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October 15, 2008

Noise annoys

It’s not enough to make a well-designed product. The product also has to make well-designed sounds. Science Daily looks at industrial designer Elif Özcan Vieira’s PhD thesis on the subject:

The auditory experience of product users is not just “a sensory response to an acoustical stimulus.” In fact, users contribute characteristics, such as trustworthiness
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or a high standard of quality, to products on the basis of the sounds they produce.

teststarter I’m a huge believer in this theory; there’s not enough thought put into how we interact with objects sonically. When we were filming Chris Bangle and got to drive around the new BMW X6, I actually commented on how beautiful its fasten-your-seatbelt alarm chime was. Yes, I know those alarm chimes are supposed to be annoying in order to force you to buckle up. But can’t they be pleasantly annoying? Speaking of sound design, I’m obsessing over Bloom, Brian Eno’s new iPhone application. [Available in the iTunes App Store.] “Part instrument, part composition and part artwork,” Bloom is a generative ambient music synthesizer (you can make pretty sounds with it). It’s addictive, and it’s especially amazing when you plug your iPhone into your stereo system and crank it up. Best four bucks I’ve spent in a while. 300-209 [Thanks to Joshua Simmons for the Science Daily story.]

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