If you have ever been to a website where music just starting playing randomly and your
speakers were turned all the way up, you already know how frustrating it can be. This
doesn’t mean nobody should ever have music on the homepage or in the background,
but there is a code of conduct for adding music. You need to consider the type of
website and business to determine if music is appropriate.
Using Sound: Why People Don’t Like It
You should first be aware that the majority of people viewing websites don’t care for
music. This is because people often have their speakers turned up, not thinking
websites they’re visiting will have sound. If you have music that plays automatically, it
can be quite a shock and very frustrating. They might also be listening to music on their
computer while viewing websites, so you’re making it a difficult time for them. This
doesn’t mean all websites can’t have music, but they must fit certain criteria.
When You Shouldn’t Use Sound
If you have a website that doesn’t have a necessity for sound, don’t include it. This is
especially true if the music program you’re using doesn’t have a button to press play or
stop right on the top of the page. Nobody is going to go searching for a stop button if
they hear music when visiting your site. They will just close the page and look
elsewhere. Some sites, like spa or massage sites, sound good with light sound, but
there should be an option to press play if they’re interested in hearing it. Above all, do
not play audio for advertising purposes.
When Sound is Appropriate
There are some instances where having music is appropriate. Most commonly, if you
have an artist or music page, feel free to have your music playing in the background. It
does help to have the option of the visitor pressing play instead of auto play
backgrounds. Even on music sites, visitors want to have the option to listen to it when
they’re ready. Interactive websites are also appropriate for music or sound to be going
on in the background, because users expect sound to be played.
What to Play
The sound or music you choose to play depends on the type of site or business. For a
musician page, you’re obviously going to play tracks of your own music. If it is a spa
website, use very low and muted sounds that create a relaxing atmosphere. If it a
gaming or kids site, sound is appropriate, but don’t put it on auto play. Finally, when
playing music, always attribute it to the original artist and don’t disobey their copyright
As you can see, music isn’t always a bad idea, you just need to make sure the visitor is
choosing to listen to it. There is nothing more frustrating that going to a website in the
middle of the workday and being blasted with auto play music you can’t turn off.