Bokus Play -
defeating limitations to create a leading audio book experience

  • BBH x Bokus
  • 2017 - 2020
  • Design and Innovation partner

Fighting dragons is tough when you are small. You need a good plan executed with speed and precision. A scenario that Swedish book retailer Bokus found themselves in when they decided to enter the audio book market in 2017.

The challenge

Understanding that competing on catalogue volume would be a failure, Bokus was forced to come up with a new game play to build preference amongst their audience. This is where BBH Stockholm entered the story.

Our aim was set on contextual accessibility of content and we developed a smart technology suite to filter and search audio books. Powered by natural language processing (NLP) we used machine learning protocols to fill the gaps where publisher data was missing - creating a super fast and personalised browsing experience.

To bring in the human touch, we created editorial content modules that were filled with tips and reviews from trusted critics. Giving the user relevant inspiration in an instant - no loading time required.

Realising the complexity of their challenge, Bokus reached out to BBH Stockholm and together we defined what the ultimate Bokus Play experience should be - then we got our hands dirty.

Working with a One Team approach in rapid and clearly defined sprints, the service experience started to emerge.

Making sure that listeners could experience the service on their terms was another game changer. We made this possible by developing advanced auditorial recognition to power the audio wave engine - a smart visual interface element in the player that allows the listener to precision scrub to the exact beginning of a sentence.

This is just a subset of smart features in Bokus Play but it summarises the importance designing a unique user experience to build commercial success.

The result

Despite launching with a smaller catalogue of content the Bokus Play apps for both iOS and Android have swiftly become among the highest rated apps in the audiobook category, with a steady growth of users. A living proof of how to create success despite budget and assortment limitations.


  • Strategy

  • Business model innovation

  • Brand strategy

  • Data strategy

  • Technical strategy

  • Design

  • User experience

  • Service design

  • Engineering

  • System architecture

  • Back-end development

Want to know more?