Automatically Playing Sound on Websites

By | 05/05/2007

Do you know of any research regarding how people feel about websites, that is automatically playing sound? E-consultancy has “automatically playing sound” on there list of “10 reasons why your website sucks”. John Boyd from Yahoo! and Christian Rohrer from eBay has presented some research on how users perceive online advertising. Based on research of 605 respondents 79% marked automatically playing sound as “Very Negatively”or “Negatively”. This might be indicative, but it is related to advertising not entire websites. Marketing Research Consulting writes that “As expected, during testing we found that when the audio announcement is set to play automatically on page load, it often resulted in sending visitors towards the ‘stop’ button or off the page completely”. Jakob Nielsen has some research that indicates that even teenagers are skeptical towards sound on webpages. I think that the reason for all the criticism of automatically played sound on websites, is perhaps summed up very nicely by Jeff Randall, he writes the following as possible reasons for disliking automatically played sound on websites. I have rewritten them slightly.

* It startled me because I wasn’t expecting it.
* It interfered with the music that I chose to listen to at that moment.
* It interfered with the conversation I was having on Skype.
* It woke up my sleeping baby.
* I’m not supposed to be on the website, and because of the unexpected sound my employer/mom/wife/kids caught me.

These are all very good reasons, but I have not found any really solid research to support that automatically played sound is generally hated by most people. Have you seen any such research?

5 thoughts on “Automatically Playing Sound on Websites

  1. Jonas

    jeg takker mange gange – det var alligevel noget der kunne bruges :)

    venlig hilsen

  2. Mads Gorm Larsen

    Det lyder godt, lad mig høre hvis i finder noget bedre.


  3. sandrar

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  4. Andrew Taylor

    Hi Gorm
    Did you ever find any relevant research about sound on websites? I haven’t come across much, so I’m doing my own (for a university project). If you’d like to take part in my online survey please do so at It should only take about 10 minutes. All input most gratefully appreciated.
    Andrew Taylor

  5. Mads Gorm Larsen

    Hi Andrew

    I never did find any further research than the one linked to in the above posting. Jakob Nielsen might have done further research since then.

    I have answered your survey, and I am looking forward for the results.

    Mads Gorm Larsen


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