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Designing with Sound : Page 3

If you're reading this, you've probably decided you want to use sound in your site. So now's the time to start thinking about sound as a design element and how your design can affect you and your readers.


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Creator Considerations
In this section, we discuss what you need to consider before putting sound on your site.

When using sound on your site, you need to think about your readers. You need to balance file size and file quality, make sure your readers know how to stop or otherwise control the sound, and you need to address how long it'll take for readers to download the sound.

    File Sizes
  • Make sure you don't compress your files to the point that you lose the quality of sound you'd like your readers to hear.

  • Keep embedded sound files as small as possible, unless you know your entire audience has a T1 connection. Sure, your dramatic narration of last summer's vacation is fascinating--but few people would be willing to wait 20 minutes to listen to it.

  • Warn readers about how long it'll take to download. Letting people know whether they're in for a 45 second wait, or a five minute 45 second wait may save you from getting a lot of hate mail--or simply reducing the chance of people going elsewhere.



    Sound Control
  • Make sure your readers can find the sounds easily and detect them as sounds.Give readers directions for hearing sounds or downloading sounds.

  • Keep sound controls out in the open. Readers will want to know how to play the sound, stop it, replay it, or change the volume. Listening to Devo at full volume may be your greatest thrill, but it could really annoy some of your readers. One person's "too soft" is another's "blaringly loud."

    Plug-ins
  • If you're using streaming audio, do you have a link for downloading the audio player? If you're using plug-ins to play back streaming audio on your site (vs built-in plug-ins), include a way for readers to obtain the necessary plug-in, such as a link to the plug-ins download site.




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