Earcons meaning, earcons are easy to build and


type of representation in auditory interface is earcons. Earcons are defined as
“nonverbal audio messages used in the human-computer interface to provide
information to the user about some computer object, operation or interaction”
(Blattner et al as cited in Jacko, 1996) while Brewster et al. (as cited by
Garzonis, Jones, Jay & O’Neill, 2009) added a description on earcons as “abstract,
musical tones that can be used in structured combinations to create
auditory  messages”, “composed of short,
rhythmic sequences of pitches with variable intensity, timbre and register”.”
Jacko mentioned in his study that these pitches, timbre and register are
elements of motives which are considered as the important features. Unlike
auditory icons which have direct relationship between the event and sound,
earcons use arbitrary audio signal which is unpredictable to symbolize an event
(Sodnik et al., 2008). This means that users do not understand the earcons as
they heard it for the first time because of unfamiliarity. As earcons applies a
lot of unfamiliar features, users are required to study the connection between
earcons and the events they are linked with as they lack in the ability to
provide a meaningful relationship within the earcons and computer events
(Garzonis et al., 2009).

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Jacko’s study, there are two types of earcons which are compound earcons and
family earcons. Compound earcons are the most familiar and simplest type of
earcons. It may represent an action of computer such as ‘open’ and an object in
computer like ‘file’. Unlike compound earcons, family earcons are more
influential and basically has hierarchical structure. Thus, because of that
feature, that family earcons are most suitable used for menu systems that are
hierarchical. For example, syntax error and system error would be in the same
group of family earcons which is ‘Error’. As the function of computer and
earcons are mapped arbitrarily, they are problematic for users and system
designers to recognize the relationship. However, as mentioned previously, the
pitches, timbre and register are the useful features to achieve the higher recognition
level (Brewster as cited in Jacko, 1996). These features must be used carefully
so that there are no ‘slip-off’ errors when earcons are employed with graphical
buttons on computer interfaces.

the troubles in understanding the relationships between earcons and their
meaning, earcons are easy to build and have better accuracy than auditory icons
in presenting information.



            Sodnik et al. (2008) defined spearcons as “audio cues
generated by converting the text of a menu item to speech and then speeding up
the resulting audio clip until it is no longer comprehensible as speech”. For
clarification, spearcons are produced by converting the text labelled on
interface menu to speech using text-to-speech (TTS). Then, the spoken menu item
is the spearcons. The term spearcons in comes from the words speech and
earcons. This means that the two elements are combined to become a new hybrid
auditory cue with both features. Meanwhile, in Walker’s study (as cited in
Sodnik et al., 2008), it is proven that a combination of spearcons and spoken
menu text is powerful than earcons. This is because in the same study, auditory
icons, earcons and spearcons have been compared together in menu navigation
problem where spearcons showed a slightly shorter learning rates by users. The
study also showed that spearcons are easy and fast to learn by users.

conclude, each of the representation in auditory interfaces are depending on
the different situation to works well for users. As an example, spearcons, are
more useful when a system uses audio-based navigation in the computer
interface. Thus, it is important to choose which audio interfaces
representation is suitable to minimize users’ frustration when using the system
and at the same time increasing their recognition and learning rates.


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