Reimagine Personal File Organization on Mobile with O-Space


In this project, our team of four worked with Dropbox, a cloud file hosting service, to explore the current user experience of managing files across multiple devices. Rather than investigating existing Dropbox products, we focused on exploring new possibilities on what personal file management on mobile could look like in hopes of better informing Dropbox’s future design decisions. We wanted to bring users a more streamlined file organizing experience, so they can focus on work that matters.

Our final design is O-Space, a mobile app add-on to file hosting services that allows users to organize their files on mobile with ease. Our design won the 2021 HCDE Capstone Best Research Award and is filed by Dropbox as a pending patent application.

Duration: 8-week work time over a 4-month period

Team: Jennifer Lukban, Mahlet Tiruneh, Sharon Wong

Mentors: Meghan Mills (Senior User Researcher), Paolo Ertreo (Product Design Manager)

Tools: Figma, Miro, Adobe CC (Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects)

My Role

Project Presentation Lead

Collaborating with prior project managers and designers from Dropbox, I led my group to design visual materials for the final capstone showcase with more than 100 audiences, and coordinated with Dropbox for an internal-facing magazine interview.

User Researcher

Based on literature and company report reviews, I brainstormed design goals and possible design directions. After designing and structuring user interviews and concept testing materials, I moderated 3 user interviews and concept testings each, and participated in the affinity diagramming and thematic analysis of both data sets.

UX Designer

Aside from participating in the design of drag and drop features, I led ideation and prototyping of the file location mapping feature, as well as detailed file previewing and editing interactions. I also coordinated standards of UI elements design across team to present a more consistent final product.

The Problem

In a multi-device ecosystem, file management on mobile leaves the most room for opportunity. Mobile devices often limit user's view of items to a single folder or location at a time, thus making file management a complicated process and inconsistent across devices.

Improving the file management experience on mobile means improving the file management experience as a whole for users, and creates more possibilities and flexibilities in usage context.

Our target users are individuals between the ages of 25 and 65 that store and organize their personal files using two or more devices.

High-level Research Question

How might we improve the user experience of managing files across multiple devices?

The Solution

Based on our research insights, we concluded that: To motivate and enable users to better manage their digital files, users should be given the tools to prioritize, locate, and organize their files effortlessly and intuitively.

Our design solution, O-Space, gives the users the ability to curate files and folders for drag-n-drop organizing, to visually locate their files, and to schedule an organization session — all on their mobile devices.

In the next section, I will walk through our research, design, and testing process. You can also directly view our final design here:

Design Process

For this senior capstone project, I followed the User Centered Design process over the span of 14 weeks. During the process, we conducted secondary research, user interviews, design sprints, and concept testings. This process resulted in a high-fidelity prototype of O-Space, a mobile add-on that helps users organize their files on the fly.