Interactive Media iPhone Apps

Published on January 22nd, 2014 | by David Forshee

Is Your App Like a Silent Film?

Have you thought about how sound can enhance the expe­ri­ence of using your app?

In case you haven’t, here are a few rea­sons why you SHOULD con­sider sound as an inte­gral part of the design and devel­op­ment process:

1.)  Peo­ple are actu­ally listening.  

Not so long ago, you could eas­ily get away with hav­ing sub-par sounds (or no sounds at all) in your appli­ca­tion.  Who was really lis­ten­ing any­way?  Today, more and more peo­ple are using apps while lis­ten­ing through sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter speak­ers and head­phones.  Even the tiny speak­ers in mobile devices have dra­mat­i­cally improved over the years.

2.) Your app is more immer­sive and more respon­sive with sound…it’s science!  

Soni­fi­ca­tion is becom­ing a very hot research topic in the audio com­mu­nity.  Soni­fi­ca­tion is “the use of non-speech audio to con­vey infor­ma­tion or per­cep­tu­al­ize data. Audi­tory per­cep­tion has advan­tages in tem­po­ral, ampli­tude, and fre­quency res­o­lu­tion that open pos­si­bil­i­ties as an alter­na­tive or com­ple­ment to visu­al­iza­tion techniques.”

In a nut­shell, this means that our sense of hear­ing has sev­eral key advan­tages over sight.  Why wouldn’t we make use of this in the sounds of our applications?

Apps have tra­di­tion­ally used sound cues to con­firm respon­sive­ness of the app (e.g. the “bloop” sound when you swipe down to update your Twit­ter feed) or for noti­fi­ca­tions, but one can sonify app data and user input in very cre­ative ways to enhance the over­all expe­ri­ence and immerse the user.  Audio for a lot of today’s video games are in fact very sophis­ti­cated soni­fi­ca­tion systems.

3.) Sound can make your app stand out in an increas­ingly crowded app marketplace.  

Use sound to cre­ate a user expe­ri­ence that peo­ple will remem­ber.  With the Apple App Store hit­ting the 1 mil­lion app mark recently, the app mar­ket­place is as crowded as ever!  Sound can give your app a unique “brand­ing” that users will remem­ber.  It might just set your app apart from the competition!

4.) It’s eas­ier than ever to find sounds fully-licensed for app development.

As you begin to search for sounds to enhance your app, you may real­ize that some sound effects are not licensed for use in mobile devices or inter­ac­tive appli­ca­tions.  Enter App FX, cre­ated by Ric Viers of Blast­wave FX (also author of The Sound Effects Bible).  This com­pre­hen­sive library gives you all of the sounds you’ll need to give your users the com­plete expe­ri­ence they expect when using a well-designed app.  Besides being a col­lec­tion of incred­i­ble sounds, the sounds are com­pletely roy­alty free and come with a mechan­i­cal license, mean­ing you can use these in your appli­ca­tion with confidence!

Each sound effect was designed and mas­tered by Blast­wave FX’s team at the Detroit Chop Shop, ren­dered as 24-bit/96kHz .wav files and deliv­ered in pop­u­lar audio for­mats for inter­ac­tive appli­ca­tions: MP3, 16-bit/44.1kHz .wav, and Ogg Vor­bis (Appcelerator’s Tita­nium plat­form sup­ports MP3 and WAVE file play­back)  The col­lec­tion is fully cat­a­loged for ease of use, and com­plete with embed­ded meta­data includ­ing descrip­tion, cat­e­gory, and key­words for easy search and retrieval.

App FX is cur­rently avail­able on the Pro Sound Effects web­site:

Check out some sounds from App FX below:

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