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Week 56 — Balancing Design Decisions and Development Effort


Last week, we shared the new design and functions for the repository feature. As part of the design process, we tested the design with superuser Merci Marcel to unearth and resolve any potential friction points before development.

To recap, the redesigned repository feature will allow for multiple file uploads at a go, folders for categorisation, and across the board provision of permissions to workspaces and teams. We’re pleased to learn that Group Quality and Training Manager Jessica found the new design intuitive, and felt that the experience was on par with the file storage application that Merci Marcel is currently using.

We are ever so thankful for Merci Marcel and Jessica for taking time out to share their feedback and concerns.

A comment (non-verbatim) that Jessica made during the sharing stood out to us:

“The design is intuitive and straightforward. It makes sense and is similar to how things work for the product that we are using now.”

The comment came as a great relief and reinforced the design decisions that we undertook in the process of revamping the repository feature.

Our hearts did a little happy dance when Jessica expressed that she was pleased with the new design!

Design is an iterative process that involves multiple stakeholders, one of whom is the development team. When going through the first design of the revamped repository feature with the tech team, they raised concerns that it deviated from the set template of other features. The tech team rationalised the sticking to the old template, stating that it would take less effort and man days to build.

While the design team and tech team sometimes have conflicting interests, we always keep in mind the common goal of creating a product that adds value to users!

Indeed, the new design did not follow the convention of having tabs that would lead to separate pages for the uploading and editing of files. Instead, we’ve replaced the tabs with an action button (hitherto not seen in other features) that allows users to swiftly upload files and create folders, and heavily utilised modals so users can perform actions while remaining on the same page.

Existing features’ template design involves usage of tabs that guides users to different pages where specific action can be undertaken
The first iteration of the new design eschews the existing page template, but for good reason
Usage of modals in the new design allows users to remain on the same page while performing essential tasks

These design decisions were not plucked out of thin air, but were implemented after careful competitive research, study, and analysis of top file storage products in the market. The reason for deviation from the set template stems from the fact that the nature of the repository feature (file storage) is dissimilar to that of other features (posting of announcements or tasks that require the filling out of input fields).

While file storage is not DayOne’s main feature, it was nevertheless important that the repository replicates the butter smooth user experience of file storage products in the market. Good user experience would emcourage and facilitate our users in making a complete transition of handling all business related matters from the file storage app that they are currently using to our app.

User experience that is smooth like butter maketh a good product!

After taking a weekend to muse on the technical considerations, we decided that it was essential to stay true to the essence of the initial design, so the user task flows would be similar to that of existing file storage product market leaders’. It was essential as the similarity would bring about familiarity, which then translates to ease of use and a better user experience of our repository feature.

The revised design based on tech requirements would have resulted in a very different user experience due to altered user task flow.

Of course, a compromise was struck between the UX designer and the tech team. The existing template of utilising tabs was weaved into the final iteration of the design, as changing the page structure would have an adverse downstream impact on the responsive design, should users access the feature on a tablet or mobile device.

However, instead of the tabs leading to separate pages, clicking on the tab buttons would instead open up modals for the various functions, and users remain on the same page after carrying out whatever task they had set out to complete. This compromise allows for the integrity of the flow to be retained and preserves the user experience of the very first design, albeit a slight deviation in the user interface.

Final design did away with the action button and instead stuck to tab buttons, but still utilises modals and allows for the integrity of the initial task flow design to be retained

Outstanding design does not necessarily involve the reinvention of the wheel. In this case, it was more effective to adhere to familiar conventions of file storage, as these conventions allow users to accomplish their goals in the simplest and most frictionless way possible.

Reinventing the wheel does not always bring about better results; sometimes sticking to conventions may just be the easier (and more desirable) solution.

We hope this sharing provides insight into our product development workflow. As always, do let us know if you have any thoughts on our sharing, or feedback on how we can improve our product!

People we’re thankful for this week

This week, we spoke to Emilia, Brennan, and Jake from Wine Connection on how they can utilise DayOne in their day-to-day operations.

We’re also grateful to Alvin from iFood for sharing invaluable advice on navigating the F&B industry, and dropping nuggets of wisdom on startup operations.

Until next week!



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