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Senior Manager, User Research

Department: Design

Location: Santa Barbara

Req#: 2897


At Sonos we’re building a design culture focused on user experience, so understanding people’s behaviors, needs and “jobs to be done” is critical to success. We: 

•   Nurture empathy for music listeners, Sonos owners and people just learning about new “connected” technologies. 

•   Inspire and galvanize product roadmaps and design with actionable learnings generated via rigorous research and observation. 

•   Inform feature ideation, prioritization and development by identifying and answering key questions about user needs, behaviors and benefits. 

•   Build productive partnerships with designers, developers and our Beta team. 

•   Function as a foundation for exceptional, innovative and relevant products.

About You

Our band is large. And while there’s plenty of room for all kinds of personalities and skill sets to succeed, there are certain qualities that will help you thrive here.

Like a never-accept-less work ethic. An exceptionally low ego-to-talent ratio (none of the first, tons of the latter). A relentless craving to push past your limits and try new things. The smarts and the humble confidence to take on big challenges, make mistakes fast and early, embrace tough feedback, then recover quickly with fresh, startlingly perfect solutions. A fearless willingness to defend great work. And a tendency to totally geek out on music.

If this sounds like you, read on and let’s connect soon.

What You’ll Do

Senior Researcher/Usability/Operations-Minded Thinker 

The ideal candidate? An enthusiastic, senior researcher or Usability engineer ready to model, scale and diffuse best practices and learnings in a dynamic business hungry for insights. 


This role revolves around three essential work themes: 

1.   Deliver organization and clarity. Shape repeatable processes that generate data to (A) improve existing and maturing Sonos experiences, and (B) clarify next generation products for an “always connected” world. 

2.   Govern implementation. Ensure research projects and approaches are thoughtful, reliable, credible, and completed in time to ignite real change. 

3.   Evangelize and educate. Interpret results, make recommendations and help research, design and other colleagues act in ways that best benefit customers. 


Your collaborators and audiences will include: User Research teammates; all Design disciplines (Industrial Design, Packaging Design, User Experience, and Documentation); Product Management; Customer Care; Hardware and Software Development; Analytics and Customer Insights (Marketing); as well as Sonos executives and external partners.

Skills You’ll Need


(1)  Deliver organization and clarity. 

•   Deploy your extensive understanding of Usability tools to explore the use of streaming music and video content (among other topics). 

•   Articulate the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods, and facilitate testing with fellow researchers, vendors and partners. 

•   Motivate and encourage designers and developers to generate dynamic prototypes, refined interaction screens and workflows, and graphic assets for use in testing so teams can deliver useable and relevant products. Hold team accountable to deliverable deadlines. 

(2)  Govern implementation. 

•   Formulate and manage research projects with colleagues and vendors. 

•   Adapt, implement and use leading and emergent tools and models to surface new insights and examine hypotheses; Usability tests, A/B optimizations, etc. 

•   Establish standard procedures to track progress and coordinate vendor and colleague activities, including development of moderator guides, recruiting participants and arranging related logistics. 

(3) Evangelize and educate. 

•   Ensure research findings and test data are quickly cataloged and disseminated to the right internal partners. 

•   Routinely expose colleagues to user needs through participation in fieldwork and testing. Ignite creativity and brainstorm sessions to spread findings throughout team and company. 

•   Provide necessary tools and training to effectively frame work around a rich understanding of the customer. 

•   Look for persistent themes apparent across research studies, and alert us to bigger issues that could trigger new work to undertaken.

How to Audition
REQUIREMENTS. • Curiosity, flexibility and nimbleness, coupled with pragmatism. • Highly organized, disciplined and detail-oriented, yet comfortable multitasking in a dynamic environment with cross-functional teams across time zones. • Strong command of Usability tools and methods, as well as project management and interpersonal communication skills. • A start-up mentality and love of music! • Proven history of employing research findings to help organizations make informed calls regarding product experience. • Bachelor and/or Master’s Degree. Relevant fields of study include Anthropology, Cognitive Psychology, Human Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Interaction Design, or similar. • Minimum 8 years of work in user research and/or Usability; at least 3 years at a senior or manager level. You ran programs, analyzed data and conveyed illuminating insights about HARDWARE, SOFTWARE and MOBILE experiences. Past projects include focus group and/or lab-based testing. Ethnographic fieldwork and longitudinal programs such as diary studies a plus. • Job based in Santa Barbara, CA or Boston, MA. Must be willing and able to travel in U.S. and abroad (15-20% of time). • We’re big fans of authors such as Don Norman (“The Design of Everyday Things”) and Clayton Christensen (“Marketing Malpractice” in the Harvard Business Review). They inspire our work, so such readings are recommended for our teammates.
More About Our Band

In 2002, we set out to reinvent home audio for the digital age. Our mission–to fill every home with amazing sounding music. Yes, it was an ambitious goal. Challenging, too. And that hasn’t changed.

Since those early days, we’ve remained tirelessly focused on finding innovative ways to make listening out loud, with friends and loved ones, the truly transformative experience it should be. We’ve seen our vision capture the imaginations of music lovers in more than 60 countries, as we’ve continued to introduce products, software, and technologies that help people share the songs they love, discover new music they never knew existed, and experience richer, more musical lives.

At Sonos, we are building a team with extraordinary talent to help us fill every home with music. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or Veteran status.