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Auditory Interfaces as a Sign System: An Application of Peircean Semiotics to Human-Computer Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  _ Auditory interfaces as a sign system This study analyzes auditory interfaces as a sign system. According to Peirce (1955, p. 99), “a sign is something standing for something to somebody in some respects or capacity.” As a sign, an auditory interface also stands for an event or a message. A computer program has many sign elements such as buttons, scroll bars, visual icons, auditory icons and languages. They are expected to help users interact with a computer intuitively and easily. When a program’s usability is high, users understand intentions of the programmer well. In this sense, when we work on a computer, there are always ongoing exchanges of signs between programmers and users. To click a mouse button or strike a keyboard, the users should interpret and understand the signs provided by the programmers. Auditory interfaces (verbal messages, earcons, auditory icons) are also signs representing certain events in computing. And each kind of auditory interface has its own references and meanings. According to Eco (1976) and Rossi-Landi (1975), a sign is produced through a three-staged process. In the first stage, a ‘percept’ is produced through ‘perceiving’ material sensory data of an external object. In the second stage, a ‘sign’ is produced from the percept by the action of ‘signifying.’ Lastly, a ‘meaning’ is produced from the sign by the action of ‘interpreting.’ Relying on the theories of sign production, we modeled the process as shown in figure 6 (reference deleted for author’s identification). The sign production theories imply that degrees of interpretability would determine the usability of an auditory interface: An auditory interface that can be more easily interpreted and understood would have a higher level of usability.

Authors: Nam, Yoon Jae.
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_
Auditory interfaces as a sign system
This study analyzes auditory interfaces as a sign system. According to Peirce (1955, p. 99), “a
sign is something standing for something to somebody in some respects or capacity.” As a sign,
an auditory interface also stands for an event or a message.
A computer program has many sign elements such as buttons, scroll bars, visual icons,
auditory icons and languages. They are expected to help users interact with a computer
intuitively and easily. When a program’s usability is high, users understand intentions of the
programmer well. In this sense, when we work on a computer, there are always ongoing
exchanges of signs between programmers and users. To click a mouse button or strike a
keyboard, the users should interpret and understand the signs provided by the programmers.
Auditory interfaces (verbal messages, earcons, auditory icons) are also signs representing
certain events in computing. And each kind of auditory interface has its own references and
meanings.
According to Eco (1976) and Rossi-Landi (1975), a sign is produced through a three-staged
process. In the first stage, a ‘percept’ is produced through ‘perceiving’ material sensory data of
an external object. In the second stage, a ‘sign’ is produced from the percept by the action of
‘signifying.’ Lastly, a ‘meaning’ is produced from the sign by the action of ‘interpreting.’
Relying on the theories of sign production, we modeled the process as shown in figure 6
(reference deleted for author’s identification). The sign production theories imply that degrees
of interpretability would determine the usability of an auditory interface: An auditory interface
that can be more easily interpreted and understood would have a higher level of usability.


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