Using earcons to improve the usability of a graphics package

Brewster, S.A. (1998) Using earcons to improve the usability of a graphics package. In: 13th Human Computer Interaction Conference, Sheffield, England, 1-4 September 1998, pp. 287-302. ISBN 3540762612




This paper describes how non–speech sounds can be used to improve the usability of a graphics package. Sound was specifically used to aid problems with tool palettes and finding the current mouse coordinates when drawing. Tool palettes have usability problems because users need to see the information they present but they are often outside the area of visual focus. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of adding sound to tool palettes.Earcons were used to indicate the current tool and when tool changes occurred. Results showed a significant reduction in the number of tasks performed with the wrong tool. Therefore users knew what the current tool was and did not try to perform tasks with the wrong tool. All of this was not at the expense of making the interface anymore annoying to use.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:earcons, sonically-enhanced widgets, sound, interface sonification
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brewster, Professor Stephen
Authors: Brewster, S.A.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 1998 Springer
First Published:First published in People and computers XIII: proceedings of HCI '98
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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