unity-design team mailing list archive
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Re: Ubuntu startup sound for 14.04 LTS
I appreciate the thought you've put into the login sound, and especially
that you bring an expert's insight into the sort of sonic atmospheres that
can evoke the feelings we desire. Ubuntu's core values  state that
"Ubuntu embodies freedom, and is collaborative, precise and reliable": to
whatever extent that we can work that into the login sounds, we should.
It's especially important for the first login sound to be precise and
reliable. The sound should signify that, for the first time in the boot or
wake-up process, the system is live and ready for input on keyboard, mouse,
touchscreen, and whatever else the future of input holds. If the user is
not paying visual attention to the computer as it boots up, this may be
their only clue. If the user is blind, this is certainly their only clue. I
like the current sound in this regard: the three quick drum taps let me
know that my computer is ready in a brief, attention-grabbing and
The second sound serves two purposes: the first is that the password,
gesture, fingerprint, and/or other means of authentication used to access
the device has succeeded. To serve that purpose we should begin with a
strong, immediate, and satisfying sound. Its second purpose is to alert the
user that the user-management software, be it lightdm or whatever else,
requires no further input and is now out of your way. Our current sound
serves the first purpose well, leading with a percussive "tum" sound.
However, it completely fails at the second purpose, following its
satisfying percussive sound with a jaunty and needlessly long rhythm that
ends in a symbol crash. I've always disabled the second sound and I believe
it may even be disabled by default now. But a less obnoxious sound would
serve the login experience well.
I'm looking forward to see what you come up with! Thanks so much for taking
the initiative on this issue: I think that the sonic cues we give our users
are one of the best tools in our belt make a great first impression on new
users and give habitual users the sensation of preciseness and reliability
that we desire.