Online file sharing has grown in complexity over the years…. Businesses and organizations now require many different ways in which they can distribute and provide access to their branded content and marketing assets. Sharing is a constant throughout every aspect of business operations.
We are operating in the age of real-time transparency; a dynamic change from the old hierarchal, departmental hoarding of information. Re-use of information is the driving force of digital asset management; it increases return on investment for all created assets. Thinking beyond online file sharing, a DAM platform helps synchronize distributed teams and departments, promotes brand consistency and helps facilitate real-time interaction with your customers.
As online file sharing needs evolved over time the sharing functions evolved as isolated items layered within our application; surfacing without continuity and context to the greater application and overall file sharing experience. As a result, capabilities became buried and the value of these functions shifted or were compromised. Time for a redesign.
Understanding the problem
We dedicated time over the past couple months to perform a heuristic evaluation of our product. Everything kicked off with an onsite team meeting over several days to understand and explore opportunities within our application (more on this in a later post…)
The key first step when approaching a problem that needs solving is to take a step-back to understand the ‘As-Is’ experience. Evaluate all the pieces of the application that have been built over the years and map out how they interact and talk to each other: what values do they provide, for who and in what circumstances.
Through this process of auditing our application and our users interactions we realized that we wanted to focus our efforts on strengthening our core foundation; first up, Distributing Assets (aka Sharing Files). We specifically examined this process, and asked questions around how are people sharing content today? What steps they are taking? What are the pain-points within these workflows?
Two really important insights came through:
We have built some powerful tools that allow people to share content in many ways.
• Over the years these methods had become hidden and spread across too many parts of the site. They were not consistent and disjointed.
• Our goal then was to consolidate these experiences into one seamless flow for ease-of-use and to highlight the power and diversity of sharing opportunities.
Interview current users
Understanding how our intimate knowledge of our application may yield a myopic approach we leveraged our community of users to better understand the problems and needs from their point-of-view.
We found that our original hypothesis aligned with our users current needs (this doesn’t always happen) and they surfaced new insights for us to incorporate.
…we don’t do this to ‘validate’ our ideas, we do this to ‘evaluate’ our ideas.
When incorporating our community of users in the design process it is important to keep in mind: we don’t do this to validate our ideas, but to evaluate our ideas. A subtle but important idea (again, more on that in a later post).
Whether you are a brand manager sharing an entire folder structure for a global product launch, a communications specialist assembling a collection of photos, videos, and press release for the media, a web team utilizing embed links to serve assets direct to an eCommerce site, or videographer sending deliverables through a shared upload link; collectively these use cases present a broad range of sharing needs.
By taking the time to step back to perform this heuristic evaluation of our application and involving our community of users we were able to greatly improve a core function of our application. Its sounds easy but when everyone is operating at the speed of need we sometimes miss the opportunity to slow down, question, and re-invent processes.
Share links of entire folder structures via email
Quickly share a collection without having to track the recipients
Convert images for web ready embed links
Receive folder links
Become a design partner
Help us design products with your experiences and opinions in mind. If this sounds interesting to you, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk further about how we can work together.
Coming Soon: Library Interface Update
If you're involved in online file sharing of marketing assets in your company or organization, you may want to understand the value of Digital Asset Management as a more strategic approach. Read our guide: The Value of Digital Asset Management.