I designed a sound for use in chat apps to signify a connection made between two people
A chat app needs a sound when two people connect. Their theme is the Australian boomerang. The concept is that “one person throws their message to the world and then it returns to them with the response from their messaging partner”.
They want a clean, simple and satisfying sound that can be heard possibly many times during the same conversation. The app is for phones, voice assistants and other small devices with basic speakers – no heavy bass or complex sounds!
The final sound effect
Boomerang 'connection made'
My design approach
I broke this brief down to a few main elements: the sending and receiving of a message, the simple clean tones and the limitations with playback quality. After making this list I came to the conclusion that the sound should be like a person throws their message (like a boomerang) which is one clear pure tone. This message travels and is then caught by another person – it’s the same message so it should be essentially the same tone.
I only used two notes in a higher pitch (starting with E5 on a piano) as I know this tone can be played clearly by most speakers on different devices. The first 2 tones signify the sending, then it’s trajectory is signified by a sustained tone, and finally the receipt of the message is signified by 2 descending tones played back in reverse. This becomes four tones – like a melody.
To me it’s instantly recognisable that the last two tones are related to the first two, but they are different. Also the overall tonality is positive as if a good connection has been made.