Love it or Loathe it, websites are becoming more media focused and music is becoming more common on the web. As broadband speeds increase, the web is becoming alive with the sound of music, glossy images and streaming video. Welcome to the online future!
Tip 1 – Enhance it!
Have music or sound if you feel it will enhance your users’ experience. Good music placement can enhance a visitors experience and provide the right atmosphere for browsing and purchasing. Don’t use music for the sake of it or because you mates band has produced a recording!
Tip 2 – The Off Button
Always, always have an off button in a highly visible place. Not everybody wants music, especially if they are at work. People are more likely to mute the music if it is inappropriate to the site subject matter.
Tip 3 – Be Legal
Always get the appropriate licensing, without it you could end up in serious trouble. Don’t assume that you are covered always check the small print.
Tip 4 – Audio
Use quality digital audio. Don’t use midi based music, this is now seen as old fashioned and the resulting sound quality is out of your control as it is dependent on the quality of the visitors sound card.
Tip 5 – Compliment Your Site
Music that is complimentary to the subject of your site or business is likely to be accepted by your visitor. Instrumental music is said to be best as vocals can be distracting if you are trying to read. Don’t use inappropriate music, better to use none at all than use a piece that is potentially turning your visitors away.
Tip 6 – Don’t Start Too Loud
Consider the volume and structure of the music. If the music starts off loud and dramatically, it is an idea to reduce the overall volume of the audio file. This way the music will play slightly lower than the default volume settings of the visitors system. Loud starts can cause people to scramble for the close button. It is better that they have to turn it up a bit!
Tip 7 – Ease Me In!
Letting music fade in is a good way to ease you listener into your audio. They will be less likely to hit the off button if you give them a few seconds to accept the fact that music is starting to play.
Tip 8 – What Is It For?
Decide what the intended effect of the music is. Is it an introduction to your site or as background music? May be you will have both.
Tip 9 – Loops Can Make You Loopy!
If you want to loop sections of music be very careful. Short loops are proven to irritate listeners quickly. The ear is very perceptive to repetition and trickery, more so than the eye.
Tip 10 – Don’t Employ the Butcher
Combining music with graphics and video is now relatively easy to do with modern technology, however, without good audio editing skills getting the audio to fit with your animation can require some sound design or a bespoke piece to be written. This subject is an article in its self; however, I would say it is better to pay for the skills of a sound designer to get the result you need. Music that has been butchered or altered to fit can easily be spotted if it is not done properly and can spoil the entire effect.