Cloud storage users have difficulty finding a file again after it is uploaded. The majority of my users reported that they regularly lose or forget about files.
Simplify the organization process. Focus on the most effective organizational tools and make the most basic organization processes require fewer steps.
Users wanted to be able to store photos and documents.
Users were sharing documents mainly between coworkers or classmates.
Users were dealing with documents in a desktop interface.
Most felt that simple was more important than powerful.
Most of the users I surveyed had used other cloud storage services before. I asked them questions about their experiences with other services. The responses to these two questions stood out:
After you have added a file to your cloud storage, how do you find it again?
How easy is it for you to find the file you are looking for in your cloud storage?
The combined data showed that "Filers" (those who put their files into folders) generally had a much easier time than "Searchers" (those who used email or the search function) in relocating content.
However, 0% reported using organizational tools such as tags or bookmarks, and fewer than half were putting most of their files into folders.
Users who filed their documents in folders were twice as likely to find their files again.
Analysis of user flows for onboarding, uploading an item, and organizing an item. I found that the organization process often required 3 or 4 clicks per item.
I developed two personas for this product. For the MVP, I focused more on the needs of the “Storage Focused” user to keep the project in scope.
*My researched showed my users wanted to be able to collaborate. Sharing with teams and individuals was included in the user stories, but I ended up drastically simplifying this feature to keep the project in scope for the MVP.
Now for the fun part! I sketched out a ton of different layouts for the dashboard and landing page and focused on my highest priority user stories: the signup process, uploading files, creating new documents, and organizing files.
Now that I had an idea of the structure, I began to work out the hi fidelity interface including making notes and uploading content.
In creating a moodboard for Zeehive I needed a neutral structure with a smart, snappy feel. Visual inspiration for this project came from these library photos.
The name and logo developed from a honeycomb concept representing an efficient storage system. The hexagonal logo scaled well and had the potential for fun visual motifs.
The style guide included typography, color palette, iconography, patterns, and components. With the honeycomb theme, there was a danger of the branding feeling “natural” like a food item. I chose the Michroma typeface in the word mark and the cool neutral color palette to give it a “digital” feel.
In the second round of user testing, I tested the prototype with four users and did A/B testing for specific features. The hi-fi mockups helped me work out some of the color choices, simplify the sidebar, and improve user confidence.
Losing or accidentally deleting their files
Accidentally sharing an item with the wrong person.
Clearer confirmation messages for uploading an item and the option to undo an action.
Clearer labels for where an item is filed/shared
A/B testing for the location of the icons was almost an exact 50/50 split. I opted for the bottom position even though it was a less common pattern because it left more room for expansion.
In the broadest sense, this project helped me see my process as a series of arcs. This page from my journal describes the expansion and contraction of possibilities as I asked questions, identified problems, and responded with potential solutions. Some arcs were hugely expansive in terms of generating ideas and possible directions while others were smaller and more focused on specific problems.
The prototyping stage of this project in particular opened up my understanding of the flow between mockup iterations and user tests. At the points when progress on my mockups stalled out into the land of guesswork, the feedback I got from user tests would always steer me back into a focused direction, and I could take the next leap forward.
This project got me thinking about how we organize things. The people in my house were leaving coats and bags all over the living room even though there was a closet with hangers right by the door. I put up a row of hooks and a few baskets just outside the closet and suddenly people were putting their things away.
I hypothesized that when we organize things, they don’t have to be very accurately organized in order to find them again and that might apply to our storage, too. This project would be different if the goal was storing something like financial records that relied on precision, but because my users were mostly private or small businesses, a little bit organized would be better than not organized at all. I found myself asking, where do I need hangars and where do I need hooks?