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1.6. Solid sound design

Sound design is about more than just adding cool effects. It must be contextual, supporting the text and the graphic content. And it must be integral to the overall purpose of the site rather than simply drawing attention to itself.

Sound can be used to induce a specific emotional reaction from an audience. Generations of filmgoers have become conditioned to certain sound associations, and a type of "aural" literacy has developed. For instance, shrill, staccato music in a horror film usually signals that the killer is nearby, even if he is offscreen; in action films, an ultra-low rumbling sound often signals the impending doom of a huge explosion or an earthquake.

Full-scale sound design came about in the late 1970s when film producers and directors realized they could put a sound signature on an entire film by hiring a single sound designer to orchestrate the dialogue, music score, and sound effects into one cohesive soundtrack. Similarly, a web sound designer can shape the various sound elements of a web site into a cohesive audio experience that is unique to that site. Since film sound design is a precursor to interactive or web sound design, it is worthwhile to take a brief look at examples of how film sound has been used in movies and television:

Unlike film audiences, computer users accustomed to the CD-ROM environment engage with interactive content. Therefore, unlike film sound, interactive sound is not necessarily sequential or continuous. This is true of the Web as well. Interactive sound designers don't have complete control over how the final product will be received by the end user because the end user can control which sounds play and when. And there are additional differences:



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