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Auditory Interfaces as a Sign System: An Application of Peircean Semiotics to Human-Computer Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  [ Sound can be used in more information-rich ways to show what is happening in a system. In particular, it can be used as a coding method for augmenting graphical representation. Buxton et al (1991) suggest that complex systems might benefit by using sounds that have a highly evolved hearing system capable of gathering very detailed information our environment, there should be a great potential to improve interfaces by exploiting this capability. Current uses of sound at the interface are largely for alerting and feedback purpose. For example, various forms of beeps and bells are used to indicate that an incorrect command has been issued or that a process needs attending to. The use of sounds as warning indicators has also been extensive in process control plants. Until recently few computers could generate deliberately designed sounds other than beeps, but this has changed in the last few years (Preece, 1994). Auditory interfaces can be divided into three kinds. One is verbal message, which uses speech, another is earcon, which uses musical sound, and the third is auditory icon, which uses natural sound (Preece, 1994). Each can be synthesized or sampled digitally. The following will examine into each auditory interface. The Three Types of Auditory Interface Verbal messages Verbal messages are an auditory interface that use speech sounds. If, for example, users open a program, a speech message, saying “Welcome to THIS program!,” comes out. There are two basic ways of generating speech. One is concatenation and the other is synthesis-by-rule. Concatenation is using digital recordings of real human voice. The voice may be stored as

Authors: Nam, Yoon Jae.
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Sound can be used in more information-rich ways to show what is happening in a
system. In particular, it can be used as a coding method for augmenting graphical
representation. Buxton et al (1991) suggest that complex systems might benefit by using
sounds that have a highly evolved hearing system capable of gathering very detailed
information our environment, there should be a great potential to improve interfaces by
exploiting this capability.
Current uses of sound at the interface are largely for alerting and feedback purpose.
For example, various forms of beeps and bells are used to indicate that an incorrect command
has been issued or that a process needs attending to. The use of sounds as warning indicators
has also been extensive in process control plants. Until recently few computers could generate
deliberately designed sounds other than beeps, but this has changed in the last few years
(Preece, 1994).
Auditory interfaces can be divided into three kinds. One is verbal message, which
uses speech, another is earcon, which uses musical sound, and the third is auditory icon, which
uses natural sound (Preece, 1994). Each can be synthesized or sampled digitally. The following
will examine into each auditory interface.
The Three Types of Auditory Interface
Verbal messages
Verbal messages are an auditory interface that use speech sounds. If, for example, users
open a program, a speech message, saying “Welcome to THIS program!,” comes out. There are
two basic ways of generating speech. One is concatenation and the other is synthesis-by-rule.
Concatenation is using digital recordings of real human voice. The voice may be stored as


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