Matthew Bennett

Matthew Bennett is Head of the Sound + Sensory Design at Microsoft, where he is leading development of the next generation sound design language for products, devices and platforms, with the mission to help create a more beautiful and functional global soundscape of technology. He collaborates with strategists, researchers, design and engineering teams to pioneer new sensory-driven interaction models and design systems that support intuitive and inclusive experiences. He is an award-winning composer, performer and producer with a background in ethnomusicology, where his graduate research focused on the role of sound in shaping temporal perception and the anthropology of sound and sensory experience. His original sound design and micro-compositions for Microsoft products have shipped on more than a billion devices worldwide.

UX Salon Talk

Sensory Design

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.”