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The Journal of Sonic Studies
Journal of Sonic Studies, volume 6, nr. 1 (January 2014)Iain McGregor; Phil Turner; David Benyon: USING PARTICIPATORY VISUALISATION OF SOUNDSCAPES TO COMPARE DESIGNERS’ AND LISTENERS’ EXPERIENCES OF SOUND DESIGNS

To refer to this article use this url: http://journal.sonicstudies.org/vol06/nr01/a08

4.1 Expert Evaluation

A questionnaire was sent out to all ten designers with soundscape visualisations of their design. The questionnaire addressed classification, visualisation, and applications. Designers were asked to rate how important each attribute used in the soundscape visualisations was in order to compare sound designs with listeners’ experiences. Designers were invited to choose the most appropriate way to display the audio attributes used in the classification. An adapted visual questionnaire approach was used, where each visualisation option was pictorially represented, using a check box to indicate choice. This was followed by their level of agreement with the statement that the “soundscape visualisation allowed me to compare a sound design with the experience of listeners”. The questionnaire concluded with open-ended questions about what methods they currently employed to evaluate sound designs, how they could use this method, and suggestions for changes.

All ten designers completed the questionnaire; none of the questions were omitted. Seven out of the 12 audio attributes were considered to be either important or very important by 6 of the designers. A further 4 attributes were rated as important or very important by 5 of the designers, and only a single attribute (Interaction) was rated as being either important or very important by fewer than half of the designers. Awareness, Spatial Cues, Type, Dynamics, Content, Clarity and Emotions could be chosen as a reduced set of attributes for future visualisations.

The second part of the questionnaire asked designers for their preferred choice of displaying each audio attribute. Seven out of the 12 attributes had a single method of display chosen by the majority of the sound designers. Two of the methods of visualisation were chosen by all ten of the designers: the position on a grid for the Spatial Cues and symbols for the Type. A further 2 visualisation methods were chosen by nine out of ten designers: inclusion of object for Awareness and emoticons for Emotions. Opacity for Clarity, border dashes for Interaction and shape for Content were also chosen by more than half of the designers. There was no clear single choice of display for the remaining attributes Material, Temporal, Spectral, Dynamics, and Aesthetics.

A reduced set of 7 attributes has been suggested by the designers (Awareness, Spatial Cues, Type, Dynamics, Content, Clarity, Emotions), along with appropriate methods of display (see Figure 22). All but one of the attributes (Interaction) were considered to be either “important” or “very important” by at least half of the designers, with 7 attributes being selected by the majority. All of the designers agreed that soundscape visualisation allowed them to compare a sound design with the experience of listeners.

FIG2

Figure 22: Possible reduced set of attributes