Take Heed Sonos Devs

  • 3 November 2017
  • 73 replies
  • 1908 views

Userlevel 4
Badge
While you sit in your conference rooms and debate the 8.x app with corporate speak sentences like "They will get used to it" and "This happens every major upgrade" and "Scale-able, cross-platform modern blah blah blah.....".
One thing that has never happened before with my Sonos house happened last night. And it is important you realize the significance.

I had three couples over for drinks and I put on one of my playlists and then I turned the ipad over and placed it under my bar. I did it without thinking - it just seemed less distracting that way.

This morning i did think about it however. I had never done that before. I tend to hand off the Ipad and let guests marvel at my wonderful Sonos system. I let them pick music from the seemingly endless inventory of tunes from Google and Apple. Soon old songs are played that bring back great memories - people sing and some might even dance.
It almost always turns into a "So what is this Sonos thing?".

Last night. That did not happen.
The new interface is just confusing enough for new users that i have to give a tutorial I didn't feel like giving a tutorial.
The aesthetic is a bit too glaring and, in my opinion, not as attractive as it once was.

Your app is more than a tool. It is a showpiece. And we, the owners of Sonos dearly love to show it off. The speakers, yeah, they the Wow factor when the rich sound fills the house but when a new user touches the app and finds any song at the end of their fingertips, you can almost see the excitement in their eyes.

So while we can debate endlessly of 8.x being intuitive or not intuitive or 8.x being an evolutionary step forward or backward, one thing is a stone cold fact: six people did not fall in love with Sonos last night.

And THAT is something you should worry about.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

73 replies

Meanwhile, I’ve “shown” several recent guests just how simple it is to request virtually any song or album using only their voice, from across the room, playing in excellent HiFi quality. They’ve been quite impressed, to say the least.
Let me get this straight.

Your "experience" didn't even attempt to test what their reaction was, you merely predetermined the outcome and simply didn't show them the app due to your own misgivings about the interface?

To quote Dana Carvey's Church lady - "How conveeeenient!"

So all we have here is a predetermined bias that may or may not be due to muscle memory and familiarity issues projected upon the expected reaction of your guests. And this bias caused you to never present them with the opportunity to give their actual opinions, and yet, you think this proves your case? To the outside eye, this tells me you weren't even confident enough in your own analysis to offer it up to the scrutiny of your guests, instead you decided their reaction for them.

I think I speak for all when I reply - *YAWN*
Userlevel 6
Badge +6
Meanwhile, I’ve “shown” several recent guests just how simple it is to request virtually any song or album using only their voice, from across the room, playing in excellent HiFi quality. They’ve been quite impressed, to say the least.

Well, I can’t do that. I can request (by voice) lots of less than HIFI quality streams such as from Amazon I can’t request my own library, Deezer, or Tidal or any other HIFI quality streams. Spotify, when it arrives,will also be seriously lossy/compressed too.

Just thought it worth making the distinction that the app is still more useful than voice — if you care about the source quality. And I agree that the app is woeful.

Andrew
Userlevel 4
Badge
Actually, in my experience i have tried with wife, 16 year old daughter, buddy who is a neighbor.

Wife, now tells me what to play instead of using it.
16 year old daughter isn't updating her phone
Buddy. "Why did they do this?"

So really my predetermined bias was: "You know, i'm not as proud of the software as I once was"
The cool thing about my bias (as a customer) is it is mine.


Well, I can’t do that. I can request (by voice) lots of less than HIFI quality streams such as from Amazon I can’t request my own library, Deezer, or Tidal or any other HIFI quality streams. Spotify, when it arrives,will also be seriously lossy/compressed too.


Always amused by those who claim to “hear” vast differences in quality between modern AAC 256K streams and uncompressed.
Userlevel 4
Badge +4

Always amused by those who claim to “hear” vast differences in quality between modern AAC 256K streams and uncompressed.


These people obviously have dog ears. 😃
You know the difference in the app, Michael. Your guests don't. Putting the iPad on the main music selection page functions exactly like the old apps did. Your bias ruined your good time, not Sonos.
Userlevel 6
Badge +6
[quote=chicks]
Always amused by those who claim to “hear” vast differences in quality between modern AAC 256K streams and uncompressed.


I don’t claim to be an audiophile, and I don’t claim to hear vast differences.

But what are you telling me, that you bought into Sonos but don’t care about the audio quality? Or that you genuinely believe heavily compressed music sounds the same as CD quality? If you are going to rely on compressed audio from now own, what’s the point of Sonos? Just buy half a dozen Echo Dots and plug the line out into your various speakers around the house. The quality will be the same, job done for a fraction of the cost.

You are welcome to listen to whatever you want, but don’t use the words HIFI when talking about compressed music as it makes you sound foolish.

Andrew
Lol, thanks for the laugh.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
Actually, in my experience i have tried with wife, 16 year old daughter, buddy who is a neighbor.

Wife, now tells me what to play instead of using it.
16 year old daughter isn't updating her phone
Buddy. "Why did they do this?"

So really my predetermined bias was: "You know, i'm not as proud of the software as I once was"
The cool thing about my bias (as a customer) is it is mine.


And...why?

Because it is different.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
[quote=andrewmk]
Always amused by those who claim to “hear” vast differences in quality between modern AAC 256K streams and uncompressed.


I don’t claim to be an audiophile, and I don’t claim to hear vast differences.

But what are you telling me, that you bought into Sonos but don’t care about the audio quality? Or that you genuinely believe heavily compressed music sounds the same as CD quality? If you are going to rely on compressed audio from now own, what’s the point of Sonos? Just buy half a dozen Echo Dots and plug the line out into your various speakers around the house. The quality will be the same, job done for a fraction of the cost.

You are welcome to listen to whatever you want, but don’t use the words HIFI when talking about compressed music as it makes you sound foolish.

Andrew


Does that apply to compressed lossless codecs? Or are they foolish too?
You can copy your library to Amazon if you were so inclined.
Userlevel 6
Badge +6
[/quote]

Does that apply to compressed lossless codecs? Or are they foolish too?
You can copy your library to Amazon if you were so inclined.[/quote]

Well, no — sorry I should have made the distinction between the two. I should have said lossy files and not compressed files.

I have looked at uploading music to Amazon but from what I understand the stream you get to download is still lossy and not the file you actually uploaded.

Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with lossy files, on a Play 3 or maybe even a 5 I probably couldn’t hear the difference. I mostly listen on my Connect Amp and there I can, that’s all. And I wouldn’t apply the term HIFI to those files as Chicks did.
Userlevel 4
Badge
See that's where you are wrong BCM.
My bias/opinion of the update is exactly what matters.
No different than the opinion from others that sonopad is a viable alternative.
That app is something I've never heard of before today.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. And that has been my point from the beginning.
But you took it upon yourself to keep the iPad from your guests. You have no idea how they would have reacted other than what you assumed would happen, so your disappointment is solely on you. If they've never seen the app before, they have nothing to compare it to.
Userlevel 6
Badge +1


And...why?

Because it is different.


Different is one thing, cumbersome and inefficient however is something else.

Really fascinating how some of you don't even want acknowledge the increased number of clicks. The lack of a full screen confirmation when you do so, or select a music source. Or the everything but compact views in which hardly anything fits into a single screen.

Fact is nothing got easier with the new interface, at best it remained the same, and often if requires more effort.
Not disagreeing with you there. I've been around Sonos long enough to know they will fix it. My comments are toward Michael depriving his guests from playing with the app because HE doesn't like it.
Userlevel 4
Badge
BCM, when I have bad service/food at a restaurant, I will most likely tell others. I have no problem "depriving" them of the same poor experience.
That isn’t what you wrote. You said you hI’d the iPad from your guests. By your analogy, that would be the equivalent of you taking the food off the table of the people next to you because you didn’t like what you were eating. Big difference between word-of-mouth and actual hands-on experience. See the difference? I’m the same token, that would be like a buddy saying he didn’t like a beer. But it may be to your liking because you never had it before and wanted to try it.
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
Michael, while the "Devs" developed the UI, very likely they had nothing to do with it's visual design and usability. At a company the size of Sonos, this is almost assuredly in the hands of UX/UI designers, who get sign-off/approval (and likely direction) from senior management.

At even the largest companies, it is pretty common for an extremely small group of people (or even a single individual) to make major decisions on UI design that devs are required to follow. Ideally that group or person is listening closely to user-feedback, observing users actually interacting with the software, and is "dogfooding" it. (Internal usage of the product first, within the company.) Easy for that not to happen though, for a variety of reasons.

I'm a developer/architect at a large company, 20K+ employees. For several years, all of our in-house developed UI's had to implement a UI framework the CIO had quasi-mandated, which was based on a single, obscure, atypical 3rd-party app he happened to love, which used a very non-conventional navigation for that time. We were not designing the apps with what was best for the user front-and-center, we had to design to make our managers and ultimately the CIO happy. When you have people at the top who have strong opinions on how something should be done, and the people under them who want to make them happy...you get the idea. If you have someone at the top giving a vision and direction like a Steve Jobs, you may have great results. Not always the cause though, obviously.

UI changes can trigger enormous polarization of opinion. i.e. Windows 8, iOS moving to a flat design vs skeuomorphism, etc. Looks like Sonos is trying to move the app to try to adhere to Apple's "Human Interface Guidelines". See https://developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/overview/themes/ I'd be curious to hear what someone experienced in developing using these guidelines thinks of the new app.

Anyway, speaking as a developer, that is my long-winded reply for what I could have written as 'probably not the fault of the devs...' 😃
Long time Sonos user and infrequent poster but I'm going to add my opinion on one of the many threads on this topic here...

I think the new UI is pants (inefficient, garish, etc...) and Sonos need to seriously consider their direction if they want me to keep this system.

To preempt any subsequent posts on this, I also really don't care if other people think this release is OK so please don't try and convince me otherwise; that's their opinion and I'm pleased for them but I (along with a majority of others one would surmise) disagree. Let's hope Sonos hires some decent developers and fix this and I'll see you all again on here some day!

Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with lossy files, on a Play 3 or maybe even a 5 I probably couldn’t hear the difference. I mostly listen on my Connect Amp and there I can, that’s all. And I wouldn’t apply the term HIFI to those files as Chicks did.


I listen via QUAD ESL-63s. I’ve compared CDs, SACDs, and high bitrate compressed streams. Can’t hear a bit of difference. Neither can anyone in properly controlled DBTs, with rare, well known exceptions.
Userlevel 6
Badge +6

Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with lossy files, on a Play 3 or maybe even a 5 I probably couldn’t hear the difference. I mostly listen on my Connect Amp and there I can, that’s all. And I wouldn’t apply the term HIFI to those files as Chicks did.


I listen via QUAD ESL-63s. I’ve compared CDs, SACDs, and high bitrate compressed streams. Can’t hear a bit of difference. Neither can anyone in properly controlled DBTs, with rare, well known exceptions.


Truly all I can honestly say to you is that I don’t believe you. Either that or your hearing is seriously screwed.

If you can’t tell the difference between SACD on Quad speakers and naff lossy audio, then why are you even bothering with Sonos? Go get yourself two tin cans and a piece of string and knock yourself out. You do your credibility no favours with nonsense like this. Besides, I don’t consider Amazon’s service as high but rate.

Like I said, you can listen to what you like, but by no stretch of the imagination is highly compressed lossy audio ‘hifi’ It’s you that cannot hear the difference, not me.

Andrew
Show me a valid DBT then. Plenty of them over on Hydrogen Audio proving no one can hear a difference. Can you find one proving you can? Good luck...
Awesome. An audiophile argument challenging the way other people hear music. Those never happen.
If you can’t tell the difference between SACD on Quad speakers and naff lossy audio....

....by no stretch of the imagination is highly compressed lossy audio ‘hifi’...


That's not what he said, though - "high bitrate compressed streams" - not the same thing at all.