Cobalt

Enabling design teams to create and share work their way.
Overview
We are excited about the possibilities in the cloud storage and organization market. Even with all of big-name competitors in the space we feel that market is still young that there was room for another player.

Role: UX/UI | Content Strategy | UX Writing | Publishing

Duration: 8 weeks
Problem
The client wants to enter into the cloud storage and organization market. They are looking to create an app that will be a collaborative tool that allows users to create, share and save content.
Solution
Creating, sharing and collaborating on design concepts can be frustrating. Design teams need practical solutions to create, share and save content online. Cobalt is part cloud-storage, part collaboration tool and entirely secure. It enables design teams to create and share work their way.
User Research
The client did not have a clear target user in mind for this product. I knew that cloud storage would be particularly helpful to people who manage large amounts of data but don’t want to deal with bulky equipment and messy cable connections. Designers are a good example of this kind of consumer. They have huge storage requirements due to the type of files that they handle and at the same time they need an easy and convenient way of retrieving those files in case they need to create or present a design on the fly.
Key Findings
In order to identify the type of product needed as well as what it needed to accomplish, I created a user survey aimed at understanding the motivations and behaviors of the users within our target market who use storage apps.
After going through all of their feature requests I was able to identify their key pain points: There are definitely lot of interesting and compelling features that I could put into an app but I identified the key features that had to be included
94%
of users have used a cloud storage app
40%
of users share content with colleagues
37%
of users want better collaboration feature
Competitive Anlaysis
Carrying out a thorough analysis of the competition was necessary in determining if the niche would be successful. There are a number of big-name competitors in this space each offering essentially the same types of services: fast-sync, file, folder and link sharing, and the ability to invite collaborators. There’s really no surprise here – these features are typical of most cloud storage providers.

What did surprise me were the lack of cloud storage applications targeting creative teams and their specific requirements. I quickly determined that creative teams would be a good type of consumer for this product. Also, targeting a niche consumer could help us stand out among the competition.
User Persona
The data collected about potential users of the product provided the foundation for my personas. The personas established strong preferences for being able to store content in one location, organized within a clear hierarchy that could be easily searched and shared.
User Flows
I converted the users stories into user flows to visualize how the user would accomplish those stories with my product. Separate flows demonstrate how new and returning users would be welcomed into the platform. A combined flow for tasks within a dashboard took several iterations as I mapped out the smoothest paths for adding content, searching for specific items, and managing accounts.
Wireframes
I created wireframes for the landing page first, as this would be where potential users would learn about Cobalt. I wanted a layout that was clean and easily conveyed information to new users. I created a few versions that started with a large hero image to capture attention, a section for features, dashboard demo and testimonials.
Naming
With the wireframes in place I began work on the branding . My first step was to come up with a name for the product.  I created a mind map with a simple goal of something that was easy to read and write. I settled on “Cobalt” which I thought was a unique name for a cloud-storage application.
logo concept img
Logo Concept
I sketched with pen & paper to explore different logo solutions. I wanted both a logo and wordmark which could be used interchangeably.
logo concept img
Visual Identity
The final Cobalt logo is bold, clear and impactful and symbolizes what the brand stands for which is to bring focus and clarity to design teams.
The color palette consists of a cool ice blue , warm tangerine red and a cobalt color which is the cornerstone of the Cobalt brand helping to distinguish it from other cloud services.
I used a combination of the Ultra font for headers and the Open Sans for body copy- these work together for a bold yet simple design.
Most cloud services come across as serious and stuffy; I wanted Cobalt to stand out as an upbeat, trustworthy and friendly product. I decided to use digital illustrations as a way to show off our creative side.
Preference Testing
With the branding work, I created high fidelity mockups and conducted both in-person and remote preference testing  on button designs, icon styling and color choices.
logo concept img
Final Mockups
I used the final mockups  to create prototypes where I  conducted both in-person and remote usability tests using a specific set of tasks for the user to attempt.
logo concept img
1
User research & constant reiterations are important and necessary steps
2
Accepting that “I am not my user” allowed me to focus on creating a product that addressed users’ primary goals.
3
If I had to do anything different, I would spend more time on microcopy. I used illustrations to communicate emotions and moods.
4
The most valuable lesson learned is that UX/UI is not about reinventing the wheel, but about considering intuitive solutions that work best for the situation.
What I Learned