...


12

Asides from old systems and their delay times at start, or branding considerations (both correct reasons), one reason that I might add is that it serves as a Sensory Cue. This is true both for blind or impaired vision users, in which startup sound is of paramount importance (this sound is the only indication they have in order to know that the system is "...


11

I recommend looking at this smashing magazine article Designing With Audio: What Is Sound Good For? for additional inputs on how sound is used to communicate feedback and bring about interaction with the users. To quote the article : MOBILE Much of the Web is moving to mobile, which of course entails smaller screens and people on the go. But ...


10

Back in the day when Flash first became popular, we had an endless list of website using sound. It was really annoying and everyone hated it. Before that there was MIDI background music on GeoCities/MySpace pages, which was likewise an object of much scorn. Almost everyone (except marketers and angsty teenagers) agreed that the best amount of sound on a ...


9

The goal of this sound is to associate the brand with the listener's experience on the site. The risks of this going wrong seem to outweigh the benefits. First, the person ended up on your site hopefully through a conscious decision. So you aren't giving the user any new, useful information by playing a sound. Meanwhile, there are plenty of scenarios where ...


9

I don't think its a problem with your television but an issue with the fact that there is no normalized specifications for the sound on tv. To quote this article from Gizmodo "We try to normalize all the different content as best as we can," says 'John', "but it becomes difficult to meet consumer expectations without adding audio artifacts that might ...


9

Sound effects are a type of attraction to the user, true. But take care of the following things while implementing sound: The sound should be pleasant, which means it should not be annoying or irritating. Different people have different preferences. Be aware of that. People working working at offices prefer silence. If a user opens your website and a sound ...


8

You can't count on sound being on, it isn't accessible to every user, and it can be distracting and downright annoying for apps used over long periods. These reasons make it time consuming and somewhat expensive to get right. If you have to choose between a new feature and some kind of branding you're not sure is ever going to be noticed most often ...


7

You've mentioned that a technician could have plugged a speaker into the modem, but many problems with modems were of a non-technical nature: Phone number was engaged. Wrong number and a person was answering the phone. Best to know about it early rather than continually calling back. Phone number kept ringing indicating a problem at the other end. General ...


6

The choice of which is better is mostly personal. I know some people prefer the one and other people prefer the other. Either one is a fair choice, so ask some of your users and then make a decision on the default behaviour based on their feedback. I would however recommend having an option in your app for how to handle the situation. In addition to ...


6

Most people don't have an external amplifier or control on their audio output, so you can't assume it is there. You then need two other controls. One master control to set the desired global range of all your applications, and local controls for each application to set their sound relative to your global setting. If you tried to remove either one of these,...


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