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Jennifer Kyrnin

Poll: Do you have sound on your Web pages?

By April 26, 2007

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I have found that people either love sound on Web pages or absolutely hate it.
musical notes
Image courtesy J Kyrnin
I am a member of the "hate it" group. In fact, I hate it so much that because of two annoying sound ads on this Web site, I disabled all Flash sound in my browser rather than have to listen to them. But that doesn't mean that you can't put sound on your Web pages. Sometimes a nice background song is just what a site needs to add ambiance. And some Web games need sound to play them.

Do you have sound on your Web pages?

Are you a sound hater like me? Why don't you like sound on Web pages? Is there something people can do to add sound that isn't annoying?

View Results

Comments
April 26, 2007 at 3:41 pm
(1) Jason Champion says:

I’m guessing that you mean sounds that auto playback. I voted no, but I do plan to have a player of some sort on my site, but it will not start playing automatically and will have to be launched by the visitor. I think that’s one of the worst things you can do to people. I usually close the page if I’m not expecting it. That’s also one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of MySpace :)

April 26, 2007 at 4:15 pm
(2) Delilah Hinman says:

Having sound is all right as long as the user turns it on themselves, but otherwise I think automatic sound on a webpage is horrible. I agree, Jason, MySpace drives me crazy with the auto music.

April 26, 2007 at 4:17 pm
(3) Daniel Nicolai says:

Do not put music on your site. A lot of people will be listening to their own music with iTunes and all of a sudden your music is in the way, it’s not nice and it’s obnoxious. The worst site I ever went to had a crappy .wav file that played in a loop and the loop portion was easy to hear. Even classic soft sounds are bad just because it’s something that’s distracting from the page.

Play and Stop buttons are nice and all, but no music at all is even bette.

April 26, 2007 at 7:46 pm
(4) Jason Champion says:

I agree with Daniel to a small degree, but what if you’re a musician, record company, movie site, or something like that? In those situations, I usually exit the site if I can’t even get a sample – even if it’s by choice. And… most likely, will not buy their album/movie.

Maybe another topic of discussion could be about sites that are completely based on Flash…. :)

April 26, 2007 at 11:00 pm
(5) Aceata says:

Sound is really annoying most of the time, especially when there’s no way to turn it off. I’ve been surfing the web at the library for research, and every once in a while I come upon a site with the best information, but I can’t use it because there is no way to turn it off and library administrators disabled computer options, such as sound. This means I can’t even visit the site.

April 27, 2007 at 1:01 am
(6) Nate Hoernig says:

Usually I’m listening to music while I’m at my computer…no matter what i’m doing, my itunes is on. The only time i like sound on my pages is when i’m A: browsing a musician’s page (myspace, purevolume whatever) cuz that’s usually why i’m there or on games…which i don’t really have time to play. Other than that…hate it.

April 27, 2007 at 4:33 am
(7) NoVi says:

No but I have an mp3 player that you have to choose to play.

April 27, 2007 at 6:52 am
(8) Daniel says:

I absolutely DESPISE sound on a webpage with the exception of those that have readily identifiable media control buttons and operate by user interaction only! If your speakers happen to be turned up (or worse, you’re wearing headphones, listening to something else) and someone’s creative “genious” starts screaming at you from their webpage, it is possible that heart failure could ensue. Especially if its, oh, 3 am!

Apologies for the rant … it touched a nerve!

April 27, 2007 at 9:53 am
(9) Dwight says:

I wouldn’t like sounds from biz sites that want to spew an info-mercial at me. But my site is about dance and I need the music to create the ambiance. I took the sound off after reading how knee jerk a reaction it invokes. Also not universal support in browsers makes it too hard to justify.

April 27, 2007 at 6:06 pm
(10) Marcos Dinnerstein says:

Yes, but never with auto-play. I find that too much of an imposition. I’m sure as a language instruction blog the option of hearing sound is welcome.

April 27, 2007 at 7:28 pm
(11) Mark says:

I often have 5 or more browser windows open at once. Background music can be very confusing in this situation and I’m often left wondering which page is making the sound.

I don’t mind subtle sounds for mouseovers on buttons for instance, but that’s about as much as I can tolerate.

April 27, 2007 at 8:26 pm
(12) Justin Turner says:

I believe that the sound must be started by the user.

About websites that are 100% flash. I absolutely despise them. Theoretically maybe they could actually perform like a website or web 2.0 website, but most people just turn their into something that looks like a dvd’s main menu.

April 28, 2007 at 6:56 am
(13) Durk Sharpe says:

One thing that makes me very frustrated when browsing he web, is the pages that FORCE me to listen to music! I don’t mind sound as a rollover effect for buttons, that is at least realistic and not a waste of bandwitdh.

April 28, 2007 at 5:45 pm
(14) nicholas says:

Sound is rarely necessary or desirable on a webpage because the medium’s strength is simply its textual matching ability.

Properly tagged playable sound is a powerful extension of the web whereas uncontrolled background sound is as annoying as TV commercials.

May 1, 2007 at 2:15 am
(15) Brandon says:

Any website that is not specifically for sounds or games, should not have sound. Especially portfolios for photography and design. The only exception to this would be if there is a sound player on the site, but it is DEFAULT TO OFF when you visit the site and can only be turned on by the visitor.

Never AUTOPLAY any type of music. You are bound to interrupt skype calls that people are having, as well as interrupting listening to podcasts or other music. (This happens to me all the time! If your site has music, and im busy listening to something else or talking to someone, your site will be closed unless theres a VERY fast way to turn it off)

May 1, 2007 at 5:58 am
(16) Tim says:

With the number of people viewing sites at work (one of my sites gets a lot of traffic at lunch time), automatic sound can be very off putting in the middle of a large open plan office and will ensure a quick exit from the site.

May 1, 2007 at 6:46 am
(17) Annemie says:

If music starts playing and I can’t find the stop button immediately, I just close the site.
I listen to iTunes most of the time, so it’s really annoying. Music on a site is ok, as long as it isn’t autoplay.

May 1, 2007 at 6:53 am
(18) Fried Toast says:

Any site that automatically starts playing music goes on my list of sites to never visit again. There’s simply NO reason for that EVER.

If there’s an On/Off toggle and the default is Off, then I absolutely have no problem with that. Not everyone likes to have their work computer start spewing nonsense into the air in the middle of an office. Unprofessional. Even button mouse-over noises are irritating when I’m at work. At home, I don’t mind, but I’ve had to keep the work computer on Mute permanently. This isn’t normally a problem except after rebooting, Windows fails to remember that it was previously muted (and I forget to re-Mute it because restarts are so infrequent), therefore webpages get me on occasion; frustrating!

I used to visit ESPN.com regularly up until they put streaming video on their front page. It automatically starts playing once it’s loaded. Absolutely unnecessary. I simply quit using their site. Went to Fox until they started putting up page-sized banner ads before the front page loads. Next!

I simply don’t understand designers that go out of their way to create webpages that are user-unfriendly. Are they all 16-year old kids trying to show off to their internet-illiterate bosses? Count me confused.

May 1, 2007 at 8:47 am
(19) Joe says:

I think it depends on your user audience. I use classical music in an arts school home page for a looping slide show. The music plays once.

May 1, 2007 at 8:48 am
(20) bob says:

I use sound on some pages but it is under the control of the viewer. either on or off..I hate sites that have sound that is on at all times- this can be very annoying and distracting from the purpose of the site

May 1, 2007 at 8:56 am
(21) Henry Bacarisse says:

I have hymns for each page on this website for our church.

I wish I could have an “on/off” or volume control feature, but so far I have not found a script that does the needed feature.

May 1, 2007 at 9:42 am
(22) Roc says:

Sound is distracting, usually poorly done, and I hate to be blasted with a sound when reaching a web site. Especially the whoosh, grind, whiz, rockets and explosions from some so called tech sites.
Of course I am online for business reasons and don’t need other distractions. I suppose a soft melody for someone visiting a down home style mountain cabin site may not be too bad.

May 1, 2007 at 10:22 am
(23) Kathy says:

I HATE the talking characters more than ANYTHING….but insipid music is close behind it. What constitutes ‘insipid’? Purely subjective-of course…but if it loops…or I cannot turn it off…it is subject to the thumbs down (or exit site).

May 1, 2007 at 11:02 am
(24) Easter Mary says:

I Hates It! Hates It! My library computer has speakers that are used for various reasons through the day and when I am doing research, I often reach a site that should be very library-prim but that, contrarily, blasts us out of our seats with totally unnecessary music. Sigh. Give me the option to turn it on and I’ll go steal headphones from a patron and pull the computer out to hook them in. Or NOT!

May 1, 2007 at 11:03 am
(25) George says:

Like most writers here I don’t like music or audio clips to pup up unexpectedly. The exception is the very small “dink notes,” sounds on a mouse-over or click. I have used them to occasionally to ad a custom note to a site; for example a guitar plink for a summer camp site. But anything over a half second I find annoying.

May 1, 2007 at 11:07 am
(26) Libby says:

My husband is totally blind and uses a screen reader on our computer. If I mute the sound, I risk forgetting to turn it back on again and return home after work to find the computer in pieces on the bed with my engineer spouse trying to trouble shoot his sound problem (couldn’t possibly be the forgetful wife!). Because I don’t get to the computer until long after he is in bed, automatic sound on a site not only startles me, but wakes him. Not great for intermarital bliss.

May 1, 2007 at 12:37 pm
(27) cren says:

“click here to activate sound”
I want to hear error and message alerts, not the sudden intrusion of a sales pitch slicing through an otherwise quiet workplace.

May 1, 2007 at 1:36 pm
(28) Lynda French says:

I work with my speakers turned off but as a designer-for-hire I will put music on a customer’s website so long as the customer creates the music. It makes sense to have track excerpts on a musician’s website.

May 1, 2007 at 1:59 pm
(29) Linda says:

Even if my system wasn’t a slow dog, there is still the issue of waking people up (since I go cruising at night when everyone else is asleep). If I have the choice of turning the music -on-, I’m good with that. It’s the excessive user-unwanted sound that is my issue.

It still comes back down to: “Just because you -can-, doesn’t mean you -should-.”

May 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm
(30) Bonnie says:

I use music/sound on one of my websites and I do not on the other. One is more for entertainment with several different pages each with their own story-joke-poem-etc. But I do have a player on the top of each page that can easily be shut off. I do not want to offend people but most everyone that visits this type of site expects some background sounds.

My other site is totally different and meant more for information so I do not post music/sounds on it.

May 1, 2007 at 3:58 pm
(31) Dathan Nicholson says:

Background music is annoying usually but sometime itís a delightful surprise. I think flash presentations can seem incomplete if they donít have sound and rollover sound effects are a staple in flash Ė no one seems to use sound fx with DHTML Ė I donít see why not. I think the rule of thumb is to keep sounds subtle and to allow the user to turn them off easily if it annoys them.

May 1, 2007 at 4:31 pm
(32) Mona Martin says:

I think sound on a site is annoying. Very rarely will I let sound play, unless it is something that I really want to hear. I have done a site for a band that wanted a song to open on getting to the Home page. I stressed to them that a lot of people still have slow internet connections. Having music will slow it down even more, besides annoy people that may not want to hear music right away. I advised, if they want music, do a clickabel option.

May 1, 2007 at 5:19 pm
(33) Emrys says:

Most people that add a backhround sound add something annoying, myspace being the worst. However sometimes a gentle sound can be nice on a page where it suits it. On a band site for example yeah, but not on a blog page.

Sound in games is great, but those annoying ads that play a ‘text to speak’ add are very annoying.

May 1, 2007 at 10:15 pm
(34) Bowman says:

Sound should be muted to start with and the user should have the ability to turn it on to potentially enhance the experience.

May 2, 2007 at 12:08 am
(35) Amit Ray says:

I wouldn’t mind sound on websites if there is a way to mute it.

May 2, 2007 at 2:51 pm
(36) JulieH says:

I write music, so yes, I use sound files. But I NEVER autoplay music on a website, and it’s bad practice no matter what kind of site you are talking about. It’s the fastest way to make sure people never come back.

Along with the text lyric, there is a link – Listen to this song(.mp3) so the user knows what type of file they are getting. If they click the link, they get the song, if not, they don’t.

May 2, 2007 at 2:53 pm
(37) Lori says:

I find that a little “sound” goes a long way and then only if it truly enhances the overall feel of the website.

May 2, 2007 at 4:54 pm
(38) Tory says:

Sound usually distracts me from reading the information I came to the page for, so I almost always try to find a way to turn it off and if there isn’t one, I turn my computer’s sound off altogether!

May 2, 2007 at 5:15 pm
(39) Kelli says:

i dont have sound on my webpages bc i dont have sound on my pc o.0

May 5, 2007 at 5:48 pm
(40) Les J says:

I like sound on my site (business card and movie) but not necessarily on others’, especially pop-ups. On the subject of accessibility, I wonder about a site (for the blind, say) that would have only audio. Rollover buttons would be essential, as would a sort of narrative that would act as a “banner”. Just a thought

May 15, 2007 at 9:22 am
(41) Judy says:

While sound can enhance some websites, if I cannot control it I hate it. It is not always appropriate to play sound on a site (i.e. in a library or office). Usually, I am concentrating. Therefore when I come across a site that assaults me with sound, and I have no control, it is highly irritating.

May 18, 2007 at 6:13 pm
(42) John Holliday says:

I created a web site for a youth football team called the Bears. So, I put a bear growl sound on the main page. However, when I view a site that has a song playing or something similar, I leave the site.

June 10, 2007 at 10:57 am
(43) Tiffany Wallis says:

I have nothing against music on webpages– however, I have a problem with them autoplaying. I, as many other people, listen to my own music while I surf the web, and I find it a nuisance to have to scroll down and look all over the page for the off button.

July 20, 2007 at 2:49 pm
(44) Jacob Neff says:

I just found this poll and I have to contribute.

I DESPISE auto-play sound and music on webpages!! As others have said That’s one reason I hate MySpace, another being the ridiculous graphical design (if you can even call it that) that many people implement.

Is there ANYTHING we can do to convince the powers that be to not make this a standard option?

I very much enjoy pages with multimedia, but let ME decide when to play it, so I can turn off what I’m listening to or adjust my volume first.

August 12, 2007 at 1:03 pm
(45) JC says:

If you HATE sound on web pages, why are speakers on.

Turn down the volume or turn off your speakers and you’ll never know there is sound being emitted from the computer.

Be aware that lines are being blurred between television and the Internet, so more & more content uses sound. I’d say, “Get used to it”.

August 12, 2007 at 4:42 pm
(46) Jennifer Kyrnin says:

JC: but I have speakers on my computer because I’m listening to my own music. Or, as you mention, I’m watching my own video on one monitor while browsing the Web on the other monitor.

By telling your readers to “get used to it” you’re coming across very arrogant. My reaction to sites like that is to say “get used to fewer customers.” And from the number of people who say they hate sound on Web sites, I doubt that I’m alone.

August 14, 2007 at 1:35 pm
(47) Debbie says:

I also do not like going to a website and having sound play. What is even worse, no way to turn it off that is obvious.

If you want sound on your site great, just have the option to turn it off in an obvious place.

August 14, 2007 at 2:53 pm
(48) Ron says:

Autoplaying sound on a site is obnoxious. It presumes that users want sound for any other reason than for conveying critical information about what’s happening on their computers. I want auto sound for that reason ONLY. Otherwise, I want to CHOOSE when I listen to Marilyn Manson screeching at me or when a cheesy Casio recording of the Russian national anthem will enter my ears. Web designers–and I am one who has had to create a site for a client who INSISTED on using several minutes of autoplaying sound on virutally EVERY page, against my exhortations to the contrary (www.mtistudios.net)–do not remove from your users the choice as to what enters their ears. People are sensitive about music and we all have different tastes. Don’t assume yours will favorably rock the world.

August 15, 2007 at 7:51 am
(49) Orlando says:

Incorporating background sound on a webpage all depends on the content provided and how both work together. I would definitely recommend that a website for a music label should have background music that plays their artists songs.

This would work as a marketing method as well as an enjoyable visit for visitors.

October 10, 2007 at 3:11 pm
(50) Tony says:

Stop whining about people having music on their sites. It’s their choice to have their site designed the way they want.
There’s nothing wrong with a little music. That’s what you’ll expect when you’re on Myspace.

January 12, 2008 at 8:28 pm
(51) shanna says:

sound is only okay when you I go looking for it. Viz.: when I go to the site of a band/singer and I look for the player to listen to some music!! In all other cases, it’s nasty, and if I can’t find the off button in 0.1 sec, I’m gone. Sound on webpages (apart from the players I go looking for) is always a nuissance.

February 22, 2008 at 3:26 am
(52) Valerie says:

I hate sites that play music. If a site opens that is playing music I don’t even look for the off button I just automatically get out of the site. I don’t want music blasting in my ear when I am trying to read something or am focused on searching for something. I know some have commented that people should have what they want on their sites. But I would have thought that what most people want is customers and what your customers want should be the priority not what you want.

March 15, 2008 at 6:20 am
(53) Peter Ross says:

Adding sound to a website is IMHO the quickest way to stop people visiting your website.

Sound has its place on a website like ours only when playing a video on You Tube, when the background sound of a racing car engine adds to the atmosphere.

I feel that most web designers try too hard to make their websites clever and award-winning wthout realising that all they should be trying to do is impart information in the most user-friendly way.

Many sites don’t even tell you how you should open them from the Home Page, and one wastes time clicking on everything in sight!

Next to sound is the moving image, or worse still the moving words that you have to wait for to see the complete sentence. It may show how clever you are, but it sure doesn’t please the viewers.

Keep it simple is my motto, and I get a lot of praise from the users.

March 21, 2008 at 5:34 pm
(54) John Moore says:

I use sound because it adds to the psychological effect of viewing the action on screen. But it is actived by a button and stops by itself,

The fact the some poeple don’t know how to use sound descretly doesn’t mean that it’s always wrong.

Short sound clips can be really add to the illusion of movement on the screen so in my opinion it’s valuable.

January 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm
(55) William Neal says:

I am a freelance audio producer, and as such, it’s important for me to integrate sound TASTEFULLY into my site. I have a very brief “audio logo” that plays once automatically. It is less than 10 seconds long, and it only plays when a visitor first loads the homepage. After that, they only hear it again if they close and reopen their browser before visiting my site again. I also have an “Audio” page, where visitors can choose to play additional samples of my work. I don’t believe I’m breaking any cardinal rules of taste or web protocol. The key is restraint. As some other people have previously commented, sound is becoming increasingly integrated into our web experience. We all have to get used to it, and as time goes on, some people will use sound effectively in their sites, while others will not.

November 12, 2009 at 2:28 pm
(56) William Skinner says:

Sound drives me away from any form of website faster than anything else does. Between my kids leaving the volume up after gaming to the sounds interrupting my own music I find sound to be a nuisance on the web. If you want to drive me to your competitors as fast as possible, add sound to your or your clientís website.

June 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm
(57) Garry Ricketson says:

I just recently added some animations that have music to my site, but I to also hate it if and when there is sound I don’t like or want, I just shut the speakers off if I don’t like it,..
but I agree I hate it if it is forced o me,…
from Garry

December 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm
(58) robert says:

Viewing a website without sound is like watching oldtime silent movies. BORING!

January 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm
(59) Mark says:

Sound on sites, many people here who fall in to the like camp fail to understand that what they find OK anther person does not. I hate any site that blasts music out at me, it is complete lack of consideration or regard to my personal choice or preference. You certainly wouldn’t like it if a total stranger came to your house and played loud music at you because they wanted to, you’d soon be on the phone to the police. So why inflict it on the casual web visitor?

I like many others use their computers for “Multi-tasks” and fact that your site may have audio on it, does not interest me, what I have playing IN MY MP3 PLAYER IS. AND THAT is what YOUR SITES that blast music out at me are PLAYING OVER what I am currently listening to AND POSSIBLY RECORDING!!!!

When you start to consider what other people use their machines for and what hours they use them, loud blasting music at 4am is not wanted if you just got junior off to sleep after 3am feed. Last thing you want when looking at websites is to have a site wake your baby, partner and the neighbors up.

When people STOP THINKING OF THEMSELVES… we may start to see some RESPONSIBLE web programming.

October 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm
(60) efor says:

I am in the “sound is annoying” camp. I can’t tell you how many times that I have found a good website or tumblr page where I go to it and like it, but my computer slows down because one of those music players load and it plays something I don’t want to hear or don’t like.

The worse thing about it is it reloads a diff song every visit, and there’s usually no options to turn those off. So yes, those types of sounds/music players are annoying. I really wish people would consider these things before putting them on their websites.

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