Redd Space: File transfer. Done.
In a normal workday in a design agency like ours we transfer files between computers and devices multiple times a day. But even though we’ve come so far in terms of technology, we’ve not been able to make the simple act of transferring files easy. The one-off photos and such are never a problem, we can use email for that, even though cumbersome, but anything larger is always an issue. We’ve had to resort to using email, DropBox, Google Drive (yuck!), Slack, ShareIt, OwnCloud and when both devices are from Apple and the stars are aligned correctly, AirDrop works too.
But each technology has problems associated such as requiring the same OS, requiring the installation of apps that siphon our contacts lists, signing up for services, identifying ourselves or placing our content on third-party servers.
The closest we came to simplicity of the experience is the wonderful WeTransfer service. For those unfamiliar with the service, the interface is minimal and it requires an email address of the sender and the receiver and allows the sender to drag and drop files onto the web page. The recipient is sent a download link via email.
While this was the simplest experience it would just be tedious in an office environment. Furthermore, it stores the files on its servers. Albeit for a limited period it may be a security concern for some. And in an Indian context where broadband connections are metered, you end up using your allocated bandwidth twice — once for upload and once for download. But despite these issues WeTransfer does one thing and does it well and it became the benchmark for us when designing something that would work in offices.
We started designing Redd Space with the single sliver of a goal — to bring the simplicity of WeTransfer for office networks. So the goals of the interface were:
- Keep it simple and without requiring configuration
- Ask only for the necessary information from the user
- Make it work across devices and OS’s reliably
- Don’t try to do more than was required
What we were able to achieve finally was something that more than achieves these goals. The interface for Redd Space works like this:
- You click the bookmark in your browser on any device and get to Redd Space
- You will see all the people in your WiFi/LAN already on the page. You can drag one or multiple files or click on the recipient’s avatar to choose a file and the file transfer begins
The real magic happens in the background:
When you browse to the page, a random screen name/handle is assigned to you so you can use that to identify yourself instead of exposing your email address. A connection is set up between the two users and after that the files are directly transferred from one device to the other. The files never even leave your network, and since it doesn’t, it won’t use up your broadband bandwidth either. This fact also makes it twice as fast compared to WeTransfer as there are no upload-download roundtrips. There is no need to worry about the security of your files as it is never hosted anywhere but on your computer. And finally, since there are no storage requirements, we didn’t need to set limits on the size of the transfers either!
We loved designing and using this service. If you have such a need to transfer files yourself please feel free to bookmark http://space.redd.in and use it. Please send us your feedback by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.