This paper presents an experiment of employing auditory icons while collaboratively controlling a simulated plant.
The experiment indicated that auditory feedback provided useful information about the process and problems, helped participants integrally deal with a multi-faceted, complex controlling task, and further enabled the smooth transition between the division of labor and close collaborations.
- This suggests that indicating the end of a process by the cessation of a sound is unlikely to be effective, particularly in environments using other sounds;
- Traditional uses of sounds indicate that something is happening (usually something wrong), but not what is happening;
- However, hearing events in unseen portions of the plant prompted users to collaborate more closely in running the plant.
The experiment design seems to exploit the easy mapping between sound and the contents of the interface. However, what is more interesting is how we can use natural sound to represent/reflect otherwise more abstract tasks or contents in the interface.