We now design sound on an unprecedented global scale. Our big technology platforms are also massive sound delivery platforms and few people are more qualified to discuss the subject of computer and notification sound design than our guest on this episode, Matthew Bennett.
With over 12 years of experience as Director of Sound + Sensory Design at Microsoft, Matthew created and shaped the sound of Microsoft’s major global products and platforms (Windows, Office, Outlook, Skype, Teams, Cortana, Hololens, Xbox, Surface, and Azure). He created the Microsoft Sound + Sensory Design Program to lead the development of the next-generation sound design language for the Microsoft ecosystem.
These sounds create a new kind of audio ecosystem, the global soundscape of technology. As an example, consider that the Windows 10 platform exists on more than one billion devices. If each device plays six system sounds per day (a conservative average), that works out to more than eight billion seconds—the equivalent of 253 years—of new sound being put into the world each day. And this number doesn’t include older versions of Windows, the other big platforms, or the millions of additional apps, devices, and products that produce sound.
Environmental sound affects every aspect of our lives—those humble little platform sounds are putting a lot of emotional energy into the world. What was the last device sound you heard and how did it make you feel? If your response is like that of many people, we need to shift the way we think about the global soundscape of technology.
To imagine what a more beautiful and functional global soundscape of technology could be like, think about the sound of the rainforest, an immersive sonic environment dense with useful information. It is also beautiful, harmonious, and calm. More than just a soundscape, this is a healthy, sustainable acoustic ecology. We should settle for nothing less in the sounds of technology that shape our products, our environments, and our daily lives".
The above thoughts are from a paper, written by Matthew, titled - 'Tuning the Sound of Technology - Cutting through the noise to design better digital experiences. If you feel bombarded by your device notifications and wish for a better, less intrusive, less alarming way, then tune-in to this episode to discover more.