Designing Web Audio was born out of our passion for music and technology and the desire to share this knowledge with others around the world. The production of a good web soundtrack and “sonic experience” requires musical and artistic skill, a basic understanding of acoustics, and technological savvy. Our goal in writing this book was to teach and inspire the complete range of skills necessary to create a great web soundtrack and compelling user experience.
Another inspiration for writing this book was to encourage web professionals not to overlook the powerful impact that audio can and will add to a web site. Seasoned veterans of the television and film industry will be the first to tell you that audio is a key element in the success of any major production. For example, films directed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would not have made such an impact without the impressive soundtracks created by composers such as John Williams and sound designers such as Ben Burtt and Gary Rydstrom.
As many musicians and sound designers know, audio often takes the “back seat” to graphics and visuals. Sometimes there are good reasons for this: lean production budgets or short timelines dictate that certain elements such as text and graphics take priority over audio. Sometimes bandwidth constraints alone are simply too great to include large audio files on a web site. But in many cases, audio is not factored into the production budget because it is deemed to provide no tangible use or benefit to the audience. Worse, sound is often left out because of a lack of knowledge of how to use the tools and techniques needed to create effective soundtracks.
To educate web developers about the power of sound and about the techniques for producing high-fidelity audio became our rallying cry for the duration of this project. Fortunately, since more and more successful high-traffic web sites have integrated sound over the past year, our job has become less about convincing people to use audio, and more about teaching them how to use audio well.