Along with gas, water and electricity, high-speed broadband has become the new utility for modern homes. It’s now an everyday essential we rely on for business, entertainment and communication. So in order to provide its customers with the best possible home broadband experience, Telefónica launched a new smart router in December 2016 to provide high speed connectivity all around the home.

Following Fjord’s work on Telefónica’s customer service e-Care app, we were asked to work on the design and build of an accompanying app for this new router – an app that could put customers fully in control of their home network, with the added benefit of reducing the number of calls into Telefónica’s call centers.


In Discovery, the first phase of the project, which is key to everything we do, we interviewed stakeholders throughout the business (particularly in Customer Service and Technical Support), listened in on customer service calls and then followed up with more in-depth interviews with customers who made frequent calls to customer services.

From this research we were particularly keen to understand the issues and pain points affecting households connecting multiple devices to a network, and we unearthed some very interesting insights:

  • Many people felt no sense of control over their home network – they had no idea who was using it or how private it was. Many even had a real sense of fear over other people accessing their network without their permission.
  • Most people we spoke to were unclear about their network speeds and the factors that could affect it.
  • Many people who spoke to Telefónica’s technical team didn’t have enough technical knowledge to clearly explain their issue, causing confusion on both sides and a poor customer experience.
  • A lot of parents were worried about internet safety and wanted an easy way to block certain sites or control access.
  • Interestingly, the idea of sharing WiFi passwords came up as a problem, too. This was particularly true for families with teenage kids, who seem to have unending groups of new friends around to visit. Parents felt uncomfortable with family passwords being given out on a regular basis to people they may never see again.

These insights began to form the basis for the app’s functionality. And by using these insights as our guiding light, we knew we’d be building a truly user-focused app.

Putting the customer in control

The starting point was to make customers feel in control of their network. So we designed a simple interface to show all the different devices connected at any moment in time. You can now block certain users if you want to and adjust your privacy settings, account details and parental controls quickly and easily.

Getting the customer up to speed

Just as importantly, we put the user in control of their network speeds. This is partly about education, giving people tips to help increase their WiFi speed, such as the placement of the router. But it’s also about giving them the tools to personalize their network for their household.

We discovered from the technical teams that most people underestimated, or simply didn’t know, how many devices were connected to their network. By showing them which devices are connected, and giving them the tools to optimize the network for those devices (be it laptops, phones or tablets etc.), we can radically improve their experience.

Talking techy

To combat the issue of confusing calls into customer service, we developed a simple messaging function. Any customer suffering from technical problems can send an automated message from the app, straight to Telefónica’s technical team. This message will be based on diagnostics run by the app, so the customer service team will know the problem before the customer even calls. It’s going to save a huge amount of time and frustration on both sides!

“What’s your password?”

The other major piece of functionality we designed was a visitor password, for those houses with a revolving door of random teenagers. It allows the parents to give temporary WiFi passwords out to guests, which will expire after a certain period of time. At the same time, the app keeps your own personal password in a safe place so you never lose it.

Keeping complexity at bay

Once this core functionality had been decided we moved into the design phase, looking at how best to present the information and services available. We knew the app had to appeal to a non-technical audience, so while it contained a huge amount of technical capability, this needed to be hidden from the user. The result is a simple, clean interface based entirely around the user’s core needs, which is easy to navigate even for technophobes.


As much as this is a story about user-focused design, it’s also about the importance of collaboration. It’s one thing to be able to design an app of this nature and another to be able to deliver it for an organization the size of Telefónica.

To be successful, we knew we couldn’t lock ourselves away, work in isolation and present a finished solution 12 weeks later. It was critical that all the relevant departments within Telefónica had a chance to input from the beginning and felt ownership over the project right to the end.

We also needed technical knowledge from our partners at Accenture Interactive when it came to the build phase, so we involved everyone from day one, running workshops and scrum sessions to get everyone’s ideas, insights and experience built into our thinking from the start.

It’s too early to see the results in customer satisfaction surveys and reduced call volumes, but plans are now in place to roll out the app in a number of different territories around the world. That sounds like a satisfied client to us.

The service has won a Genio Big Award 2018 for ‘best product and service design innovation’.