Constructive criticism and feedback on the new app


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As Sonos asked for constructive criticism and feedback in response to the 8.0 backlash, here's my take on it.

WHAT"S WRONG WITH IT?

The new app has quite a lengthy list of issues. Several of which aren't even points of debate as they are so obvious. I'll start with quickly highlighting those before moving on to the fundamental problem, which is the new way of navigation.


Too bright

The new predominantly white design is a problem in any context with dimmed light (evening living room, bedroom, etc). It's no coincedence in this regard that GPS systems have a night mode

In addition the elements that did remain black - like the current room or the nav bar - don't draw attention and feel inactive. When switching rooms for example, I'm inclined to tap the room a second time, as making the current selection darker just doesn't feel like on.


Big and bloated

Pretty much every overview in the interface has become big and bloated. Because of that, these screens do no longer provide a proper overview, and the small snapshots we are left with force us to scroll up and down like crazy.

In the rooms screen for example, the focus on now playing for each room means you can only see 2 rooms at a time. As if I wouldn't group or switch to another room because of what was playing there last night.

The favorites screen takes this problem to the next level. Not only do you have to scroll like crazy, more than 2 favorites in a category means you'll have to click 'see all' on top of it. Isn't the whole point of favorites to provide quick access to common choices?

To top it all off,because of these bloated album views, longer titles aren't readable because they get cut off.


Inefficient

The biggest problem is undoubtedly the confusing and incredibly inefficient new navigation.

Some of the most common actions - e.g changing what's playing and change rooms - now require 2 or 3 times as many clicks as before, and it's even worse when you want to do both. And if that's not enough, the room configuration is now separate from the room selection, and the source selection has nothing to do with the now playing, as if those are completely different.

For example. When on the now playing screen, I want to have quick access to room selection and music sources, and that used to be the case. I could click on the room dropdown and then simply select another room. With the new navigation I have to suddenly swipe down, click on rooms, and scroll down again to find the room I'm looking for, before I can select it.

To make matters worse. I no longer have access to where I was in the music selection in the room I just selected. At best I can continue playing, as the browse menu is set to my selection for the previous room, instead of the newly selected one.

How making the most basic and frequent actions twice as complicated as before while loosing features all together is beyond me.


Upside down

The Sonos app is meant to control what's playing now and where. It's no more than logical that everything is centered around exactly that.

In the past this used to be the case. Now playing was the main screen and everything you wanted to do was temporarily shown on top. Once you were done with that you were back to the now playing screen.

With the new app you put this upside down. Everything is centered on this stupid nav bar and a full now playing has become a little layer on top which has been stripped from it's shortcuts. And doesn't make a single lick of sense:

- When I wan't to see album art the most is when it's playing. With the new design, now playing above that nav is probably the only place in the application where I don't get to see album art

- Same story with the play button. Because you had to make room for that nav bar, the play button is stupidly small, while previous and next are simply missing in action.

- Switch to a different room or select another album from that artist you are listeing to? Not from the now playing screen.


HOW CAN IT BE FIXED?


Go back to black

For the white design it's obvious what to do, as staring into a bright light has never been fun. Either go back to black, or offer it as an option for those of us who do dare to play music after dark.


Keep lists compact

It's a lot easier to find stuff in a simple list, with small icons. And with small lcons I mean the size they had in the previous design and not the twice the size of the current browse menu.

Quick and easy is a lot more important than colourfull.


Re-orient the app to what's playing

Make now playing the main screen again and reanable all the shortcuts - especially the one to select and configure rooms in one - so we don't have to waste time clicking around like crazy.

How to do that? Well one option is simply go back the navigation from the side with a shortcut at the top, because back then it was easy. Room related fast features at the bottom, everything to do with browsing and searching music at the top.

An alternative is to do something like google play with a navigation at the top . That way you can have a proper now playing and a visible navigation at the top without them getting in each others way.

A combination of both may actually be ideal. But whatever you do, just get rid of a navigation that has me jump from the top of the screen, than to the bottom. than back to the top, etc, while making now playing half the size it should be.

7 replies

I am a huge fan of change and in most cases when I find an "upgrade" difficult to use, I chalk it up to my own lack of time with the app to figure out how to truly leverage the new capabilities or app-flow....In this case however I wholeheartedly agree with all of the points above. I cannot believe how difficult this has made simple tasks that I used to do without a second thought. In 100% of the features and capabilities I am unhappy to report that I prefer the old app. With the new iPhone X it makes the need to jump top to bottom even worse.
Kudos to the person who put this article together, perhaps Sonos could hire you to help get the app back on track...I will say thank god the Alexa capability has been introduced that has kept me pretty distracted from the app for a little while ;-)
I also wholeheartedly agree with the points made above. The old App wasn't pretty (not that the new one is either, nor does it have to be) but it worked well. I own two Sonos players and since the new version has been released I cannot figure out how to play separate music in separate rooms. This was simple with the old version. Also now difficult (and slow to respond), is the procedure to shut off one player and start up the other without pausing the music playing. Please fix asap. Also, stop paying programmers to build "updated" Apps when it's not necessary. It seems like "updates" like this last attempt was done by a non-user of the once very good Sonos system!
Userlevel 6
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Thanks for taking the time to write that feedback up, User103951. We really appreciate it! I've passed your suggestions on to the team. They're continuing to work on the Sonos app and you'll see some changes soon, and others will come later too.
Userlevel 1
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This is a very well done post. I agree with most items. However:

- I’m fine with the white design, but it’s clearly a sore spot with many, so a night mode or themes is warranted.
- You mention twice that you have difficulty switching to a different room from the now playing screen. There is a nice room switcher at the bottom of the now playing screen. This is one thing I think they made easier.
Userlevel 2
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Excellent post User103951. Cannot agree more with your "upside down" sentiment.
Excellent summary. I understand they "are fixing" it. In the meantime can't they just allow us to rollback to the previous version. Everyone is unhappy today.
Userlevel 2
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Why make us rewrite everything? Just re-read (you have read them, haven't you?) the multitude of posts already covering this.

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