The Sound of Software — Motif

Sounds are functional but beyond that it is visceral. Machines have their own jingles which set the mood through of the user…

We are surrounded by machines doing their own jingles. It can be the washing machine that clinks when the clothes are dry or the toaster dings!. Companies have weaved sounds in their products to communicate information & more importantly make them lively.

The sounds are functional but beyond that it is visceral. Machines have their own jingles which set the mood through our tasks.

“The person washing socks becomes the hero in a domestic drama”, — Brandon Satanek, UI/UX global manager at Whirlpool shares in an article. An appliance’s notifications provide the soundtrack support the movie, which follows an emotional arc.

Similarly, when a smart oven finishes preheating, it plays a hopeful phrase (da-da-di?), while a finished bake is accompanied by a triumphant da-di-dum! Likewise with the washer/dryer. “There are certain happy events in those situations,” Satanek said. “When you’ve finished washing your clothes, and you’re ready to smell those clean clothes, it’s a moment to celebrate. We want to reinforce those things in a really positive way with the sounds.”

Sound is visceral and induces strong stimuli in humans. Sound can help in decreasing the cognitive load on humans & demand focus. This is evident with brands using sound like a hallmark for their brands, whether its Coco Cola’s pop sound on opening the soda bottle, Ted Talk’s chime effect before each video or the god-like Windows 95 starting up and closing down. All have proven to be a natural quality

The Silence in the Digital World

Consumer products have made the best use of digital advancements to render better quality & range of sounds to consumers but surprisingly this does not hold true for digital products.

Our relationship with digital products is much intimate than a washing machine. We carry software in our pocket, unlike a washing machine. Software is consumed at several places & the idea of applications going bling bang boo doesn’t seem to be a great idea. But we can see the sound and hear the colors. Software doesn’t necessarily need to make noise to be heard. In the upcoming articles, I will be sharing how you can cut the cognitive load on the screen without making noise and establish a better recall in spatial relationships. But most importantly bringing user interface to life and build a relationship with the user.

Follow on medium to stay tuned and learn how modern softwares are built loud and clear.

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