Sad trombone and the larger issue of sound preferences

trevor's Avatar


14 Feb, 2009 06:50 PM

So Campfire now has a few easter-egg sounds: rimshot, crickets and trombone. Propane doesn't play those sounds yet but rest assured, it will in the next update.

This is probably a good time to bring up something that's been on my mind. A while back I realized that what I really wanted was a way to play Barack Obama's "Hello baby!" (when someone joined the room) and "This sh*t's getting way too complicated for me" (when someone left the room).

Right now Propane only allows you to choose system sounds and it only defines three 'slots' for sounds: speaking, room events, and alerts.

I originally thought that the most important thing to me was the ability to define different sounds for different rooms. Keeping the sound slots limited to three would keep the preference choices at a manageable level.

What I've discovered over time is that my choice of sound doesn't change across rooms, just whether or not I want sounds played at all. But if I do want the sounds played, the most important thing to me turns out to be the ability to assign specific sounds to specific events. Three 'slots' is just too coarse-grained.

So here's what I'm thinking - I'll move the sound-file-selection to another preference tab called "sounds". On that tab will be a 1 to 1 mapping between a specific event ("person joined", "person left", "topic changed", "file uploaded", "someone spoke", "someone spoke your name", "one of your alert terms was spotted" etc) and a specific sound.

Then the notification preferences would just ask if you want to play a sound, not what sound to play. Here's how the notifications prefs would look, courtesy of the awesome UI prototyping tool 'Skitch':

Now, in case it's not apparent yet, this means that I'd be REMOVING a feature: per-room sound file selection. I think it's a reasonable trade-off.

If per-room sound file selection is super-critical for you then do let me know here. Just because it turned out a bit pointless for me doesn't mean everyone feels the same.

Thanks, Trev

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