A sonic perspective as a sensory phenomenon that illuminates the depth behind everyday aural experiences.
All About Sound
Gallagher & Associates
Summer 2022 (5 Weeks)
All About Sound is the passion project I conducted as a team with the other two interns who are respectively specialized in sound design and technology during the internship at Gallagher & Associates. We theme the exhibition with sound and explore its multiple aspects including the elements of sound, everyday sound, sound application, and how we perceive sound.
All About Sound offers sonic visiting journey about daily aural experience throughout the entire exhibition with diverse interaction approaches to fit in different learning styles of different group of people. Visitors are encouraged to learn from playing and collect sound pieces at each themed section to create their own soundscape.
"Painting with Sounds" Prototype Demo Video
Design Objective -
An aural-interaction-led exhibition visits instead of a visually dominant information display.
All About Sound will bring a vibrant perspective on sound as a sensory phenomena by illuminating the depth behind everyday aural experiences. This exhibition will educate visitors on the origins of sonic worlds through lenses such as the brain, physics and the fundamentals of auditory media.
All About Sound will raise more awareness about sound as a sensory experience, guiding visitors to place more value upon the impact sound makes within our everyday lives.
Problem Statement -
How might we provide visitors with a playful and meaningful way to learn about the world of sound and connect ourselves to sound in day-to-day life?
They are experience seekers. They mostly want to have a fun and memorable weekend with friends. They might enjoy collective activities more and seek for instagrammable spots. They are more into interpersonal and kinetic interactions so they can share the playful experiences with their friends. After visits, they will create a group memory and post pictures on social media.
They come to the exhibition for hobby needs. They want to learn the fascination of music and engage in sound experiences. They might enjoy one kind of music but not familiar with the fundamental components of sound. They expect to have auditory experience throughout the exhibition and learn anything with visual graphics. After visits, they will understand the components of sound and know other music lovers during their visit.
They are explorers. They want to get inspiration by learning about the world of sounds and how they resonate with emotions. They might expect the information to be profoundly rich and relayed in a creative way. They expect to use multi-senses that can augment their learning process and dive deeply into passive information reading. After visits, they will understand how auditory perception works and get inspiration for their future works
Design Solution -
Motivating visitors to collect different asset pieces over the exhibition to create their soundscape and learn from it.
Sound Collection & Creation Experience
Visitors will receive a RFID wristband as the ticket, with which they can collect and unlock sound bites throughout the exhibition.
These sounds serve as the assets for their own personal soundscape, which would be made at the creation station
Tap wristband to RFID reader to collect the audio takeaways when finishing each activity at in each section.
Tap wristband to RFID reader to access personal collection of sound assets when at the creation station kiosk.
Sound Creation Experience
Painting with Sounds
An interactive reflecting the relationship between visual elements and sounds for visitors to learn about synesthesia
Despite the tight time frame, our team decided to prototype one of the interactives, Painting with Sounds, located in the Sound and the Brain area.
Visitors will have a synesthetic experience by constructing their own personalized painting, based on the work of Wassily Kandinsky (Orange, 1923).
By selecting visual assets, associating them with corresponding sounds and colors, and placing them onto a canvas, users will feel a sense of ownership over their unique painting, which now has a specialized musical soundscape to represent it.
Wassily Kandinsky. Orange. 1923
Interaction User Flow
As the UX designer, I designed the wireframes and the interaction flow. The sound designer created the entire set of sound assets. On top of that, the technologist built the website and integrated the visual and sound elements into interactions.
Learning & Reflection
Our team had been fascinated by multisensory since the very beginning, and we had set creating a prototype that we could test with users under the 5-week timeframe as the ultimate goal. However, we initially focused on the multiple senses we use in our daily lives instead of focusing on sound. In that regard, we spent more than a week exploring different senses and their support theories in order to gather content for the exhibition. We realized that each sense was a pit that we might need tremendous efforts to research, which would wear out our time for design and prototyping. Given that one of the team members was a sound designer, we decided to pivot our direction to sonic experience and deep dive into it to prevent only having a superficial concept design for this project in the end.
This passion project was carried on while we had other ongoing projects. Personally, I applied lots of UX knowledge that I learned from my contribution to other exhibitions and museums. This was an appropriate opportunity to organize my toolkit and strategize how to use them, including persona, user flow, and wireframing. Moreover, being in charge of the UX role in a small team, I learned how to help our objective keep on the human-centered track by communicating with the team and facilitating team members to come up with aligned ideas.
The most exciting thing I learned was the variety of sound in terms of UX. For example, we can use ascending or descending sounds to motivate users to take different actions. It strongly connects to how humans perceive and feel while having auditory experiences. In summary, although visual information is the dominant sense in the current world, sound can play a critical role in enhancing the experience more intuitively and naturally that humans subconsciously attach to in day-to-day lives.