We use 3 out of 5 senses while toying with a digital product, namely- sight, hearing and touch. While we all are familiar with the role of sight and touch, sounds also play a vital role in conveying the sensory experience of a digital product. For instance, the experience of listening to the reassuring “ping” of a successfully received message on a messaging app brings delight to the users. Notice how I said “ping” and it created the exact harmony in your mind as the sound of the application? “Ping” is an Onomatopoeia which phonetically imitates or resembles the sound it describes. Everyday examples apart from digital products include- “Buzz”, “Meow”, “Boom!”, etc.
Onomatopoeias for UX
In the context of User Experience design, onomatopoeias can be employed to enhance user experiences by incorporating familiar and intuitive sounds, providing feedback, and contributing to the overall atmosphere of a digital interface. Onomatopoeias can be strategically used at various instances like-
3) Buttons and Labels
4) User Feedback Messages
Let us take a look at the various categories of Onomatopoeias that we can use to make our product more intuitive and user-friendly.
1. Positive Feedback and Success
Onomatopoeias crafted specifically for positive feedback and success tend to act like subtle sonic cues that affirm users and provide them a sense of accomplishment. From the satisfying “ding” of a completed payment to the reassuring “chime” signalling success, these verbal symphonies play a crucial role in creating a user interface that not only works intuitively but also celebrates each user’s achievements. The following are the examples of some onomatopoeias for success-
2. Emphasis and Attention
Explore the onomatopoeias carefully crafted to emphasize, draw attention, and create moments of impact within the digital product. Create an impact and grab user’s complete attention towards the product using-
3. Loaders and Progress
Let’s dive into UX progression, where loaders and progress indicators serve the purpose of guiding users through their digital journey. Onomatopoeias tailored for loaders and progress signifies the user that they are now one step closer to completion. Check out the list-
There are more categories of Onomatopoeias catered to UX needs. To check them out, follow this link.
Best practices to follow
It might be fun to use Onomatopoeias to enhance the user delight and experience of a product, however, one should be cautious before using these verbal harmonies in their product. Here are some practices to follow before using Onomatopoeias:
1) Understand the user’s intent and the context. The two factors are equally important so you can choose the right word to cater to the digital module you’ve created.
2) Avoid excessive use. Our focus is user-delight, over-exaggeration might lead to an unpleasant experience for the user and the user might begin to ignore the onomatopoeias.
3) Maintain consistency. Throughout the product, there should be a balance between the verbal cues, the language of the application and the feeling every sight, sound and touch creates.
It is evident that onomatopoeias play a pivotal role in creating memorable and engaging user experiences. With the list of UX onomatopoeias and the best practices to follow, now you can embark on your own design journey and consider the impact these carefully chosen sounds can have on your users. Experiment, iterate, and fine-tune your sonic palette to create interfaces that not only work seamlessly but also resonate with your audience.
How will you integrate onomatopoeias into your UX design journey? Share your insights, experiences, and creative experiments in the comments below.