Lithys 2014: Sony Europe - Lithium Platform Innovator

Lithys 2014: Sony Europe - Lithium Platform Innovator

Company: Sony Europe Ltd. Sony logo.png

Entry submitted by: Nico Henderijckx (tweety2b) European Forum & Community Manager

Community: Sony Community (

Lithy category: Lithium Platform Innovator


Brief Company Info:

Sony is one of the world’s leading companies in consumer electronics and entertainment offering state-of-the-art and innovative products, movies, music and much more. With our products and services we provide an incredible entertainment experience for our customers.


In June 2013, we successfully migrated our 12 year-old existing European Sony Electronics forum to Lithium, which is active in 9 languages in 34 different countries.



When we decided to pursue migration to Lithium, our main goal was to create a community, where people do not only talk about their technical problems, but also engage with the rest of the community in their passions by reviewing user-generated content, company generated blogs as well as tutorials and workshops to help them get more out of their products and our services.


We aspired to provide a platform where our huge fan base of photo enthusiasts could share their content in galleries participating in monthly photo competitions. In doing so, we could help them increase their photography skills by providing workshops and tutorials as well as our excellent master classes moderated by Sony World Photography Awards winners.

We wanted to keep the community simple and clear, while being easy to navigate. In this context, we radically reduced the number of different boards, and provided an overview on our homepage to help users navigate.


Lithium has provided a robust platform with flexibility to adapt and measure our strategic goals via different content types, developer tools and metrics. Thanks to this flexibility, we were able to create a compelling photo gallery, full integration with other Sony websites and a simple design that follows Sony brand DNA.


The biggest innovation we brought was to re-purpose the whole contest module and use it as a photo/ wallpaper gallery. We really forced the limits of the module to have the most compelling look while following brand DNA. The same module is also used to run monthly Sony World Photography Award competitions which add around 2000-4000 photo submissions per month from users in 15 countries.


Gallery integration on homepage, achieved by REST API calls to retrieve recent contest entries:


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The galleries incorporate a slideshow function, display the EXIF image information and let users access the original image file. Images can easily be managed on user profile pages where album functionality has been integrated. Finally, small customizations have been added to improve user experience, like adapting “new entry” buttons based on what users want to submit: a photo, wallpaper or a board post.



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Data display of image detail:


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Gallery entries:


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Photo detail view:


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We create a single competition each month that is referenced from multiple language communities. We adapt the page language of this competition page depending on the country user’s are accessing it from.


Display of SWPA Competition based on language ( English version):


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Display of SWPA Competition based on language ( German version):


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In addition to the photo gallery, Lithium is now fully integrated into our web presence, by sharing the same navigation, authentication and search functionality. This way, we can display the same header/footer navigation in different sites, which also has an integrated central authentication system. When a user is logged in in our marketing site, we also authenticate him in community, and retrieve its user details to welcome her in community header. 


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Search on our global website shows results from our community as well and customers can directly access our community to discuss with other customers. This is achieved by REST API calls to the related language community, incorporating the search term. As a result, we retrieve number of results in community and the first 3 results to display in an overview page to our users. Also support website is linked to our community by targeted REST APIs to give customers the best experience when looking for solutions. Here, we adapt the REST APIs based on product model and product category, to ensure users get the most relevant data as result.


Search on Global site with links to community search results:


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Support Webpage, giving link to community results in each product support page:


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We have simplified the navigation, pages and community structure, hence helping users to find their topics of interest much faster. The big and present search bar helps users to find related content as easy as on Google. By removing the right hand elements and moving them to the bottom of the page we focus clearly on the main message of the page such as banners, galleries and boards.


The new community is a big success!

With 7,126,596 searches per month and 6,745 posts for 1,441 new topics, the community is thriving.


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Additional product features


Simplified navigation:


Sony screenshot of navigation.jpg


Search bar:


Sony screenshot of search bar.jpg

1 Comment
Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2014 Lithy Submission