Product Sound Design (“Sonification”)

Sound has the distinct advantage of not requiring us to pay direct attention to it to perceive it and comprehend it’s meaning. This makes sound design an invaluable tool for the enhancement of your user experience in both hardware and software products.

User insight an essential first step

The wisdom of incorporating audio feedback into your products is not a given. That’s why Brand Timbre begins every sonification project with research into what users need and how sound might help (or hinder) their experience. Sometimes these insights have already been uncovered, and other times Brand Timbre works with product development teams to observe users and identify events that would benefit from the integration of a sonic element.    

Function and character

Once a product’s sonic elements have been determined, two basic questions drive the sound design process: What type of sounds will do the job most effectively? (e.g., alert a technician in a busy laboratory, confirm that a banking transaction has been completed, etc.); and How should the character of the sounds reflect the product’s “personality” and, more broadly, the spirit of your brand?  

Again, as with any Environmental Sound Design project, product sonification should serve two roles: first, to improve functionality; second, to infuse your product with your brand personality so that users are better able to connect with it emotionally. Beyond making your products more usable, then, thoughtful sonification can also make them lovable. And, by drawing on your Audio Identity to develop your product sounds, you also ensure a cohesive audio ecosystem that delivers a consistent audio impression across all audio touch points.