Friday, February 29, 2008

Adding Sound To A Web App

I was working on an app yesterday that called, I belived, for a few sound effects, to give it that polished feel. There were two challanges to solve, and here's how I solved them:

  1. How to play a sound based on a JavaScript event. I found the SoundManager did just what I wanted. I was able to hook up button presses and even AJAX events to specific sounds. SoundManager leverages flash, but you don't actually need to own or use the Flash authoring environment. As packages go, it's hard to beat.
  2. What sound to play. I'm not exactly sure who the istockphoto of sounds are, so I resorted to Googling around. I found sites here, here and utlimately here that had sounds I could easily download and appeared to have reasonable licenses.

The biggest lesson out of the whole experience though, was just how valuable adding the sounds to the app was. It was the equivalent of adding drop shadows and rounding the corners of the design - it doesn't make it look a little better, it makes it look much better. It's those little tweaks that add polish to an application and make it more pleasing to use.

Try adding a few subtle sounds to your next web app, I think you'll be impressed with the outcome.

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