Auditory Interfaces

PDF Auditory Interfaces August 3, 2022

Book author
  1. Stefania Serafin


Auditory Interfaces explores how human-computer interactions can be significantly enhanced through the improved use of the audio channel.

Providing historical, theoretical and practical perspectives, the book begins with an introductory overview, before presenting cutting-edge research with chapters on embodied music recognition, nonspeech audio, and user interfaces.

This book will be of interest to advanced students, researchers and professionals working in a range of fields, from audio sound systems, to human-computer interaction and computer science.


Social media sometimes can turn out to be useful. It happened when BIll Buxton wrote a twit looking for a researcher to complete the Auditory Interfaces book he starter with Bill and Sara in the 80s. Stefania took the challenge and the result is this book.

We would like to thank Lasse Sørensen and Francesco Ganis for providing the images and sound examples for the book.

We would also like to thank our families, friends and colleagues who make our life cheerful and meaningful.


This book is devoted to the thesis that human-computer interaction, or human-computer interface (HCI), can be signifcantly enhanced through the improved use of the audio channel. Our focus is narrow and deals specifcally with one especially neglected aspect of sound: the use of nonspeech audio to communicate information from the computer to the user.

Unless we are hearing-impaired, nonspeech audio plays a signifcant role in helping us function in the everyday world. We use nonspeech audio cues in crossing streets, answering phones, diagnosing problems with our cars, and whistling for cabs. By virtue of such usage, we have built up a valuable set of everyday skills. Our thesis is that these skills have real potential as an aid in helping improve the quality of human interaction with complex systems. To date, however, these skills have not been utilized to their full potential, and this rich mode of interaction has had little impact on how we interact with computers. Based on our own experience and pioneering studies by others, as well as the latest research on auditory displays, we feel that this should and can be changed. Helping to bring this about is our motivation in writing this book. Video games illustrate the potential of nonspeech audio to effectively communicate useful messages. In games that use sound effectively, informal observations show that an expert player’s score is lower with the audio turned off than it is when the audio is turned on. This is a clear indication that the audio conveys strategically critical information and is more than a nonessential frill. As it is in play, so can it be at work. There are signifcant potential benefts to be reaped by developing our capabilities in the use of sound. Examples of where sound is already used extensively are process control, fight management systems, and user interfaces for the visually impaired. Even the sound of key clicks, disk drives, and printers on personal computers convey useful feedback about the system’s state.

There is established literature on what the human factors community calls auditory displays (Deatherage 1972; Kantowitz and Sorkin 1983; Hermann 2008; Kramer et al. 2010). The increasing interest in auditory display, sonifcation, and auditory interfaces led to the founding of the International
Extention type
File size
4.5 MB
First release
Last update
0.00 star(s) 0 ratings

More resources from Tokyo