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?