Interview

Sonos App Redesign AMA

Sonos App Redesign AMA
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Today is the day of the AMA!

The new app design has been out for a week, and most of you have had a chance to get used to the new UI.

Some of you might have questions when you have had a week to get to know the new Sonos App interface. Because of that, we want to give you all a chance to ask some of the people who were integral in its creation and design, the questions that have come to mind while you have used the app.

As we mentioned in the event.

Our panelists will be:

  • Diane Roberts, Senior Director of Software Development
  • Kate Wojogbe, Senior Director of User Experience
  • Tucker Severson, Director of Product Management

It will be hosted on the 14th of May from 11:00 until 14:00 GMT -07.

But instead of me telling you what they do and what their role with the app update has been, here are their own introductions:

 

Diane

Diane Roberts is the Senior Director of Software Engineering and Product Management at Sonos responsible for the Sonos Apps. Her group of cross-disciplinary teams build Configuration, Control, and Content experiences on a foundation of Core mobile application technologies. She received dual Bachelors’ of Science in Computer Science and Music from WPI. Diane holds 6 granted patents as a co-inventor.

 

Kate

As Senior Director of User Experience, Kate leads the UX team responsible for Sonos’ home audio hardware, software, and app user experiences. This includes user interfaces on speakers and soundbars, setup for hardware and services, first and third party content experiences, and a variety of methods of control of the Sonos system. Kate graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design.

 

Tucker

Tucker Severson is the Director of Product Management and leads the PM team responsible for the Sonos Apps. Tucker received his BA from Bates College and his MBA from the University of Vermont.

 

We will do our best to answer as many of your questions as possible within the 3-hour window, but we can’t promise to answer every question, especially those you know we can’t discuss.

But if we see a question repeated or a reply getting a lot of likes, don’t worry. We will prioritize those to ensure that many people get the answers they seek.

 

Remember, we can’t talk about things on the roadmap - but if you have questions or feedback about the app redesign, want to know more about our panelists, like their background or favorite band, then the sky is the (cough cough.. NDA) limit!

Thank you, everyone, for participating. We covered as many of the most asked questions as possible. We know tracking the responses wasn't as easy as we had hoped. But we wanted to let the community air frustrations and have their questions answered.

I got a lot of DMs during the AMA, and I will be sure to answer them when I can. Thanks for reaching out!

Keith and I will work on recapping all the questions and feedback we have responded to, and we will update the post here when that is complete. If we didn't get to your question, don't worry. Keith and I are grabbing all the feedback from this thread, even the things we didn't respond to, and ensuring the right people will see the message. This was the first time we created a live AMA in the community, and we learned a lot for future AMAs.

We appreciate all the feedback and questions you gave through this AMA. It helps us understand your most significant feedback and your reasoning. We hear you, and we will ensure the right teams get your feedback. They are listening.

We look forward to rolling out the updates with features (new and old) as soon as they are ready. Keith shared an overview of the timeline for expecting these features to return to the app. Today was the first update, reintroducing alarms and improving the iOS voiceover.

We look forward to seeing your reactions to our future app developments. We hope you all appreciate the work our developers are putting into making the app as fast and easy to use as possible for the general user.
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770 replies

Userlevel 7
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Is the executive leadership team joining?

Userlevel 5
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Will My Library be added back to Global search?

Userlevel 6
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What was the thought process behind releasing the app update in an obviously unfinished state, instead of waiting for critical issues to be resolved?

Userlevel 7
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Why release the app so early when so many things were incomplete?  What was the driver there?  My system is now broken most of the time and even the old app isn’t working properly.

Userlevel 5
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What was the thought launching the update in the state it was in.  Missing features, etc.

Hello and welcome everyone,

Before getting started I’d like to thank you all for RSVPing and attending. This is the first of many events going forward where members of our Community can talk directly to members of the Sonos team and learn about the development and design behind our products. Keep in mind that @Mike H and myself will be heavily monitoring this topic to ensure we keep this train on its tracks. Please keep the conversation respectful and constructive.

It’s not lost on me (or the team) that this most recent Sonos app update has caused a torrent of feedback topics here on the Community and across the web. We want to make sure you get the most out of the next three hours, so we’ve decided to focus our efforts on the questions with the most likes. Please use likes to “upvote” the question you want answered. By combining similar topics and questions, we will be able to cover more and hopefully cover the wide breadth of conversation you are looking for.

Note: Be sure to check out our most recent update to the Future Feature Update post where we will continue to update you on the road going forward.

Thank you and see you around the Community!
Keith
 

Userlevel 6
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Why was the upgrade released when it was clearly not ready, with so many features planned for later this month & June?

Userlevel 5
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Hello, thank you for hosting this AMA today.

 

As a blind person who owns 15 Sonos devices and has respected the company for its commitment to accessibility over the years, I am appalled by the way it has shown such disregard for accessibility.

I and many other blind people reached out to Sonos ahead of the app’s launch, and received the response that basic accessibility was in the initial release.

Fortunately, a blind tester saved access to many of our Sonos systems when he blew the whistle and spread the word that the app was not accessible at all, and that it was impossible to perform essential and basic functions. Sonos misled us, either deliberately or because they did not have actual blind people advising them on accessibility at critical stages. It is accessibility 101 that it is a non-negotiable part of an initial app’s spec, and you build it in as a foundational component of any new app.

Sonos now claims that some of the most serious defects will be corrected in the 21 May release, but hopefully the panel can understand that there are a lot of blind people who can’t trust Sonos anymore. Given that Sonos got it so horribly wrong with this current release, why should we expect anything better in the next?

Will Sonos offer an apology to its blind users and accept that it got this wrong, and will Sonos commit to creating a Chief Accessibility Officer as a tangible commitment to ensuring this never happens again?

Userlevel 7
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Do you think it’s fair to put you in front of this crowd?

Userlevel 5
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Are you really proud of this release?

Userlevel 5
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Will we see numbers re-added to the volume adjusters or is Sonos sticking with this UI decision?

Userlevel 6
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Where is the link to the AMA session?

Userlevel 5
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The new app left me without my carefully curated URL-based internet radio favorites. How is this supposed to be accomplished in the new app?

Userlevel 6
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Please bring back 2 version 16.1 as an option on the download apps.

I have been having issues with the retune with truplay it stops at eye level for tv to hear sound from arc

Userlevel 4
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I noticed that the re-introduction of alarms actually required an update to Sonos devices as well as the app today. Does this mean that the new UI revamp was in fact much more than just a revamp to the UI? Are there currently bigger changes happening on the device side as well?

Userlevel 3

When will the Pandora Modes feature return? 

Userlevel 6
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Why did you not warm users of missing functionality before pushing the upgrade?  Being feature-poor, why not make it an opt-in?

Userlevel 7
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What steps were taken to determine the impact on your customers of releasing an incomplete update?

Userlevel 4
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Is there a specific plan for a widget / lock screen controls on iOS?

 

Userlevel 5
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Hi AMA team!
I almost always use my Sonos devices in groups, and with the new app, handling of group volumes is worse. Not only does it not change in real-time like the former app, you end up with a UI pop-up on top of the volume slider I am using to adjust the volume. See the video below of before and after. Will this be fixed in a future app update? 
New app:

 

Old App:
 

 

Userlevel 5
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why have you release something that clearly isn’t finished, full of bugs and gives a  terrible user experience?

Userlevel 5
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It has been reported that beta testers questioned many of the features that were left out and also reported many issues and that these were not addressed in the beta testing. 

And that the missing features would be added in the future.   

And that there was feedback from the testers that this was not acceptable.   

Why were the beta testers ignored in their honest feedback? 

And they were never given a reason as to why the PUSH to get the halfbaked app published. 

 

Also WHY was the new app NOT released as a BETA to any user and the S2 app continued for those (especially iOS users) to continue to use if they chose?

Userlevel 2
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Has anyone tested if the new app is able to correctly display the queue position of the currently playing track if there are 381 tracks in the play queue? Or will it always display "Unable to find current track." if the user has not scrolled to that part of the queue in the UI previously?

 

Does the app shuffle all the tracks of a 300+ track play queue or e.g. just the first 100 tracks?

Userlevel 3

How do I explain the missing features to my wife? Specially the increased latency, increased disconnects?