Title:Sound Design: Using Audio as a Creative Tool
Authors:Tracey Linton Craig
Publication:MW2000: Museums and the Web 2000

Sound--one of the most underutilized creative web design tools--can differentiate your site, aid in the presentation and navigation of information, and work with other design elements to create new experiences online. Audio offers another means of exploring and understanding the complex world we live in. Current research in the relatively new field of "sonification," in fact, examines ways in which sound can be used as another means of "visualization."

Meanwhile, at a more pragmatic level, the current revolution in how music is being marketed and delivered online means that the audio design tools are out there (and waiting to be used). Popular browser programs now feature sophisticated built-in sound support and plug-ins such as RealPlayer and Shockwave deliver high quality web sound. Bandwidth constraints are increasingly less relevant as high speed and cable modems allow faster web access.

This workshop is NOT about the "how to"-it's about the "why" of audio enhancement. It's not about Flash or MIDI versus streaming audio, or which plug-ins and players are cool. It's about why you would want to even bother with audio on a web page in the first place. What does audio have to offer the web community? Can it open new channels for learning--or make information accessible in a new way? In what ways are museums already using it--and how might it be used to even greater effect?

You'll learn more about the current state of technology (with appropriate references to the "how-to"), see some sites that offer interesting new uses of audio, and have a chance to share your thoughts on creatively using sound as content.