Curious about product design at Dropbox? Here’s a look at tools we use for solving problems, making decisions, and communicating ideas.

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Artwork by Charlotte Ratel

A few years ago, I was getting ready to present some new designs to a few executives for review. The research was thorough. The interactions were thoughtful. The pixels were polished.

But as I started to explain our team’s design direction, things went south. People were slightly confused and weren’t sure how we were making decisions. Ultimately, they had a hard time buying in, and it was all on me.

After the review, I realized that:

  • I hadn’t shown how we solved the problem
  • I hadn’t created a clear decision framework
  • I hadn’t crafted a narrative around our solution

Turns out, there’s a lot more to being a designer than designing. …

The beginning of a new project is the best and also the worst. You know how it is; a blank page/artboard is staring you in the face but how do you jumpstart things?

Recently, we were at the beginning of designing a new iOS app. After some initial user interviews and market research we realized there were a lot of decisions to make, and a lot of routes we could take. So to get kicked off, we decided to sketch as a team for 30 minutes everyday for 2 weeks.

Here are some tips from our exercise.

1. Start With Everyone, and Start With a Problem

Start with this truth: You probably don’t have all of the best solutions.

What happens when you get your prototype in the hands of the top athletes at the Nike Football Combine?

That was the question on my mind and the minds of our team at Hudl.

We’re in the early prototyping stages of a new app and we have a lot of questions that we need answered.

So I packed up our prototype and took it to the Nike Combine at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, an event where thousands of high school football athletes come every year to get tested in 4 athletic events(40 yard dash, shuttle, poweball toss, and vertical).

After nearly 40 back-to-back user tests+interviews, I could practically predict how the next test would go. …


Wes O'Haire

Product Designer at @Dropbox. Tweetin’ at @wesohaire

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