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Auditory Interfaces as a Sign System: An Application of Peircean Semiotics to Human-Computer Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  ] According to Blattner et al. (1989), earcons can be more easily understood when they are created following a “family-hierarchical” way. For example, all earcons representing executive orders should have the same rhythm, timbre, register and dynamic. In other words, earcons related to executive orders have common sonic characteristics. And each executive order (such as creating, moving, copying and deleting files) can be identified by its own, say, unique pitch. A character of rhythm, timbre, register and dynamic of sound makes a family that has the same category of function. And pitch identifies a constituent from its family. Combining a family with others, we may extend the meanings of earcons (Figure1). Note: A and B are single sounds and played by the same instrumental sound, which means a family of the executive order. Here, the only difference is the pitch, which can represent different functions such as creating or deleting; C and D are double sounds with the same rhythm, which means a family of data files. Only difference here is the timbre, which can represent types of files such as a text file or a graphic file. Figure 1. An example of earcons with a family-hierarchical structure

Authors: Nam, Yoon Jae.
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According to Blattner et al. (1989), earcons can be more easily understood when they are
created following a “family-hierarchical” way. For example, all earcons representing executive
orders should have the same rhythm, timbre, register and dynamic. In other words, earcons
related to executive orders have common sonic characteristics. And each executive order (such
as creating, moving, copying and deleting files) can be identified by its own, say, unique pitch.
A character of rhythm, timbre, register and dynamic of sound makes a family that has the
same category of function. And pitch identifies a constituent from its family. Combining a
family with others, we may extend the meanings of earcons (Figure1).
Note: A and B are single sounds and played by the same instrumental sound, which means a family of the executive
order. Here, the only difference is the pitch, which can represent different functions such as creating or deleting; C and D
are double sounds with the same rhythm, which means a family of data files. Only difference here is the timbre, which can
represent types of files such as a text file or a graphic file.
Figure 1. An example of earcons with a family-hierarchical structure


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