Increasingly, we are surrounded by audio signals emitted by our devices. These sounds carry an information and they are used to draw our attention, with the power of improving users’ experience and the perception of a brand in a significant way.
Sound design is the art of creating and manipulating audio recordings with the aid of microphones, softwares and sound devices. This practice may be helpful to create signals or atmospheres that most of the times cannot be communicated just visually, bringing up emotions and a sense of memory, and sometimes becoming an integral part of a brand identity.
The role of a sound designer covers the understanding of the core values in a brand, as well as reflecting the meaning of what needs to be communicated, by using correct sound sources and giving it a proper dimension in the whole context.
Have you ever thought about how your phone notifications can be recognizable and audible enough, even in a noisy environment? Nowadays, sound design became a critical consideration in the world of user experience design, reinforcing interactions and allowing information to reach us even when our eyes aren’t looking at a screen.
In successful cases, users create a strong association with the brand and the sound palette that has been adopted. As Sound Designer, it is important to study and implement audio signals so to build a coherent hierarchy and facilitate users in the association of a sound with an action or notification, while recognizing its relevance. The collaboration between UX/UI Design and Sound Design branches brings harmony between graphic components and sound, establishing a unique brand identity while meeting the need of standard signals.
Although it is strongly recommended to rely on a professional Sound Designer, there are tools that may help UX/UI Designers give a first shape to sounds, starting from standard kits that can be downloaded. Common softwares for basic sound editing are Audacity and Ocenaudio, both free and open source, offering a selection of effects and principal editing operations. For those who are a bit more experienced and need more features, Adobe Audition provides an advanced editing tool with an easy-to-understand interface.
This practice have an unlimited number of applications in operative systems, games, VR, virtual assistants and other devices we interact with, and that will probably surround us everyday more.