Human-Sound Interaction (HSI)

The design of interactions with sound and audio processes is a seminal activity in the creation of a performance, installation, a virtual sound environment, or interface for musical expression. The interaction design is often fixated by the interface without taking into account human factors and our diverse abilities to perceive the sound and interface affordances. The Human-Sound Interaction (HSI) workshop is a half-day workshop that investigates principles of interaction design with sound. This workshop with the human at the centre of the design in a collaborative, interactive, inclusive and diverse environment. This workshop will look at human-centered interaction design aspects that determine the realisation and appreciation of musical works (installations, composition and performance), interfaces for sound design and musical expression, augmented instruments, sonic aspects of virtual environments, interactive audiovisual dance performances. Participants are invited to a 3-hours interactive session with hands-on design activities.

Human-Sound Inter-action (HSI) is defined as direct, engaging, natural and em-bodied interaction with sound [1]:

  • direct as the impression or a feeling about an interfacecapable of being described in terms of concrete actions[4]
  • engaging as fostering the “feeling of directly manip-ulating the objects of interest”, where “the world ofinterest is explicitly represented and there is no inter-mediary between user and world”[4]
  • natural“as being marked by spontaneity”[3]
  • embodied as an extension and incorporation of humanskills and abilities within the interaction design of asystem [2]

HSI Workshop

The topic of HSI is explored through workshop activities. These will aim to explore HSI principles and practices in an interdisciplinary, diverse, interactive and collaborative setting. Musicians, technologists and sound artists from different backgrounds will be invited to ideate and design modes of interaction with sound, and reflect on our capabilities to perceive the affordances of sound and of interaction with an interface.

The HSI workshop invites the scientific and artistic community working on topics that include:

  • Human-Centred Design approaches for sonic interaction design
  • Interactions designed by/with/for diverse musicians
  • Fostering diversity in music and sound art through interaction design
  • Sonic and cross-modal music affordances
  • Embodied interaction with sound
  • Interaction design for augmented instruments
  • Adaptive frameworks for interaction design
  • Interaction design for audio/musical interfaces
  • Interaction design for interactive sound art and installations
  • Impact of interaction design in artistic practice, culture, societal and gender aspects
  • Impact of human, artistic, cultural, societal and gender factors in designing interaction with sound
  • Inclusive interaction design strategies with sound
  • Sonic interactions in Virtual (VR), Augmented (AR) and Mixed (MR) realities
  • Interactive audio-visual dance performance

The series of HSI workshops across different communities aim to build the knowledge through the experience of practitioners at the intersection of music, sound art, performance and Human-Centred Interaction Design, and to investigate how to make sound experience more inclusive and diverse through HSI. Findings will contribute to a body of knowledge on Human-Sound Interaction shared with the community.

Workshop dates

  • 21 July 2020. International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME20). Online - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Registration - Programme
  • 14 September 2020. Audio Mostly 2020. Online - IEM / University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria. Registration - Programme
  • 2 October 2020. ArteScienza 2020. Online - Centro Ricerche Musicali, Rome, Italy. Registration and Programme


Balandino Di Donato, Informatics Department, University of Leicester
Christopher Dewey, Department of Computer Science, University of Huddersfield
Tychonas Michailidis, DMT Lab - Birmingham City University
Alessio Gabriele, CRM - Centro Ricerche Musicali of Rome

Related publications

[1] Balandino Di Donato, Christopher Dewey, and Tychonas Michailidis. 2020. Human-Sound Interaction: Towards a Human-Centred Sonic Interaction Design approach. In 7th International Conference on Movement and Comput-ing (MOCO ’20), July 15–17, 2020, Jersey City/ Virtual, NJ, USA.ACM, NewYork, NY, USA, 4 pages. DOI: 10.1145/3401956.3404233

[2] P. Dourish.Where The Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction. MIT Press, Oct. 2001

[3] S. A. Grandhi, G. Joue, and I. Mittelberg. Understanding naturalness and intuitiveness ingesture production. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI, pages 821–824, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2011.

[4] D. A. Norman and S. W. Draper. User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-computer Interaction. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1986.