As we’ve seen, audio is used as a feedback mechanism when users interact with many of their everyday devices, such as mobile phones, cars, toys and robots. There are many subtleties to designing with audio in order to create useful, non-intrusive experiences. Here, we’ll explore some guidelines and principles to consider when designing with audio.
While I won’t cover this here, audio is a powerful tool for designing experiences for accessibility, and many of the guidelines discussed here apply. Both Android phones and iPhones already have accessibility options that enable richer experiences with gestural and audio input and audio output.
First, who designs audio? Certainly, the audio producers and game designers who bring gaming to life. There’s also the world of voice user interface designers — those who design interactive voice response telephone systems for banks, airlines, etc. Then there are mobile, toy and interaction designers who have some of this expertise or who work closely with audio engineers and producers to create the right experience for their devices.
If audio might play a part in your design, here are some considerations to make once you have determined that the user’s device has a speaker and can play audio, and is either network-connected or has enough memory to store audio on the device.