Resources for Sound Design in Interfaces

Pairing animation with sound can enhance both the impact and meaning of an animation. In games, experiments, and interfaces alike, adding sound to animation adds a certain polish or depth to the experience. The connection between UI animation and sound has sparked me to do some research on sound design for interfaces. If you’ve been curious too here are the most interesting and useful resources I’ve found so far. (Updated August, 2019)


Designing Musical Interfaces (2015)
Audio and the User Experience (2007)
SUI: Sound User Interface in Web Design (2009)
Designing with Audio: What Is Sound good for? (2012)
Guidelines for Designing with Audio (2012)
Being Smart with Sound (2015)
Why Is That Thing Beeping? A Sound Design Primer (2004)

Sound in Design Systems

Material Design’s sound section
BlackBerry’s detailed earconography design system
(They designate layers for the sounds and what info/effects should go on each as well as list out the notes used in each sound.)
iOS Human Interface Guidelines on Audio
Beyond the Beep
(A collection of UI sounds from a few years ago)

Research papers/ebooks (PDFs)

Multi-listener sonification: A team approach to Interactive Auditory Display
Earcons and Icons: Their Structure and Common Design Principles
The SonicFinder: An Interface That Uses Auditory Icons
Auditory Interfaces
Utilizing Sound Effects in Mobile User Interface Design

On Music and Mood

What does a brand sound like? – Household Name Podcast
Characteristics of Musical Keys
Emotional Effects of Intervals

(I’ll update this periodically as I do more work and research around sound too.)

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