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Story Labs: How Microsoft’s Matthew Bennett cuts through noise to create a ‘sound world’

Written By published August 28, 2018

You might never have thought about the sounds your computer emits when an email arrives, your battery runs low or a meeting reminder pops up on your screen. Matthew Bennett has. A lot.

Bennett personally composed, performed and digitally manipulated more than 900 versions of the Windows 10 calendar alert sound before choosing the perfect one.

As audio creative director for a large portfolio of Microsoft software and devices, Bennett has played a key role in the company’s sound design for 15 years. He has strong opinions and well-developed philosophies about sound, as well as a highly specialized vocabulary to discuss it.

“Our responsibility to our customers is, first of all, do no harm. Design sounds that don’t hurt or annoy,” he says. “Second, make it functional, and third, make it beautiful. Beauty and function go hand in hand. The more beautiful it is, the better it will flow into the experience we want people to have.”

Read more about Bennett at Microsoft Story Labs.