As Tom explains, “we’ve become more comfortable with digital products having their own identity the design has become much flatter. Notebook apps don’t have to look like a real book, they don’t have to have seams or guide lines, and most importantly they don’t have to make the sound of pages being turned.” What is truly important, however, is the process of making digital design suitable for the devices we use everyday. “Sound is a vital component in our experience of, and interaction with, design. The lack of opportunity to close our ears dictates that we are continuously and inescapably connected to technological devices through sound,” says Will Renel an inclusive designer at the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design.
He continues, “through the established field of Acoustic Ecology and emerging disciplines such as Sonic Interaction Design (SID) we can understand sound and auditory communication as an element of design that can create comfort, provoke memories, increase concentration, aid navigation and define shared experiences. On the other hand, sound can distract, isolate, exclude, challenge privacy and cause physical pain.”
“Careful consideration of how and why sound is designed within technology is therefore a vital component in the creation of innovative user experiences that move beyond functional qualities (noise reduction, signalling, alarms and so on) and mediate new sociological interactions with ideas such as non-visual aesthetics, auditory emotion and sonic inclusivity. The sonic footprint of technological devices is undoubtedly a defining factor of contemporary auditory culture and the design of sound, sonic interaction and auditory communication within technology are therefore elements of cultural history that will be shaped by the thinking of designers and the practice of design.”
With the growing dependence of connected and digital devices to organise our lives, these communicative sounds will grow increasingly important ways of navigating our futuristic, non-visual technologies.
Watch the video here.