Wireframe S2 Episode 3—Sounds Like Good Design

“Designing Sound Notifications” by Lucas Wakamatsu

I’m a little behind this week due in part to my participation in World Interaction Design Day this past Tuesday, but a new episode of “Wireframe” was released this week and it’s all about designing sound notifications. You can listen to it below or subscribe in your favorite podcast app.

Sound is an aspect of user experience design that has until recently received relatively little attention. But apps, sites and products of all kinds are emitting more and more sounds all the time—you know this if you’ve been a consumer of any kind of tech product in the past decade. Virtually all of these sounds are the result of some kind of design intention, if they’re not the work of a designer expressly. So it was fascinating for me to explore this world through the lens of sound designer Connor Moore of Bay Area-based CMoore Sound (the beauty of the pun in the business name is an achievement in itself). In the episode he takes us through his work designing audio notifications for a point-of-sale device and an electric car—fascinating stuff.

For primarily visual designers like myself, the challenge of architecting audio experiences obviously requires grappling with a host of new factors. But what Moore showed us is that the basic process is the same as for designers working in any kind of medium: research, ideate, create, validate, and then repeat. That drove home for me how important it is for designers of all stripes to work in this medium.

As with each episode, there’s more background on the stories we dug up for this one in a companion blog post at Adobe. If you’re not familiar with “Wireframe,” it’s a unique kind of design podcast produced by Adobe and Gimlet Creative and hosted by yours truly. Instead of merely interviewing well known designers, we dig into the world of interaction design via heavily researched reporting and engaging narratives. In other words, stories instead of résumés. If you liked today’s episode, be sure to check out all six of the installments from our first season as well.

Art by Lucas Wakamatsu, who is illustrating each episode of this season.