Design Guidelines for Short Alert Sounds in a Retail Environment
Time: Fri 2021-04-23 09.00
On Friday 23/4 from 9:00 to 10:00, Gustav Frisk Arfvidsson will present his master thesis project "Design Guidelines for Short Alert Sounds in a Retail Environment" which is in collaboration with two research projects on sonification in stores. Opponent is Nina Nokelainen and examiner is Sandra Pauletto. The presentation is open for public and is held online, see invitation below.
"The design and noticeability of alert sounds have been widely researched and reported, and not least, notification sounds are ubiquitous in both software and hardware product development. In an ongoing research project concerning the retail industry, we aim at designing short alert sounds that only grab attention from one group of customers, while others do not register the alerts: this particular aspect has to our knowledge not yet been studied. To establish design guidelines for such alert sounds, an experiment was conducted where test subjects would experience ordinary shopping activity including background music and an ecologic soundscape in a virtual reality clothing store, but with added alert sounds. Following several stages of experiment design and sound design development, we tested, specifically, four different types of sound. The results disproved assumptions that contextually detached sounds would outperform more subtle, ecologically valid sounds and concluded that people unaware of the sounds tend to ignore them while people aware of them, notice them, while both groups do not seem to be bothered by them. Furthermore, there was no difference between having an early or late amplitude peak in the short sound, and physical reaction to the sound typically came after two seconds from its onset, regardless of its length. Finally, we measured a decline in attentiveness instead of a growing sensitiveness. These findings suggest that alert sounds can be designed with subtlety and still be noticeable and that customers will not be increasingly annoyed."