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Photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash

Sound brings the world to life. We listen all day (even when sleeping). Even people with partial or total hearing loss still respond to vibrations.

I wrote this article as a quick introduction to important principles of sound, and why you should care about them. It’s for designers who are new to sound but perhaps veterans will also find something useful here.

Let’s get started!

1) Sound is emotional

We constantly use our ears to listen for threats. It’s a survival mechanism. For example we listen to find out; Is that person angry with me? Is that growling dog close by? …

Words gain new meaning when said aloud — this can strengthen the message or undermine it. With this article I shine a light on how paralanguage can impact voice assistants.

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Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

Paralanguage needs to be experienced to be understood — please listen to the included audio files :)

Words on a screen.

Words said aloud.

They are not the same.

Why is that? When a text is read aloud it gains an extra layer of meaning; each speaker puts their own spin on words and this can either reinforce or change the message. This phenomena is often called paralanguage and it’s present with every spoken utterance. Paralanguage also occurs with synthetic voices as they are designed to emulate human voices. …


Benjamin McCulloch

Conversation Designer and Audio Specialist —

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