Looking back & beyond
What I learned –
Always test your assumptions
Creating this application challenged me to learn the importance of understanding user objectives. Instead of amplifying existing features and enhancing dashboard navigability within cloud storage, I had to restructure my approach to identify 1) the goals of my target audience, 2) the steps users were undergoing to meet those goals, 3) a solution that would optimize their current process. Throughout this project there were many instances where my anticipations were not the same as my users, forcing me to step back and analyze how I could craft a solution that best fit the needs of the user rather than one stemming from my own assumptions. Thus, the main problem objective of solely enhancing the discoverability of existing cloud storage products had immediately shifted when I found that users also wanted to improve their creative processes by exposing their work to a community of creative people. This realization was the key turning point that I wasn’t expecting.
Testing early & often
If I could give myself one piece of advice before starting, it would be to design less user flows early on in the design process so that I could spend that time focusing on testing just a few primary flows. You can design a solution as meticulously as possible, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing your users frustratingly fail at accomplishing tasks or insightfully delight at a key interaction to reiterate the importance and inevitability of testing.
Additions beyond the MVP
If I had more time, I would integrate three key features — notes, chat and advanced search capabilities to allow users to create more types of content quickly, engage even further with their community, and find information through visual and suggested search terms.
Designing this solution taught me so much about people, their expectations, and how small changes to even smaller interactions matter. I learned how to empathize and understand the impact that a product can have on a person’s mood when you focus on solving their problems. And in return, it’s amazing how helping my users gleaned a new, humbling perspective on my own goal — designing products that positively impact and serve the greater good. I came to the conclusion that if I can set out to help a person come up with an idea that has the potential to make a tiny fragment of our world a better place, then I have set out to help accomplish something magical and momentous indeed.