Product Designer, responsible for all major deliverables - user flows, prototypes, competitive audits, internal feature audits, and UX frameworks
Interaction Designer / Project Lead, Design Lead, Client Lead, and Adobe Stakeholders
IT admins are frustrated that Adobe doesn't give them enough granular control over their organization's security needs. So they choose to build walls of security, which doesn't allow end-users to share and collaborate.
Ideally, IT admins trust the security system enough to enable sharing pathways for end-users. The security still stays intact because of intelligent automated safeguards in place. This leads to more collaboration and more cloud service adoption for Adobe's customers.
Adobe wanted to understand what features enterprise/business customers want (so that they'll feel comfortable with fewer restrictions on collaboration). We facilitated a design exercise where we gave the customers 20 features to card sort and later mapped them to Adobe's feature roadmap - leading to prioritizing the features with the blue stars.
To set ourselves and the Adobe teams up for success, we defined key project objectives for the business, the users, and the larger Adobe brand. Based on the mission and the (2) stakeholder interviews, we focused the objectives around scalability, increased engagement, smart security, transparency, collaboration, and trust.
It would be impossible to design a setting for a service if we don't know what an end-user can do because of it, so we audited about 20 services under the CC umbrella, analyzed use cases that can be potential security threats, and clustered them into UX themes like collaboration restriction, password protection, link sharing, etc. The reason we chose an Excel sheet was that the document was meant to be shared and validated with different service teams - it needed to be simple, searchable, and re-organizable.
Looking at the industry, we benchmarked leaders in enterprise admin experiences like Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox. We also analyzed some analogous experiences to understand intuitive UX patterns for settings. The benchmark parameters were navigation models, control provisioning, and documentation ease of use.
We worked with 18 key stakeholders (that's a lot) that involved PMs and Engineers, all the way to Director-level folks. The diagram shows who was involved, and what each team's roles and responsibilities were.
These were co-created with the Adobe design team. Some of them were picked from Adobe's Design System, Spectrum. Others were deliberated based on what the future of the industry can be. Consider this as a guiding checklist for our design decisions.
We then created a holistic UX cycle that represented the needs of admins and end-users. This was done to distill the user flow and get executive stakeholders aligned on our decision-making process. Basically a simplified snapshot of the ideal experience that helps tell the story on a 10,000ft level.
How these frameworks would manifest in the workflows is shown as the user lifecycle management, meaning from onboarding to departure from the company. We wanted to focus on the middle part - secure collaboration. How this framework drives the experience is top-down where IT admin provisions certain services through granular controls, and bottom-up by end-users promoting product-led adoption.
Adobe had provided us with a lot of features in the pipeline, and it was challenging to prioritize them without getting bogged down in the details of effort and execution. So we decided to use the (1) CAB learnings as a guiding metric to evaluate the desirability of the features which eventually led to the top 3 features we would design for, within the project’s current scope. Remember the blue stars? They came in handy for this part.
Here are some of the notes and snapshots from my process (learning -> SME -> brainstorming) before getting to a high-fidelity prototype that walks us through the experience from the eyes of the admin and end-users.
Here the magic starts to happen. Wendy is the owner of the marketing workspace, and her team’s needs are different - they have a high focus on collaboration. But unless William enables a workspace override for her team, she can’t personalize any of the sharing settings for her workspace. Here's a walkthrough of how that can happen.
From William's end, he wants to be sure that any sensitive information isn't being shared with the public - he creates an alert rule notifying him whenever Wendy's team shares a file as a public link. This feature helps safeguard important information while also letting end-users collaborate. Genius, right?
We took the time to define our goals, get stakeholders aligned, and established design principles to guide us. As a result, our concepts and wireframes met the key project objectives to the best of our knowledge. But here are some personal wins -
This is the project I'm most proud of - it was the most complex challenge I've encountered, covered the end-to-end process, and involved systems thinking (which I absolutely love).
One learning that I want to emphasize is the depth of benchmark/competitor analysis. I took way too much time to do it because we weren't aligned on what the ideal depth of exploration looked like. But the added extra depth I went to, came in handy when making design decisions based on how industry leaders do it.
(Yes, people do use Outlook too.)
Copyright © Hardik Kumar. All illustrations are hand-crafted (with an enormous amount of care) so please use them with credit and for educational purposes only. Thanks!
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