Considering the Perceptual Implications of Auditory Rich Content on the Web

Considering the Perceptual Implications of Auditory Rich Content on the Web

Flaithrí Neff (University College Cork, Ireland), Aidan Kehoe (University College Cork, Ireland) and Ian Pitt (University College Cork, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-896-3.ch010
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Abstract

In this chapter the authors discuss the growing relevance of audio on the World Wide Web, and show how new issues of accessibility and usability are coming to the fore. Web designers are employing an increasingly rich palette of sounds to enhance the user “experience”, but apart from guidelines for facilitating screen-readers, very little exists in the way of design strategies for non-speech sound content. Although their primary focus is on web accessibility for visually disabled users, the same issues are increasingly applicable to sighted users accessing the web via WIFI enabled mobile devices with small screen real estate. The authors present an auditory user interface model aimed at conceptualizing the perceptual issues involved when presenting a rich soundscape to the user, and show how this model can help web designers to consider issues of accessibility and usability without detracting from the “experience”. Non-speech sound is not only a means of entertainment or background enhancement, but can also efficiently relay useful information to the user – a function that is still underutilized on the web.

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