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Auditory Interfaces as a Sign System: An Application of Peircean Semiotics to Human-Computer Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  ^ Auditory icons Auditory icons are familiar real world sounds which have an intuitive mapping in the interface (Papp III & Blattner, 1996). Human beings have a magical ability to identify sources of everyday sounds very accurately, up to 95% in some cases (Brewster, 1994). For example, by just hearing the sound of rain drops on the roof, we can tell that it is raining. We often immediately understand what is going on only by hearing sounds of tearing a paper or juggling keys. Another important property of everyday sounds is that they can convey multidimensional information. Only by hearing a door slam, a listener can get multiple layers of information such as the size and material properties of the door, the force that was used, the size of the room, etc. (Brewster, 1994). An auditory icon is made of everyday sounds, which represent relevant actions and objects. Like earcons, auditory icons can be constructed to produce a family of related sounds. Unlike earcons, however, this is done by parameterising auditory icons along with relevant dimensions of the events (Gaver, 1997). If, for example, users select a file, a tapping sound may come out. A visual icon is being dragged to make a sound of scratching a surface and then when it is moving another folder window, another sound of scratching would be produced. For a file closing, a sound of door shutting can be attached; if the size of the files can be represented by degrees of the depth of the sound.

Authors: Nam, Yoon Jae.
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Auditory icons
Auditory icons are familiar real world sounds which have an intuitive mapping in the
interface (Papp III & Blattner, 1996). Human beings have a magical ability to identify sources
of everyday sounds very accurately, up to 95% in some cases (Brewster, 1994). For example, by
just hearing the sound of rain drops on the roof, we can tell that it is raining. We often
immediately understand what is going on only by hearing sounds of tearing a paper or
juggling keys.
Another important property of everyday sounds is that they can convey multidimensional
information. Only by hearing a door slam, a listener can get multiple layers of information
such as the size and material properties of the door, the force that was used, the size of the
room, etc. (Brewster, 1994).
An auditory icon is made of everyday sounds, which represent relevant actions and objects.
Like earcons, auditory icons can be constructed to produce a family of related sounds. Unlike
earcons, however, this is done by parameterising auditory icons along with relevant
dimensions of the events (Gaver, 1997). If, for example, users select a file, a tapping sound may
come out.
A visual icon is being dragged to make a sound of scratching a surface and then when it is
moving another folder window, another sound of scratching would be produced. For a file
closing, a sound of door shutting can be attached; if the size of the files can be represented by
degrees of the depth of the sound.


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