Journal of Sonic Studies, volume 6, nr. 1 (January 2014)Daniel Hug; Moritz Kemper: FROM FOLEY TO FUNCTION: A PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH TO SOUND DESIGN FOR NOVEL INTERACTIONS
Despite the fact that sound design of interactive applications is a relatively young field, several relevant aspects have been investigated. First, there is the large body of research from the area of auditory display and sonification. Concepts and guidelines in relation to notification and warning sounds, design concepts such as earcons and auditory icons, and sonification strategies for the representation of data through sound have been widely discussed and investigated (Kramer 1994; Hermann, Hunt and Neuhoff 2011).
In terms of sounds in interactive artifacts, more recently there has been increased interest in procedural audio as a means to create sounds which respond to continuous movement. This is considered to be a central quality of sonic interactions (Rocchesso, Polotti and Delle Monache 2009; Visell, Murray-Smith, Brewster and Williamson 2013). In the same context, the study of the relationship between movement, gesture, and sound has also become important (Jensenius 2007; Caramiaux, Bevilacqua and Schnell 2010). Sound in rehabilitation and sport training applications are currently emerging topics (Höner, Hunt, Pauletto, Röber, Hermann and Effenberg 2011).
In relation to the use of sound for physical interactive products, how the relationship between object, action, and sound is subject to re-configurations has been studied. Hug investigated the emergence of meaning from a complex interplay between an artifact’s characteristics, the social practices around it, and the sounds it produces (Hug 2008).
Other relevant domains of research deal with the emergence of meaning in sonic interactions. Here, actions and events are not only interpreted as meaningful signs and part of a functional (sonic) narrative (Back 1996), but the quality of their execution, the performance itself, comments, modifies, strengthens, or weakens the function and meaning of their referential aspects (Fischer-Lichte 2001). Goffman describes how we perform our self in everyday social interactions as well as how everyday artifacts - and their sounds, we might add - become important means in this process (Goffman 1959). And last but not least, (acoustic) sound is an inherently performative medium, dependent on movement and agency: Chion designates this sonic manifestation of self with the term ergo audition (Chion 1998).
Sound design in this context can be seen as an expressive channel for interactive artifacts and micro- narratives of interactions. Sound both tells us something about the temporal and dynamic development of processes as well as about the inherent semantic structure of the interaction with this ”genie in a bottle” (Hug 2008). This forms the fundament for an understanding of both narrativity and performativity as two central pillars on which sonic interaction design can be built conceptually as well as in the design process (Hug 2010a; Hug 2010b). Based on this, a conceptual framework has been formulated and evaluated with a focus group of sound design experts (Hug and Misdariis 2011).
A bit outside of academic research, audio branding and product sound communities show increasing interest in the new interactive commodities as opportunities for applying sound design (Bronner, Hirt and Ringe 2012; Spehr 2009). It seems that two relatively distinct groups are approaching the field of interaction design with sound, and it is very important to find ways to better integrate these two worlds (Hug and Misdariis 2011), not only in professional design, but also in educational practice.