Step 3: Playing Back Sound
The final step in the sound cycle is the user experiencehow will the reader play and listen to your audio files?
There are dozens of different options, but they fall into two basic categories:
Options that don't require a plug-in. A plug-in is an extra piece of software that readers must download separately in order to hear the sound. Many people consider plug-ins to be something of a pain, especially if they are for an application the reader doesn't use all the time.
Options that do require a plug-in. The plug-in players offer benefits, especially in certain circumstances. For example, they typically offer better sound quality because they are designed to explictly to play sound. In addition, most streaming options are plug-in based. If you are in an Intranet environment, you may know that your readers all have a certain plug-in installed as part of the standard supported environment. Or, if you are offering music as your core content readers will likely expect they'll need a plug-in to experience your site. If these are the case, then a plug-in solution may be your best bet.
Playback issues you should consider:
- What is required for my reader to listen to the audio?
- Plug-ins or no plug-ins?
- If plug-ins, which ones and why?
- What sort of environment is my reader likely to be in?