Designing assistive sound for mobile and online banking.

Make banking easier and safer for disabled users by following these steps when designing assistive sound design for your digital banking.

Find out what people need from you.

Journey mapping: Identify barriers for disabled customers.

Observe disabled customers using your services to identify barriers and what’s working. Assess their functional and emotional needs at each stage to determine how to use audio feedback, notifications, and alerts.

Assessing audio accessibility.

Review the performance and purpose of your current audio assets. This includes ADA and WCAG compliance, feedback and navigation, and branded notifications and alerts.

Situational accessibility.

Overcome sensory and noisy environments.

Like everyone, people with disabilities will use your apps in sensory and noisy environments that change the accessibility and usability of your apps.

To overcome these situations, explore customizable assistive audio options. For example, allowing users to select different sound profiles and volume settings to suit their sensory preferences and environment.

Personalization for different disabilities.

People with different disabilities require various ways of controlling devices and settings. For example, people with limited mobility may need voice control, gestures, or disability-first user interfaces instead of physical buttons to adjust volume.

Safe and secure banking.

Balance accessibility with privacy and security.

Assess the privacy and security risks of using voice, notifications, or alerts for specific tasks and environments.

For example, tasks involving sensitive information, such as account balance inquiries, shouldn’t be communicated through voice feedback, particularly in public settings.

In cases where voice feedback is necessary, alert users about the risk and get their permission before proceeding.

Sound design and interaction.

Function or emotion: What works best where?

The tone of your sound design helps people interpret their meaning and importance. Only use them when necessary and useful to prevent people from being overwhelmed and ignoring them.

When designing your sounds, choose the appropriate tone for the situation. For example, notifications about receiving a deposit should elicit positivity, while notifications confirming the successful transfer of a large sum of money should be reassuring to alleviate anxiety.

Prototyping and testing.

Getting feedback and insights from users with disabilities.

To develop solutions that work, start testing early and involve people with disabilities. You’ll gain valuable insight into what helps people navigate your services and avoid unnecessary, costly solutions that get in their way. Get feedback on whether the form and tone of your sound design convey the intended message and action to take.

Test device controls and interactions to ensure they’re easy for users with different disabilities. Test your services in real-life situations to ensure they function flawlessly outside the lab.

Continuity across platforms.

Sonic guidelines: Maintaining consistency and compliance across platforms and projects.

Sound usage guidelines provide a framework for expanding your assistive sound design across your platforms, avoiding starting from scratch with each new project.

They keep your agencies and developers on track by recommending when and how to use sound and specific disability-related issues.

Providing consistent audio feedback for actions across your platforms prevents users' confusion and frustration, maintains ADA compliance, and creates a recognizable brand identity.

Case studies.


National Australia Bank . Managing sound . Unifying the brand journey.


Designing digital & physical spaces that work for disabled people.


Get in touch.
Marcel de Bie
Marcel de Bie
+1 310 270 8012

"In a world not designed by them, Marcel creates platforms with people with disabilities so they can design their own experiences."

Carmen Madisson . Boilover Inclusive Performance Ensemble. Sunbury Cobaw Community Health.

"Not only did Marcel break down what was working and not working in terms of interfaces and the responsiveness and character of sounds, he explored how they hindered or helped them achieve their goals."

Wendy O'Neil . Art Centre, Melbourne.

"Marcel was indispensable to us and the success of the project, with that rare combination of practical know-how, a hard-work ethic, and inspired creative vision.''

Brian Rupp . Brand Timbre & Rumblefish. [USA]