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2020

File Library Redesign

Who was I

A junior UX designer at the beginning of my professional journey

Who was the work for

A 3D Printing platform called MyMiniFactory

What was the brief

To redesign the homepage

What the the brief after research

To redesign the user file library

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Brief

A new COO joined the company and decided that it’d be a great idea to redesign the homepage as it looked OLD.

Research

I contacted the customer success team and asked if they could help me find user testing participants.

 

We’ve set up 8 remote user research sessions where I gathered the current state of customer journey and experience, likes and dislikes, gripes and pain-points of the participants.

(This is where it gets interesting)

I found out that none of the users had any issues with the homepage. None of them even thought it looks bad.

However, every single one of our user testing participants signified the library as being a massive pain.

Here's what users had to say about the library
Old Library 1st quote.png
“I now have Purchased, Campaigns AND Shared with me....why can't these be all together by designer?”

User referring to the default organisation of the files - each way of file distribution (a file can be purchased from a store, shared by a designer from supporting them in external platforms or received from backing a crowdfunding campaign)

“Also let us search in our library so if I'm printing dwarves I can see what I already have on hand. That way I don't have to go the long way and search your site and see what I have bought already or go though each provider one at a time.”

The only way to search the library is using CTRL + F (horrible for usability, I know)

“Please allow additional sorting or filtering options in the "Purchases" section of the library. With MMF+ and a number of sales and patreon coupons, I'm up to 5 pages of unsorted mess.”

There are no sorting/filtering available in the library

This is where me, a junior UXer had to face a tough decision
and I chose...
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To protect the users. Not just because it’s “U” in my title stands for "user" but also because it was a more sound business decision

Library > Homepage
(as a business decision)

In order to better understand the issue, I’ve looked into our audience, their user journeys, what problems they face and what problems MyMiniFactory was solving for them. 

 

The customer base we were serving was 3D printers.

COMMON GOALS
  • Find cool stuff to print

  • Find cool people making cool stuff

  • Have an easy way to receive, store and access their 3D printable files

  • Print cool stuff

  • Enjoy and share their journey/results

And this is how their usual, big-picture, user journey works out. (This was gathered from previous user research efforts in the company)

And now, before making any conclusions, let’s look into the competition and see what they bring to the table compared to MyMinifactory.

After looking into the competitive analysis and the big-picture user journey it’s clear to see that the biggest business advantage of MyMiniFactory is the file distribution, as it’s one of the worst parts of the user journey overall for 3D printers and competitors failed to recognize this shortcoming. Therefore, having the competitive advantage being main source of User complaints is a huge business risk.

On top of all this, user library was by far the most visited page on the platform.

After presenting this to stakeholders, I hoped I explained the research findings well enough. Now, I was holding my breath to get approval to spend more time on this...
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The Process

After getting approval to gather more research in order to improve the user library I have drafted a plan.

1. Create a survey to figure out usage patterns and establish main pain-points.

2. Design a user research study based on learnt usage patterns and validate and expand on the pain-points.

3. Document and share the findings with stakeholders to get approval for potential solutions.

4. Design prototypes that address the main pain points and follows the real world usage scenarios.

5. Usability testing session to test, validate and iterate on the solutions.

6. Validate iterated prototypes with Tech and stakeholders.

7. Complete high fidelity work and hand-off to developers.

The survey

A survey was sent out and completed by over 500 users where the results came in and helped us understand:

​1. Why users usually access the library?

​a) To redeem their files from creators (84%)​​

b) To download files from the library (76%)

(More reasons were recorded but are significantly less common/important for research findings hence not noted here)

2. What sections of the library users visit most?

​a) Objects Shared with me (80%)​​

b) Purchases (65%)

(More sections were recorded but are significantly less common/important for research findings hence not noted here)

3. What tasks are users performing most often?

​a) Finding specific objects to download​​

b) Claiming rewards and checking if all the promised files are there

c) Accessing creator’s profiles from the library to find similar files

(More tasks were recorded but are significantly less common/important for research findings hence not noted here)

4. What annoys users the most?

a) The way files are organised (76%)

b) Lack of custom organisation (54%)

c) No multi file download (40%)

(More annoyances were recorded but are significantly less common/important for research findings hence not noted here)

User Testing

Using the survey findings, user research scripts have been designed and tests arranged with the core user personas (User personas have been
researched and formed as previous efforts of UX).

The goal of these initial interviews were validating the findings of the survey and digging deeper into more specific usability issues.

The main findings were foundational to understanding why users are having so much trouble with our library solution.

The conceptual model of how a file library should work in the head of a user is completely different to how MyMiniFactory library was structured
MyMiniFactory library structure

Ways a user can organise files

Ways a user can receive files

How users organise their objects
If you arranged your groceries like MyMiniFactory arranges files, you'd have to store your milk in three different places depending on where you bought it from (grocery store, milkman, or farmer's market), rather than putting it with other drinks in the fridge
How users organise their files
How MyMiniFactory organises files
How MMF organises objects.png

Other noteworthy findings

1) None of the participants were able to find a specific file in their library within reasonable time limit. (this was one of daily tasks in library)

2) Instead of trying to find an object inside of their own library, they used site’s global search to find files in the store, and then looked at search results 1 by 1 to see if they own the file by trying to download them.

3) All of participants expressed desire to be able to download multiple files or at least entire collections in one go, instead of individually downloading files.

4) 67% of participants expressed confusion with how the current file redeeming process works. If a file’s shared with me, and I have an account with y’all, you know enough to send me the email, you know
enough to just put it in my library

5) All of the participants expressed the need to filter out already downloaded files, and additionally, show updated files.

6) All participants always back up their entire library somewhere outside the platform. However, some mentioned that they won’t be able to keep backing files up if the amount of objects in their library keeps growing.

Prototyping

After sharing the research findings with stakeholders we started with prototypes. The main goal of them was to align the mental model of how files should be organised to what users already do with their files in their storage solutions (usually being external HDDs or NAS drives).

Testing

The low-fi prototypes have been set up to be able to replicate the same tasks that users were ask to perform on their live libraries. This was the main method for the second round of user testing, with goals of validating problems, testing and iterating proposed solutions.

We timed the tasks on both live website and prototype testing, and after taking out the load times of the equation we’ve received these results.

Task #1

Locate a specific object in the library

Task #2

Find files from a specific campaign and visit the campaign page

Task #3

Find a specific release from a monthly subscription