The Dos and Don’ts of using Audio in Web Design

Today, audio is more accessible than ever. As a web designer, all you need it a good youtube converter and an audio clipping program in order to create your own custom web sounds. The sound is a rather neglected part of the web platform, with imagery being obviously the center stage attraction. While there are many out there that are keen on having sound on their websites, with many of them doing a great job in this sense, the general perception is still that one of disagreement when it comes to using music in web design projects. To put it simply, there’s a right way, and a wrong way to do it, and we’re going to look at the differences so that you may get a better idea of what is appropriate and what is unnecessary when it comes to sound on the web.

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The necessity of using sound in web projects

When it comes to a website or a mobile web app, sound can be necessary or completely unnecessary. There are a few things that you should ask yourself in order to make the right choice stand out more, in regards to using sound for a specific action. Is it important? Do users need to be aware of this ASAP? Is overlooking this a bad thing? Sound can be essential to making a specific feature or alert on a web platform stand out more. However, using sound for every single action like clicking on a different tab is not just unnecessary, but also very annoying.  Sound should be limited to very important elements that require an extra signal or flair.


The nature of the project

The sound might be more or less important based on what the web platform in question does. For example, a web app that helps users find music instrument deals, or offers tips on the best music stores in town, can benefit greatly from having a playlist of catchy and genre-specific tunes running in the background.  If the web app in question is based on reading a lot of text, such as news or even full-blown literature, sound or music might not be as appropriate since it could easily ruin the mood or distract readers.

Being careful not to upset people

The sound has an amazing power when it comes to annoying people. There are specific sounds that will make a calm person go nuts in a matter of minutes, so it’s very important that you are using sounds which won’t have this effect.  The easiest way to make sure that doesn’t happen to your web app is to make the sounds as short as possible, without nullifying their intent. It’s also worth keeping in mind that more or fewer people might be around the user, depending on what the app or web platform does. An app meant to be used in public crowded placed might benefit from being silent. The nature of the sound used is also important when making the distinction between casual and workplace.