Dropbox - Reducing Friction When Accessing Shared Cloud Content for Non-Dropbox users

It was cumbersome for non-Dropbox users to access shared files/folders via email — impacting engagement rates. I proactively identified and influenced 4 cross-functional teams to prioritize this project on their roadmaps. After redesigning this journey, it resulted in a 4% increase in Sharing WAU, increase in ~450K ARR, and a 13% increase in signup rates.
Product Designer
9 months (Jan - Sep '21)
Core Responsibilities
Product design, visual design, product strategy, user research


Non-Dropbox users struggle to access shared cloud storage content via email when they’re intrusively asked to sign up and pay for a Dropbox plan first

Rummaging through Dropbox's research documentation, I learned that only a slim percentage of non-Dropbox users access their desired shared cloud content compared to Dropbox users, who have nearly double the rate. In addition, this correlates with senders, who are Dropbox users, questioning the value of Dropbox as a reliable delivery method for online files/folders.
Previous non-Dropbox user journey to access shared cloud content via email

Investigation - Technical

Non-Dropbox users are inconvenienced by the lack of value and friction to sign up, a necessary security protocol for private cloud content

Through discussions with our engineering team, I learned that signing up is a form of authentication, which checks to see if the recipient's identity matches the email set in the sharing permissions for private cloud content.
Signing up is a form of authentication, a security protocol to confirm a user's identity related to content permissions

Investigation - Usability tests

Non-Dropbox users feel uncomfortable and forced to pay for Dropbox due to the option to skip being difficult to find.

We conducted 5 usability tests to evaluate the existing signup experience — starting from receiving the email to the shared content to accessing it.
When a user lands on page, option to pay isn't apparent
Extra scrolling is needed to find free option at bottom


Increase the speed and ease of accessing shared cloud content for non-Dropbox users

This project was divided into 2 parts to reduce scope. We prioritized the signup page because my team (Sharing) had ownership over it but not the plan upgrade page. Removing the plan upgrade page would occur in later quarters.

Team Alignment

Originally rejected, our proposal to remove plan upgrade page became approved after outlining both the upside and downside potential

Our first proposal was rejected due to the lack of context on the financial risks of removing the plan upgrade page. I learned that knowledge about financial risks can increase confidence in a proposal because our stakeholders know what to expect.
Incorporated details on projected losses and gains from removing plan upgrade page


Exploring how we might incentivize non-Dropbox users to sign up for Dropbox and access their shared content

I designed ways to tease shared cloud content and Dropbox's services in addition to collaborating with a Content Designer to create copy explorations that communicate various value propositions for signing up.
Step 1) Content placement + view
Step 2) Copy communicating value proposition


The value of signing up to keep shared cloud content secure is motivating to non-Dropbox users and improves perception of Dropbox as being reliable

Based on 3 rounds of usability testing across 15 participants, previous UX writing explorations on the value of sharing, syncing, or retrieving content were benefits that users would experience later compared to their preferred benefit of accessing shared cloud content immediately.
The final design is composed of testing various explorations based on different goals


A speedier yet secure path to accessing shared cloud content via email for non-Dropbox users

Our team rearranged the order of signup elements due to most users signing up with email as opposed to Google authentication. We clarify that it's free to sign up and the value proposition of keeping content secure is more motivating.

Plan Of Action

Prioritizing the change in UX writing — the value of security through signing up to confirm user's identity — before altering and removing other pages

I worked with our front-end engineer, data analyst, and Product Manager to implement this design over several milestones. For content that's audience setting is set to public, this page is not needed.
Milestone 1
Milestone 2
Change copy to convey need for security
Change background behind modal


$450K estimated annual recurring revenue, 12% increase in signups, and 4% increase in Sharing Weekly Active Users

This is based on completing the first 2 milestones (change in copy and background) with the final milestone (removing plan upgrade page) yet to be completed.

Vision of the future

Envisioning a “white glove” experience where Dropbox prioritizes the needs of cloud content recipients

Accessing shared content should feel like receiving free Costco samples. You should experience the value of an experience and then decide whether or not you want to invest more effort, whether that's paying for an upgrade or signing up. Perhaps this means exploring email confirmations or exploring more technical possibilities on the back-end.


Improving my ability to influence cross-functional and departmental teams by empathizing and catering to their respective needs

In my past experiences, I had influenced cross-functional teams but usually not teams outside of engineering or product. In this case, it was Finance. It was intimidating at first since it was unfamiliar territory. I learned to ask questions to familiarize myself with the other side's needs.