Clarifying Link Settings

Clarifying Link Settings

Dropbox Sharing, February 2019 - March 2019

This project clarified the value of additional link settings to our existing professional users. The team involved two web engineers, a writer, a researcher, a product analyst, and a product manager. We worked hand in hand to uncover the opportunity, user problems, high level flow, visual design, and copy of this feature.



Dropbox had recently introduced a new link model and part of that meant designing a new link settings page to accommodate things such as password protection, expiration dates, and audience permissions. Specifically, two main changes from this link model included:
  1. The ability to scale to more than one link 
  • example: There are two different links (view access and edit access) with their own unique settings that we needed to combine into a single view
  1. Universally updating changes to settings to all users
  1. example: Previously, each individual would create their own unique link that would become obsolete if the users account was lost)

Auditing the current experience

Before moving forward with revamping this settings page, I worked with research to complete an audit of the current implementation to discover what was and wasn’t working.

In interviewing a total of 8 Dropbox users in-person over the course of half a day, we discovered the following insights about the current implementation:
  • Overly chaotic interface led to decision paralysis and passing over functionality users were otherwise looking for
  • Most functionality was already understood without the subtext
  • Switch components combined with conflicting text led to confusion.
  • Feedback was unclear. After a user changed a setting, they wanted to be certain of the change and the current solution did not offer feedback indicating saved changes.
  • Interpretation of what they expected these features to do did not align with what they actually did

Design explorations

With this, I began exploring a few directions focused on the following goals:
  1. Clarifying that there was now two links available rather than just one
  1. Stating a new, universal behavior of changes to these link settings

Showing the user that there was more than one link setting

With the first goal, a few of the directions I landed on followed:

A: Separate tabs
B: Two cards
C: Two cards - list
D: Full Copy
  • Offers substantial information to user
  • Users are already familiar with the current model
  • Good use of real estate (clearly shows two different links)
  • Clearly separates out audience and extra functionality (password, expiry…etc.)
  • Good use of real estate (clearly shows two different links)
  • Clearly depicts what the user is given
  • Good use of real estate (clearly shows two different links)
  • Align with what user currently sees in the main share screen
  • Hard to identify beyond the first link
  • Ability to change settings are hidden under the dropbox
  • Ability to change settings are hidden under the dropbox
  • Possible concerns with the understandability of grid view and dropdown combination
  • Potentially unscalable to desktop experience
  • Separation of two links gets lost with icons and alignment
  • Second link gets a little lost amidst an entire list of things
  • Settings aren’t at the forefront
  • Possibly out of scope do to use of dynamic text
With these, I again brought them into testing with 8 new Dropbox users and worked with research to uncover what was working with these current iterations and what wasn’t. We uncovered that:
  • The compactness was nice, however, even showing half of the second card was enough to differentiate two different links
  • Subtext was not necessary and functionality still made sense
  • Icons were useful in understanding what each setting did, but made scanning the page difficult