Using vocal sketching for designing sonic interactions

Inger Ekman*, Michal Rinott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing number of interactive consumer products make use of the auditory channel. Consequently, sound has become an important part of the interaction designer's palette. Nevertheless, sound is a difficult medium for nonexperts to sketch in. We propose Vocal Sketching as a methodology for addressing sounding design, alleviating the challenges inherent for non-experts when thinking and communicating about sound and sounding objects in the early stages of design. The method was tested in a workshop with 35 participants, who, working in groups, used only their voices to sketch sonic interactions for three object props. Observations and results from a post-workshop questionnaire study show this methodology to be feasible and enjoyable, and applicable to the design process even without prior vocal training. The emerging pros and cons of this method, as well as results relating to social comfort in using the voice and group strategies for using multiple voices, are discussed. Further work should include a comparative study of this methodology and other sonic sketching strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2010 - Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2010
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 16 Aug 201020 Aug 2010
Conference number: 8


ConferenceACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Abbreviated titleDIS


  • design methodology
  • sonic interaction design
  • vocal sketching

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