Making a Multimedia Website

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factfile2.5 Enhancing Websites with Audio

 

Websites may use sound for many reasons. Some audio will relate to content, such as hearing how a foreign phrase is pronounced. Other sounds are purely for effect and are used to create a mood or set a scene, for example. A movie website may play the film's theme tune or atmospheric sound effects, while a comic film will try to create a different ambience from a horror film with the audio it uses.

headphonesA podcast is an audio file that is distributed via the internet. It might be a recording of a professional radio show that allows users to listen to it again, but it might equally be a show that is recorded
especially as a podcast. Podcasts are usually "talk radio" rather than music so as to avoid breaking any copyright laws.

Sometimes websites use sound in combination with still images as an alternative to video so as to reduce file sizes. It may be just as effective to show a photograph of a presenter and play a recording of what they have to say as it is to show a video of a"talking head" speaking at the camera.

With audio and video it is very important to provide the user with controls to switch the media on or off, fast forward or turn down the volume. Not all website visitors will appreciate having music blaring out at them while trying to do quiet research and designers should ensure there is a way for the user to skip the clip or adjust the volume/mute the sound. This issue is especially important if a musical introduction is played when the user first enters a website. On re- visiting the site, the user may want to skip past it quickly.

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