Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 1(57), p. 1149-1153
Currently, there are very few guidelines on parameters needed to create an effective auditory display. Auditory displays can be intrusive and may not be used effectively if they are poorly designed. However, music is often in our environments as ambient noise and, instead of being intrusive, can be perceived as making the environment calmer and more productive. We present the initial steps of exploring the option of using music as a medium to develop an auditory display capable of conveying normal state information and warning information. An important feature that may impact the effectiveness of auditory warnings is perceived urgency: the impression of urgency that a sound evokes on a listener. To explore whether music could convey urgency as needed for auditory warnings, we evaluated four different musical phrases that varied in time and key signature as a method of measuring the effects of mode and tempo on perceived urgency. The effectiveness of the study was tested with twenty subjects split into a two by two factorial design: gender (male vs. female) and musical experience (experienced vs. non-experienced). The applications of this research can help develop concrete guidelines when designing effective auditory displays in order to improve users' performance when dealing with complex interfaces.