Must Provide Volume Controls

Rule: Volume controls and a Mute button must exist for all online audio.

I ended up on a promotion page for American Airlines. I was actually interested in the demo they offered, so I clicked to watch. The demo had an audio track but no way to turn off the volume. Because I couldn’t turn it off, I immediately closed the window. For me, this reaction is sometimes nearly automatic – almost a type of panic. In this case, I was listening to music.

Unfortunately for American Airlines, I wasn’t as interested in their audio narrative as I was in the music I already had. Plus, I didn’t want to switch over to iTunes and then back again. If you want be successful online, forget about the audio. If you really can’t, make it opt-in. No matter what, leave the user in charge, or they’ll leave you.