Sonos Setup and Configuration

Product Design

Brilliant Sound, Your Way.

The Sonos brand is dependent on the product setup experience in shaping the overall user journey and ownership satisfaction. However, decreasing customer satisfaction scores and increasing support calls related to the existing setup process signaled that a redesign was needed. 

My role was to oversee and drive the overhauling of the app-based setup, configuration and onboarding framework in order to seamlessly mirror the excellence of Sonos' physical products.

Process

A Validated ApproachAfter comprehensive research and evaluation, including insights from users and customer service representatives, ➀ it became clear that a complete reconstruction of the setup framework was necessary to align with modern physical product experiences.

Having conducted a competitive analysis and tested experience vision prototypes, ➁ the conclusion was that introducing more visual and interactive elements would simplify the process, increase engagement, and create a more intuitive experience, ultimately leading to higher user satisfaction.

Embracing a "Show, Don't Tell" principle, we set out to craft interactive, user journey specific ➂ touchpoints like visual product cards, interactive, animated setup tiles on the app home screen, and informative onboarding modules ➃ to guide users seamlessly through the setup, configuration and onboarding of the Sonos experience.

Challenges and DecisionsTo make the setup process as accessible as possible, we chose a card-based model experience. This approach relies on visuals and animations using 3D models to guide users through the steps.

However, to ensure compatibility across a wide range of devices, we decided against using live, in-app 3D animated setup processes and instead, we opted for pre-rendered video loops, which can be played smoothly on various hardware configurations without compromising performance or user experience.

To accelerate development, we used Google's Flutter framework, which allowed us to write code once and deploy on both Android and iOS. However, we had to balance the benefits against the drawback of introducing more external dependencies into our codebase and the non-native nature of the framework.

➀ Competitive analysis, NPS decline data and Product Setup user studies
➁ Initial prototype and "Show, Don't Tell" approach visualizations
➂ Customer user journeys and "Moments of Truth" used to anchor the experience
➃ From line art to 3D, animated instruction, 3D production pipeline, animation specs
➄ Card surfaces, addressing setup, configuration and onboarding instruction needs

System AssemblySecondary setup workflows like music services, speaker bonding and grouping, voice control ➇ and a content management system for externally generated help content, all had to be accounted for designed and assembled into one smooth, controlled experience.

Detailed 3D renderings, precise animation timing, and loop configurations were produced to visually guide users through all configuration steps for Sonos' entire product lineup.

The design system principles and process documentation were compiled into a New Product Introduction playbook to ensure reliable execution with each future product release.

➅ Documentation and UI build specifications
➆ Logic flow documentation — Used in the build and QA processes
➇ Secondary setups (Voice Services, Music Services, Bonding, Grouping) — Sonos Voice Control setup and configuration
➈ Final screens and functionality

TakeawaysThe project accomplished the strategic goals for a best-in-class setup experience: fast, intuitive and easy to understand, supportive of all current and forthcoming Sonos products ➈.

The user-feedback reinforced the solution we set out to deliver: a visually engaging, delightful and simple system, tailored to the audience's contextually specific needs.

Outcomes

Simplified User Interactions

Improved user experience and setup and configuration flow; complexity greatly reduced, from 14 taps down to 4 taps for setup completion.

Increased NPS

3% NPS increase for the new setup and config. framework launch month

Increased Reliability

System reliability, increase from 87% for the old framework, to 82% for Alpha, and 89% for Beta months. 92% reliability rating achieved during the GA month for 2,018,841 setups and resets.

Press

Tech Radar

"If you’re a Sonos owner, you don’t need me to tell you how easy it is to set up the company’s wireless speakers. A few taps in the Sonos app, a few button presses on the speaker, and less than two minutes later, you’re done.

But with the Roam, Sonos has simplified this process even further. No buttons to press and no passwords to enter. Every tech product should be this easy to configure."

BGR

"As is the case with all of Sonos’s wireless speakers, setting up the Roam is quite easy. As a matter of fact, the Roam is by far the simplest Sonos speaker to set up thanks to the addition of NFC. Simply open the Sonos app, tap over to settings, launch the function to add a new speaker, and the app pretty much does the rest.

The only other manual step is to tap your smartphone to the back of the Roam when the app gives you the cue. And of course, Bluetooth is even easier to set up — just turn on the speaker, hold the power button until you hear two chimes to indicate you’re in Bluetooth mode, and pair."

Tech Hive

"Setting up the Roam in my Brooklyn apartment, the Sonos app discovered the Roam almost instantly. It then prompted me to tap my iPhone on the side of the speaker between its four feet, thus allowing the devices to identify each other using their respective NFC (near-field communication) chips. It took a couple of tries for the NFC handshake to work, but once it did, the Sonos app connected the Roam to my wireless network and automatically downloaded a firmware update.

Once that was done, the Roam was ready to go, with the whole setup process taking less than five minutes."