We’re confident that you will design an integration with Sonos that will create joyful moments and enhance our mutual listeners’ lives. We use the following themes when designing at Sonos. Understanding these themes will help you create an integration that is seamless and easy to use.
Design for continuity of control
The Sonos system works in multiple rooms and can be controlled by different users using different control points.
Mom starts some music in the living room and kitchen using her iPhone. Her daughter skips a track using the hardware controls on a Sonos speaker. Dad turns the volume down in the kitchen using a wall panel control. The whole family can see the music that’s playing on the TV screen.
We call this continuity of control. This experience should happen fluidly as it’s based around the needs and flow of the family, not the requirements of the technology. In addition to providing the features of your product, you should ensure that this continuity can happen with your integration. Stay up to date with room topology and volume changes, react swiftly to user input, and ensure your screen-based interfaces present the latest metadata.
Create simple experiences
Sonos strives to create simple, easy-to-use experiences that don’t distract our users from their everyday lives.
Sonos can be controlled by different users from multiple touch points. It’s important that your integration stays up to date, clearly presents the content that’s playing, rooms in which it’s playing, and volume level at which it’s playing. This allows a user to feel in control and confident that their next action—pressing play, changing volume, or skipping a track—will have the desired effect in the home.
Response times in the Sonos system are important. We want our users to enjoy their music and content without needing to think about controlling technology. Slow response times are unsettling. They force users to take their attention away from what they care about (their music, an activity, their home life) and focus on the technology. This is particularly important for hardware control switches that provide little visual feedback.
Sonos is a system that just works, predictably and reliably. Listeners don’t want speakers to stop playing or rooms to be removed from groups unexpectedly. They also don’t like unexpected volume changes.
Setup should be quick, clear and direct. If possible, reduce the number of steps in a set up flow, but don’t do this by cramming more information into each step. A series of simple, clear steps is easier for a user to navigate successfully than fewer steps requiring a lot of reading. Likewise, avoid long explanations about how the technology works. Focus instead on a quick, efficient setup.
While some experiences, such as music discovery, can be rich and immersive, other interactions should be brief and effortless. Changing the volume or skipping a track should require few steps, and minimal distraction from everyday life.
Be user focused
Keep in mind that households are typically made up of different types of users with varying degrees of technical interest or know-how. Users will be interested in getting easy access to the capability or experience your product provides. Don’t assume that they are interested in the underlying technology or want to spend time researching and learning.
Make sure that you test your integration with different types of users. Don’t rely on your own experience to decide if something is easy to use. Remember, you and your team will have a far deeper knowledge about your own product and how to use it than an average user.
Respect the music
Sound is the most important thing.
Let the music shine
When presenting music and content in your user interface, either to help the user to find something to play or show them what’s currently playing, let the content shine! Don’t overwhelm the presentation with excessive controls and user interface.
Minimize interruptions of the content that’s playing. Your integration might need to play audio tones for feedback or to notify the user of something. Use these tones sparingly. Remember that listeners mainly want to hear their favorite playlist, podcast, radio station, or to watch a movie or TV.
Show content source attribution
Ensure that the music content you display is correctly attributed with either a word mark or icon from the partner providing the source music. Additionally, keep album art intact. Don’t alter or overlay it with icons, controls, or logos.