What is an Earcon?
The world we live in today is quite visually based. We run into visual symbols and icons throughout the day as we go about our work. We use these visual references to help us communicate meaning and get stuff done. In a world that moves a million miles a minute anything we can do to speed up communication can be beneficial.
An earcon is the audio equivalent of an icon and just like visual icons we hear earcons throughout the day. Its job is to communicate meaning through the use of sound. What’s powerful about this and sound in general is that even though light travels faster then sound we process sound quicker.
Some examples of earcons:
- Empty trash sound on your computer
- Microwave end beeps (some models sing a song now)
- Seatbelt on warning signal in your car
- Car doors locked horn honk
- Beeps when you press a button on your phone
As you can see from the list above eacons are useful for helping people understand what to do. Combined with visual references this is powerful in helping customers use your product.
Many earcons are instinctively understood, however, as a marketer you need know when people might not understand the meaning of the sound. Failing to do this can cause frustration and deflection from the product/brand.
Again, going back to what makes a successful audio brand will help you create better earcons for your product.