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Sound and information

This is my first post on the new Juxtaprose blog, and I get to initiate our on sound category. Besides posts on our work with audio, and with sound and music on websites, you can also look forward to some posts here about a somewhat novel pastime of mine: thinking about sound and music as way of understanding information.

As a little preview: one of the interesting things about the way we perceive sound is that we never hear a sound, but we hear an amalgam of direct and reflected sound waves that we relate to as a single sound. For example, when we hear someone playing a guitar, the sound we appreciate as the sound of the guitar is actually a combination of many direct sounds from the string, and then the reflection of the string sounds off the surfaces of the instrument, off the surfaces in the room; and those reflected sounds reflecting again, etc.

So, I find that some of the "information problems" that people struggle with come about because they start with a view of information in isolation. For example, a company that sells guitars might think about each model as an "object", and imagine that their systems or websites should be designed around guitar-information-objects.

But, I think it's useful to imagine systems and websites where these information guitars are more like guitar sounds, where what's inside them (as "objects") is designed to combine with what's outside.

If you're asking how this might apply to you, ponder this: is your website designed to work with other websites? Is the information on your site useful to people when they're outside of your site? Figuratively speaking, have you listened to how your site "sounds" when it's heard all over the world wide web?

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