June 29, 2006

Sound in Websites: Generally not a Good Idea

I'm looking at going to the User Interface 11 Conference in Cambridge, MA this October so have been doing some research on transportation, as I have never been there before. The conference looks at ways to improve usability, particularly with websites.

So I'm eventually looking at the website for the Logan Airport, seeing what information I could find on transportation to and from the airport. I usually take shuttles, so I took a look at the websites for the shuttle companies they had listed to see what their rates are and if they go where I need to go.

It's been a long time since I've seen anything so horrendous. Having your navigation menu in Flash is bad enough, but then to add sound as you go over each item is too much. They weren't even pleasant sounds to listen to. Most of the sites I looked at did this. One went so far and actually had music playing. It reminded me of those pages that would play MIDI files when you visited them.

I only hope that the designers for those sites argued with the companies about that. If not, they shouldn't be designers at all.
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