Mental note to all web designers, turn your sound off!

When you put music on your web page, even random ambient noises, I want to KILL you.  I don’t care how cool you think it is, I don’t care how much you feel it adds to the “atmosphere” or the “impact” of your page, if you put sound, or sound efx on your web page, you’d better believe I’m writing your name down on my “people to eliminate” list.

There are times when silence has the loudest voice

Oh sure, sound can be used to great effect in certain circumstances, but as a person that likes to surf in peace, or to his own music, or while listening to a podcast, or audio book (it’s called multitasking), unexpected blaring sounds coming out of web pages is a VERY unwelcome experience.  And guess what, I end up hating you for it.

Even some of the best web designs I’ve ever used have been ruined with music or sound.  And not only that, they make turning the damn sound off a pain in the ass with super tiny icon’s, that not only have to be hunted down, but have super small hit boxes, so you have to start using your mouse like a scalpel just to turn the noise off.  Just because Flash lets us present a synesthesia-like experience to the user, does not mean on something as simple as portfolio, you need to have it playing music you feel represents you, or the vibe you want to go for.

I mean sure, I can see the draw of sound or music, but umm… I’ve long been annoyed with artificial Foley work in my computer applications, and now it ruins and interrupts my, mostly, content-viewing efforts, forcing me to search for a bloody off switch.  I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.  Please, just stop trying to aim for an “expierence” and impress my eyes and my mind instead!  Most of you do such a poor job at that to begin with, I think you should start there first, and at least then, I won’t be so offended as to immediately dismiss your site as annoying.

If, however, you feel sound is essential to your design, website or expierence, at least throw a cookie in there that remembers I turned your damned audio player off (ajax and jquery make this easy), and let it remember me, and persist in it’s non-operation until it thinks I’m a new or unique ip.  Is that really so much to ask?

=Sterling P. Sanders