Iterative rounds of research to uncover user behavior, test concepts for MVP, and evaluate user flows.
Research Objectives
Personal cloud in itself is a collection of digital content accessible from any device. However, having designated Collections within a personal cloud app can provide many values to the likes of placing content of all data types in one place to share and collaborate with others.
With the feature already existent with needs for improvement, research was necessary to gather user feedback and insights. To execute, we needed to learn about our users' sentiments and behavior, followed by iterative testing for usability improvement.
Phase One
The first phase involved the exploration of existing use cases of personal cloud services, assessing user understanding and expectations of collections, followed by evaluating user preferences between collections and albums.
Phase Two
The next phase warranted testing the interactions and flows to see if the steps to complete tasks made sense to users. Content organizing, renaming, and favoriting collections were in need for evaluation.
Phase Three
With continued testing planned, we sought to learn more about user behaviors exploration through use cases of personal cloud services. Re-assessing user understanding of collections and comparisons to standard albums was identified as a primary research goal. This was followed by the evaluation of user expectations and feedback for collections creation and sharing.
One method that was applicable to accomplish our research goals was in-depth interviewing, particularly for the exploration and feedback stages. With our data needs being more qualitative in format, I also conducted repeated usability studies to identify issues and improve the experience. This was important to evaluate the user experience of the concept and feature.
In collaboration with Analytics and Marketing, I was able to determine the need to test with two distinct age groups representing ages 18 to 39 and 40 to 69. The reason for this was that we needed to understand perceptual and sentiment differences between the two groups who widely represent our user base.
For the interviews and usability tests, I targeted initial sample sizes of 12 per segment. This was determined based on the research goals, target audience, and understanding that the number can be increased or decreased based on continued analysis of data. When I reached the point of diminishing returns in findings, I halted the increase in testing with more participants.
Findings & Implications
The collections concept was not perplexing to cloud users. Participants easily understood the concept of collections and saw value in grouping together all data classes.
Collections and Albums
The participants preferred collections over albums for ease-of-use and overall comprehensiveness. Participants found Collections and Albums to be distinct and needed for dual presence.
Collections were seen as useful to capture experiences and events at a point in time, meaning special moments to create memories.
Collections were also preferred for organization and sharing of photos, videos, and documents. On the other hand, albums were preferred as the default area to store photos and videos.
Flow Evaluation
All participants successfully completed the task of creating and favoriting a collection. Add Content and Create Collections flows were not easy for participants to understand. They become perplexed with the concept of creating an album within an album, collection within a collection, and across collections and albums.
Participants thought it made sense to create albums by default, and then create collections by adding pictures and videos from the album, in addition to audio and docs, if needed.
To rename collections, participants tended to select the name of the collection instead of the dropdown option available, and reordering content was deferred to the use of the sorting and filtering feature.
Impact & Reflection
Through this research, I was able to identify critical user needs, expectations, and behaviors of our targeted population.
I helped the designers, developers, and product teams to create useful feature experiences, by classifying user pain points and motivations, and recommending change to make the feature more intuitive and easy to use.
Being able to guide product development through this research, this led to the development and refinement of collections for a unified and satisfying experience.

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