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Mapping Workplace Soundscapes: Reifying Office Auditory Environments

By Iain Mcgregor, Alison Crerar, David Benyon and Grégory Leplâtre


This paper reports an empirical study to investigate how individuals perceive and classify elements of their workplace auditory environments. The participants were 18 university employees chosen for their varying degrees of room occupancy, from single occupants through to those sharing with up to 11 colleagues. Participants in single rooms were expected to have greater control over their auditory environment than those who shared, and as such, the desire and opportunity to influence the soundscape could be studied, in both positive and negative terms. A key aim was to discover what terms individuals used when describing sounds, whether they were technical, musical or object-orientated. Participants were interviewed individually, in their usual office environment, using a series of questions on a variety of topics such as the ideal working environment, and any desire to alter it, as well their experiences with auditory interfaces. After the interview, participants were asked to listen to their auditory environment for 15 minutes and describe what they could hear. Following this, they were asked to classify each sound they had mentioned using a modified version of Macaulay and Crerar’s (1998

Topics: Mapping, Classification, Visualization, Workplace Background
Year: 2008
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