Auditory interfaces, such as auditory alarms, are useful tools for human computer interaction. Unfortunately, poor detectability and annoyance inhibit the efficacy of many interface sounds. Here, it is shown in two ways how moving beyond the traditional simplistic temporal structures of normative interface sounds can significantly improve auditory interface efficacy. First, participants rated tones with percussive amplitude envelopes as significantly less annoying than tones with flat amplitude envelopes. Crucially, this annoyance reduction did not come with a detection cost as percussive tones were detected more often than flat tones—particularly, at relatively low listening levels. Second, it was found that reductions in the duration of a tone's harmonics significantly lowered its annoyance without a commensurate reduction in detection. Together, these findings help inform our theoretical understanding of detection and annoyance of sound. In addition, they offer promising original design considerations for auditory interfaces.